On July 1, 1816, Emperor Franz l of Austria gave his court and state chancellor Clemens Wenzeslaus Lothar Prince of Metternich-Winneburg the domain Johannisberg near Fulda as a gift for his merits at the Congress of Vienna. A noble present indeed, as the Riesling wines from Johannisberg were of particularly high quality and Johannisberg itself enjoyed an exceptional reputation among wine connoisseurs the world over for the discovery of the Spatlese (a wine from late harvest grapes) in 1775 and the Auslese (a sweet wine from selected ripe grapes) in 1787. The Prince put all his energy into the preservation and promotion of viticulture at Schloss Johannisberg.
But it was Johann Jacob Sohnlein who recognized that the high Riesling wines with their pronounced acidity were particularly apt for the making of sparkling wines.
On the subject he wrote that >>the queen of grapes is and remains the Riesling grape from the Rhein. The sparkling wines produced from good vintages of her wine are unrivalled and unsurpassed.<< The use of Riesling base wines made the sparkling wine differ from champagne in taste but not in quality.
The Johanisberger illustrated wine label was taken over for the first time for the new brand of sparkling wine in 1925 under the name of >>Furst von Metternich'scher Schloss Johannisberger Sekt<<. Thus began the rise of a brand name that has existed as a cuvee already since 1864.
Since 1934, the brand had been called Furst von Metternich-Winneburg after a painting done by the English court artist Sir Thomas Lawrence. The racy and steely qualities of the Riesling wines make Furst von Metternich sparkling wine a unique experience.