Thank you to our 2018 Conference Speakers and Best Sommelier Competition judges.

Ernst Loosen was born into a great tradition of German winemaking. The Dr. Loosen estate on the Mosel River has been in his family for over 200 years, so you’d think it only natural for him to take up the family legacy as a profession. The truth is, though, that as a youngster Ernst was more fascinated by the numerous Roman ruins in the area than by the family vineyards. So he went off to college to study archaeology.

In the mid-1980s after his father fell ill, Ernst agreed to take on the estate and finally found his true calling among the broken slate of his family’s vineyards rather than the hewn stones of an old Roman ruin.

Since Ernst took over, Dr. Loosen wines have received countless awards and glowing reviews in the press. The estate has become a member of the prestigious VDP, Germany’s association of top-rated wine estates, and has been named one of the 10 best estates in Germany by nearly every wine publication worldwide. Ernst was named Germany’s Winemaker of the Year in the 2001 edition of Gault Millau’s Weinguide Deutschland and Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year in 2005.

In addition to his passion for Riesling, Ernst is a lifelong Pinot Noir fanatic, a variety that he has produced in the Pfalz since 1996. After numerous visits to Oregon over the years, he found a kindred spirit in winemaker Jay Somers, founder of J. Christopher Wines. They formed a partnership in 2010, built a new J. Christopher winery and are establishing a new vineyard in the northern Willamette Valley.