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“Here’s our first truck!”

It’s a rare treat to take a step back in time with Marc Krier on an estate that has kept so many souvenirs from its past. Bills for its first wooden foudres and photos charting the history of both the region and the estate offer a truly nostalgic look back at days gone by!

On climbing the stairs and entering the tasting room, a cursory glance is sufficient to appreciate the respect Caves Krier Frères has for its past. There’s clearly been no attempt to make it look like a high-tech nerve centre. With a smile, Marc Krier admits: “besides the curtains, the room has not changed since it was built in 1982!”

On the wall, old photos dating back over a century pay tribute to the founding fathers four generations back. Austere black and white shots of the family all looking very serious and scenes of working life show that the estate is part of a long tradition dating back to a time before banks became Luxembourg’s chief source of wealth.

Very close at hand in a cabinet just opposite his desk, Krier keeps a collection of photo albums charting the winery’s history virtually all the way back to its origins (1914). It’s a real treasure trove. Here are scenes of Remich town centre with the castle still towering over it, and the old border bridge with its stone arches spanning a Moselle without any locks, teeming with flat-bottomed barges loaded with goods. It’s quite simply another era, which just goes to show how much things have modernised in the short space of a century. It’s incredible when you think about it.

Caves Krier Frères is not purely driven by nostalgia though – the winery is able to combine its past with a firm grounding in the present. This autumn, it created a buzz by scooping two gold medals at the Concours des Crémants de France et du Luxembourg for its Cunibert Brut cuvée and its outstanding Pinot Noir rosé crémant (which also won the Prix de la Presse). Although the boss, Marc Krier, is obviously very pleased with these results, he is not entirely surprised by them, as his crémants regularly win these types of awards. These are achievements that cannot simply be chalked up to history.

Photo 1

“Here’s our first truck! This photo was taken around 1900. In those days, our cousins’ surname (Sandt) was still used in conjunction with ours. It was dropped when Caves Krier Frères was founded in 1914. The telephone number also gives a good indication of how old the photo is, as it consists of just two digits! We distributed our wines in Belgium and the Netherlands from the very early days before the Second World War. Using our trucks, we were able to supply retailers, hotels, and restaurants directly. In those days, we mostly made Elbling, Rivaner and sparkling wines vinified in pressure tanks. We didn’t have as many noble grape varieties as we do today.”

Photo 2

“My father, Jean Krier, is in the middle. On his left is Paul Krier, a cousin, and on his right is Auguste Krier, cousin Paul’s father. My grandfather died relatively early (in 1960), so my father managed the estate with Auguste.”

Photo 3

“The estate was originally based in Bech-Kleinmacher. It relocated to Remich in 1922. On the left is the original building. The other ones were built later. You can even see a petrol pump on the wall. Basically, its appearance hasn’t changed since this photo! The tasting room upstairs was built in 1982 and hasn’t changed much either. You see this copy of a Nico Klopp painting? I’ve got the original at home. The painter wasn’t very well-off and gave this picture of our vineyard to my family in exchange for a few months’ rent. We based our old labels on this painting. They’ve since changed.”

Photo 4

“These foudres held up to 7,000 litres and were made from Limousin oak in 1934 – I’ve still got the bill! They consisted of 52 staves, which were all numbered. They were dismantled for transportation and built back up in our cellar using these numbers. They lasted us a very long time. Reinforced concrete tanks holding 4,000 to 36,000 litres were introduced in the 1950s, and then came the first stainless steel tanks, tailor-made to fit the cellar arches, in the early 1980s.”

Photo 5

“This photo was taken in 1956 at the second Foire de Printemps wine fair. My father, Jean, can be seen behind the counter. This was before the days of Luxexpo, when the Foire was held in the Halle Victor-Hugo in Limpertsberg (Luxembourg City). We didn’t really know what to expect – all we had was a small fridge and a plastic basin for washing the glasses! Domaine Desom is the only estate to have attended right from the first edition, one year before us. However, it stopped attending after it built its pavilion, so we’re now the estate with the most editions under our belts!”

Photo 6

“We quickly acquired the necessary equipment to bottle wine in various bottle sizes. This gave us great flexibility, enabling us to win quite a few contracts. For instance, we were long-time suppliers of a British airline that exclusively ordered 50cl bottles. This photo shows that all bottles were wrapped in tissue paper before being placed in wooden crates. This protected them during transport.”

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