ZGM's 125th Anniversary
Of current interest: ZGMs 125th Anniversary
1886 goes down in history as a particularly special year. The American President Grover Cleveland officially dedicates the Statue of Liberty in New York. The first automobile built by Carl Benz is patented. Coca-Cola is introduced to the American market as medicine und in Germany, in the renowned wine city of Zell-Mosel, Jacob Zimmermann founds the winery Zimmermann-Graeff.
By adding his wife’s maiden name to his own he wants to distinguish his company from that of his brother. He dies from a heart attack at age 56 during a business trip. Ferdinand Hübinger marries the daughter of the founder, Frieda Zimmermann-Graeff, who joins the company as the second generation.
He dies during World War I in the Moscow campaign and his young wife continues to run the business until Fritz Hübinger takes over at an early age as the third generation.
When World War II breaks out already one million liters of Mosel wine are being sold, however, the war ruins the entire business. When Fritz Hübinger returns from captivity as a prisoner of war, the French had confiscated the entire stock of wine. Together with his sister Paula and his wife Inge he expands the company after the war and in 1960 they move into a new winery in Zell Kaimt. Business continues to grow steadily. Johannes Hübinger, presently the major shareholder, joins the company at age 23, right after completing his university studies, since Fritz Hübinger had fallen seriously ill.
The company grows quickly. Johannes Hübinger recognizes that the export market offers enormous chances and the company develops so quickly in just a few years, that the fundamental decision is made to build another winery at Zell-Barl. By 1989 the company’s entire technical sector is relocated to the Barl.
In a total of 13 construction stages a new modern winery is being built. A tremendous upswing follows.
In 1992 the renowned winery Ewald Theodor Drathen, Alf, with its classic wine business is integrated into Zimmermann-Graeff. At that time the Keller Geister business remains untouched.
The focus towards large wineries steadily continues. The difference to some of the other competitors is evident. Therefore Zimmermann-Graeff and the winery Rudolf Müller decide to merge in 1998 and become the ZGM group.
In the same year they take over Michel Schneider, a neighbouring winery in Zell. After a fundamental structural consolidation and optimization additional successful years follow.
The senior partner of the company Rudolf Müller, the Rundquist family, decides to withdraw from the company in 2006. Their shares go to the children of Johannes Hübinger, Dr. Tina Schiemann and Dominik Hübinger.
Because of this merger Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller “ZGM” owns the majority of shares of the winery “Weinbund”, previously a cooperative consolidation of 18 large Mosel wineries. This winery is located very close to the previous Rudolf Müller winery and is integrated into ZGM in 2008.
2009 the opportunity arises to take over the largest winery in the Pfalz, the winery Heinrich Lorch, which – in close cooperation with the Erzeugergemein-schaft St. Paul – ran their own pressing station. This company is integrated as well and the Lorch brand is successfully placed in the market.
The necessary and long planned move of the administration is decided early 2010 and consequently put into action at the end of last year, so that the move into the new administrative building Barl can take place in April of this year. The relocation of the entire company is therewith finalized.
Today ZGM stands for “Zukunft Gemeinsam Meistern” (mastering the future together). The worldwide tough competition of the last ten years led to a very close cooperation with vintners and customers. Our continuously increasing demands in wine quality prompted us in the late nineties to go the direct road from the grape to bottling. Several vintner communities were founded, pressing stations were taken under contract and this way close cooperation was achieved with the growers.
We have firmly contracted almost 40 million liters of German wine with overseas, long term contracts were concluded with selected partners in 5 different countries, who are all working according to our philosophy. These wines are marketed under the names of Sunset Creek, Quay Landing, Riverstone Falls, Stony Cape, Talamanca and Santa Babera.
ZGM also has a considerable Bag-in-Box business, mainly in Scandinavia and England and but lately in Germany as well. ZGM’s turnover is 150 million Euros and we are the largest export company in the German wine industry. We export German and international wines to more than 45 countries. With 60 million liters of German wine ZGM is one of the most important wineries for the vintners.
The employees, management and shareholders of the 4th and 5th generation are proud of this family business and they are well aware of their responsibility to continue with this philosophy in the next 25 years.
300 employees work according to this philosophy, 20 apprentices are learning it during their apprenticeship.
ZGM mastered the 125 years and will continue to do so with its partners for the next decades.