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Oliver Zeter’s Mise en Pfalz

Photo Credit Oliver Zeter

Oliver Zeter’s Mise en Pfalz

By Nils Kevin Puls

Zeter assesses the natural bounty of his home, the Pfalz, with the eye of a chef. The soils are his mise en place — the basis of his work — the grape varieties are the ingredients he brings to the table and the bottle. His favorite ingredient — Sauvignon Blanc — has become his trademark. This love came early: in South Africa, 1992, at the Buitenverwachting winery in Cape Town. Now, he is celebrating 15 years as a Sauvignon Blanc iconoclast himself. A recent vertical tasting spanning his first vintage in 2007 to the current release, 2021, made clear the value of following palate and instinct.

His family roots are south of the city of Neustadt, where his grandfather grew grapes and operated a distillery. After his winemaking apprenticeship at the Dr. Deinhard estate (now Von Winning) and training as a viticultural technician, Zeter worked in his parents’ wine import business. In 2003, after 11 successful years of working in distribution in Hamburg, he returned to the Pfalz. Home is home, as he says.


He brought with him a long-held vision of having his own vineyard. In 2004, he perched at the family winery, which was headed up by his cousin Leonhard Zeter. Hobby became calling. Vineyard area expanded, cask count grew. A winery of his own was clearly the next step. He found his new home in the Haardt mountains, in a hundred-year-old house that once belonged to the local wine commissioner, built on and of the Pfalz’s signature terroir: Buntsandstein, or colored sandstone. His dream domain for Sauvignon Blanc and experimentation with French varieties was born.


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