The Bühler family originates from Ihringen am Kaiserstuhl in Baden in southwestern Germany. Their history can be traced back to about 1650. Before that time, the 30 Years‘ War raged in Europe with the destruction of many older documents. Towards the end of the 18th century, members of the Bühler family were active as innkeepers in Ihringen.
The occupation of Johann Jacob Bühler, born in 1763, was given as “Innkeeper to the vine” and “Innkeeper to the good room”. This is the first recognizable reference to wine. His son Johann Georg Bühler, born in 1793, bore the occupational title “Innkeeper” but was also already referred to as “Landowner”. Johann Jacob Bühler died in 1801 and left this “Landownership” to his son Johann Georg Bühler. In a 1959 publication the later Bühler Söhne winery in Freiburg refers to this tradition with the phrase “Since 1796 family estate in the Ihringer Winklerberg (Kaiserstuhl)“.
This is the oldest reference found to date to the Bühler family’s own winemaking activities.
An advertisement from September 1927 for “Fritz Bühler Sons – Viniculture / wine wholesale – Freiburg i. Brg.” contains the statement “Since 1828 – vineyard owner in the Ihringer Winkler-Berg”. This shows that the Bühler family had been owners of vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl region at least since 1828, i.e. during the lifetime of Johann Georg Bühler.
The founding of the “Fritz Bühler Sons” winery in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1850 coincided with the time of Georg Friedrich Bühler, as shown by labels that were probably used in 1958. Georg Friedrich Bühler was at least the first “Fritz” Bühler. On these labels, in addition to “Fritz Bühler Söhne – winery owner, Freiburg i.B.”, the indication “gegr. 1850” can be seen around the coat of arms. In contrast to the designation “vineyard owner”, the designation “winery owner” is now emphasized.
In 1865 Karl Friedrich Bühler was born as the son of Georg Friedrich Bühler. He was the second Bühler to be called “Fritz”. He moved from Ihringen to nearby Freiburg and operated a wine wholesale business there in addition to the Ihringen vineyard, at least from 1904. In 1914, further vineyards were acquired on the Kaiserstühler Winklerberg.
After the death of Karl Friedrich Bühler in 1914 the winery in Ihringen as well as the wine cellar and the wine wholesale business in Freiburg were continued by his widow for more than 30 years. Amalie Bühler finally lost her life in November 1944 during a night of bombing towards the end of World War 2.
In a letter dated February 28, 1944, Gerhart Hauptmann, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, thanked Fritz Bühler & Söhne for agreeing to “send him 60 bottles of your Winklerberg”. He “likes drinking this natural Baden wine very much and it tastes very well. The Bordeauxs of today do not always have the beautiful simple truth of their vineyard. My stays in Baden-Baden have taught me this.” And finally Gerhart Hauptmann notes in this letter: “That I will continue to drink wine for a very long time is not to be assumed at the age of eighty-one, but I ask you to sponsor me again from time to time.”
On June 6, 1946, about 2 years later, Gerhart Hauptmann died in Agentendorf in Lower Silesia from where he wrote this letter. He was an important German dramatist and writer and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1912. Apparently he was also a lover and connoisseur of good wines. It is interesting to note that Gerhart Hauptmann addressed his letter to “Herr” Bühler, i.e. obviously to Dr. Herbert Bühler or Fritz Bühler, while in these years the widow Amalie Bühler was in charge of the business.
In 1942 and 1953, Dr. Herbert Bühler expanded the property and purchased additional vineyards. Labels from 1958 show the offer of wine from own growth and bottling, i.e. wines from vineyards owned by the winery. Particular emphasis is placed on the vineyard site on the famous Ihringer Winklerberg. The grape varieties Weißer Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) are typical. Also on these labels the reference to the founding of the winery Fritz Bühler Söhne more than 100 years ago in 1850 is not missing.
Other labels show a wide variety of sites and grape varieties marketed by the Fritz Bühler Söhne winery. These were also bottlings from vineyards owned by third parties.
Dr. Herbert Bühler discontinued the wine trade in 1962. In 1967, he finally leased his own cultivation and use of the vineyards to the Ihringen winegrowers’ cooperative. In 1979, he and his wife Elsa sold the winery in Ihringen, the vineyard in Staufen, and the property in Freiburg to his nephew Dr. Wolfgang Bühler, who continued the lease agreement with the winegrowers’ cooperative.
In 2014, the vineyards in Ihringen remaining with the Bühler family were leased to the Freiherr von Gleichenstein winery. With this lease agreement the cultivation of the Bühler family’s vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl region of Ihringen was secured for many more years by a long-established and highly reputable winery. The appreciation of this leasing opportunity can be taken from an article in the Badische Zeitung of November 2, 2015. There, the winery owner Johannes von Gleichenstein is quoted with the words “such a chance does not come across every day”. Since then, the labels bear the inscription “Freiherr von Gleichenstein – Ihringer Winklerberg” with the addition “The grapes for this wine come from the vineyard of the Dr. Wolfgang Bühler family”.
In 2017, Dr. Wolfgang Bühler decided to set up a new winery on Mallorca where he got to own a vacation home which his son Dr. Thomas Bühler took over in 2019. With Son Amaret the Bühler family now operates around 11 ha of vines. In 2021, exactly 225 years after the first references to a winegrowing activity of the Bühler family in 1796, the first wine from Son Amaret will be launched on the market.