He taught and inspired generations of Geisenheim students of viticulture, enology and beverage technology with his vast professional expertise and unique personality. Dipl.-Ing. Wolfgang Pfeifer, former lecturer and scientist at the Department of Enology at Hochschule Geisenheim University, died suddenly on February 4, 2020 at the age of just 67.
Over the last four decades, Wolfgang Pfeifer played a major role in shaping the sparkling wine project at the University. His teaching and research, particularly during the 1980s, helped save traditional bottle fermentation, which was then in decline, from dying out in Germany. He himself liked his sparkling wine to be dry and fruity - but not excessively aromatic - and was always happy to help and advise his students even after they graduated.
A peek inside the traditional wooden barrel cellar of Hochschule Geisenheim University reveals the high esteem in which students held Wolfgang Pfeifer. The final semester students of the Viticulture and Enology, Beverage Technology and International Wine Business degree programs in the 2017 summer semester and the 2017/18 winter semester dedicated their graduation barrel to Wolfgang Pfeifer and his long-standing colleague Dipl.-Ing. Johann Seckler. Carved into the bottom of the barrel are portraits of both enology icons and the words "spontaneity - rationality".
Wolfgang Pfeifer, to whom the students attributed spontaneity, officially retired in January 2018, but remained associated with Hochschule Geisenheim University. He was a popular guest at events, gave guided tours of "his" cellar to visiting groups and had only just been appointed treasurer of the association promoting the University at the end of 2019.
Hochschule Geisenheim University mourns the loss of a remarkable person and devoted expert. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife, family, relatives and all those who knew him. We will miss Wolfgang Pfeifer very much and will always honor his memory.