Christoph began his love affair with wine in the 1980s after visiting the terraced vineyards of the Unstrut Valley in Eastern Germany and tasting a particularly memorable white wine produced in this relatively harsh climate.
Years later, an invitation to lecture at the annual meeting of the Australian/New Zealand Royal Society for Ophthalmology provided him with an ideal opportunity to extend his trip and explore Australian wine regions. Several trips later, and inspired by the adventures of former doctor and wine enthusiast, Max Lake, Christoph came close to purchasing a vineyard in the Hunter Valley in 2001. Distance, however, proved to be the stumbling block to this potential venture.
Despite putting his dream of owning a vineyard on hold, Christoph’s enthusiasm for wine only intensified and he spent 20 years building a remarkable wine cellar comprised of around 2,400 bottles of premium wines. Somewhat frustrated by a generalisation of wines from many appellations that appeared to pander to the tastes of wine critics, he became increasingly intrigued by the older grape varieties typically found in Italy and in Portugal.
A serendipitous series of events led him to a small family property in the Dão wine region of Portugal. This gave him the opportunity to experiment with planting and vinifying grapes and to fully appreciate the nuances and influences of the terroir. During visits to the nearby Douro wine region, Christoph developed a new fascination for its variations in altitude, geology and microclimates that create their own unique settings. Through a chance conversation, he discovered Quinta do Convento de São Pedro dos Águias and fell in love at first sight.
Now the proud owner of this exceptional wine estate in the Vale de Távora in the Douro wine region, he is happily exploring the exciting possibilities offered by the terraced vineyards with the aid of his team of experienced, innovative and talented winemakers: Maria Susete Melo and Diogo Lopes.