Photo: Jan Riephoff
The best of the fruits
Liqueurs, fruit distillates and fruit jams from Rohrsheim
For Hans-Günter Demmel, it's a vocation that began somewhat late in life. The foothills of the Harz Mountains is where he grows organic fruit to make fine spirits and jams.
Hans-Günter is a tall 76 year-old man. In his right hand he's holding a fragile-looking flask with a spout that only lets a few drops seep into the glass. The spellbound visitor focuses on the deep red liquid spreading out on the glass bottom. "Don't swallow it right away", warns Hans-Günter with a raised finger. "Let it swirl around on your tongue for five seconds first."
This is good advice. His redcurrant liqueur gradually unfolds its fruit flavour and almost forces you to close your eyes and dream of the bushes that bring forth such precious fruit. No wonder that there are three rows of awards and certificates hanging on the wall in the sales room. Demmel's liqueurs, fruit distillates and fruit jams spreads win medals every year. Opening your eyes, you see the elderly man beaming with pride in the quality of his products.
They all come from Demmel's orchards and cornfields in the Harz foothills. The traditional Vierseitenhof in Rohrsheim was once managed by ancestors of Demmel's wife Christa. She is the one who felt homesick and wanted to return to her place of birth. Before his retirement, Hans-Günter spent 25 years working as the commercial director of a corporation. Although he had studied agriculture, he later found himself working with numbers.
As the end of his professional life was approaching and his wife became more resolute, Demmel started investing in the old estate in 2002. With the help of his family, he modernized the entire farm, built a small factory and a guesthouse. He coined a phrase for the production of his spirits and fruit jams to which he still remains faithful: "Being good is not enough. One has to be very good." His success proves him right. Today, he has eight employees who help make sure that the rows of award certificates on the wall continue to multiply.