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Patrick Langguth vs. Patrick Langguth from Mosel

Posted: Thursday, 04 August 2011 16:47

Patrick Langguth vs. Patrick Langguth from Mosel

August 04: There are two Patrick Langguths in the wine business in Germany, totally unconnected in the business but living within 100 meters of each other in Mosel Valley, making totally different wines. Patrick Langguth of the internationally known big wine producer F.W. Langguth exporting through Delhi-based Nature’s Bounty was in Delhi this week and explained the connection between the two families to Subhash Arora at a dinner organised by the Delhi Wine Club at Asia Seven, serving excellent Pan Asian cuisine.

‘My grandfather Wolfgang and Patrick’s father Jϋrg Ulrich Langguth are cousins-actually  double cousins- 3-4 generations ago two Langguth twins married twins from Tavan and so they are related from both parents’ side,’ informs the visiting Patrick who looks after the exports to Asia and was visiting the market along with the export manager Helmut Seibert whom I had met in Delhi a few years ago at the launch of Blue Nun and the South African Kaya wines from their stable at the Vasant Intercontinental Hotel.

The other Patrick is a lawyer banker son of Jϋrg Ulrich Langguth who is a small producer of Mosel wines and exports under the name Mo-Rhe-Na Exports Association, through Mumbai based importer Finewinesnmore. I had met Ulrich in 2003 at Vinexpo and had been confused about their connection ever since.

The family owned F.W. Langguth Erben GmbH bought the ubiquitous German brand Blue Nun, once selling millions of cases and a darling of the Brits and Americans, in 1995 from Sichel Söhne family company in Mainz. They are still exporting 1.1 million 9-liter cases – almost the total amount of Indian wines consumed last year.  The total volumes notched up by the company which has been in existence since 1789 is around 3.1 million cases, 1.5 million out of which are exported.

‘The passion of my grandfather has been to build brands for the last 50 years. He introduced the Erben brand and built it up to be one of the top selling 10 brands in Germany today.  The top four supermarkets are our customers and although the profit margins are paper thin, we are among the top five producers of Germany in volume. As a brand selling company, we are number one, though,’ he says.

It may be a mere historical fact today but he says, ‘two hundred years ago, our city was the focal point of wine trade. Located on one of the ‘bends’ on River Mosel  near Bernkastel ,Traben- Trimbach was the second city in Germany after Berlin which had electricity. The first class cabins of the ill- fated Titanic had five German white wines on its menu and four were from our town.’

Grand Father Wolfgang loves to collect brands and keep brands. He launched ‘Medinet’ label for French wines and Toscanello for Italian wines. Of course Tavans had vineyards and wine relations in France and that helped.’  No wonder Langguth is the biggest company in Germany in terms of brands, says Patrick. ‘For instance Erben label sells from €3.99 in supermarkets to the more expensive Kabinett, Spätlese and Auslese wines too at the other end of the spectrum. We have kept the Erben as a traditional wine and plan to continue doing so.’

What was the motivation in making and selling Italian and French wines? ‘After my grandfather Wolfgang Langguth established the Erben label-which incidentally, is sold only in the German market even till date, he felt that our German customers trusted his judgment and wanted to drink the Italian and French wines recommended by him.  He used to say that he had such a good relationship with the producers  and his customers that he felt confident he could sell wines purchased and brought to and bottled in Germany where the bottling technology was far superior to what was available outside,' says Patrick.

Patrick Langguth with A.S. Wadhwa, CEO and Exec. Dir of their importer Nature's Bounty
Grandpa is still very active in the business though Patrick’s father Thomas Langguth is also in the business full-time. The 30- year old Patrick has been relatively a newcomer but is confident of learning the ropes fast. After studying in Brazil and enjoying the laid back lifestyle, he went to Rumania for a year where he worked in the wine industry. He has been back in Germany since, looking after the Asian market.

The original winery was founded in 1789 by Franz Wilhelm Langguth, and the descendents have been involved in vine-growing ever since. Acquired over generations, the family's enormous experience in the art of wine-growing has played a decisive role in the company's philosophy, helping them make better and diversified wines.

Patrick must be one of the most eligible bachelors in the wine world of Germany. ‘My grandfather is forever introducing me to girls from known backgrounds so I can find one of them as my wife, although I am in no hurry,’ says the Suitable Boy from Traben-Trarbach. Perhaps he may find a suitable match in India that grandpa Wolfgang might approve.

Subhash Arora


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