Bennwihr dates back to the 8th century. The location is natural for a village of importance, overlooking the plain from the rim of superb vineyards. But in 1944-45, Bennwihr shared the fate of the twin town Mittelwihr, it was wiped out from the surface of the Earth during the battle of the Colmar pocket.
After the war, the vineyards were replanted. However, in the absence of a strong personality backed by a fortune, the growers decided to work together in the local cooperative.
Today, the coop is known as Bestheim. It was formed as a merger between the coops of Bennwihr and Westhalten, 20 kilometers south of Bennwihr. Bestheim is very successful on the export market, with a strong position in countries such as Sweden. It is not obvious that this does the Swedes any good.
Bestheim vinifies 80% of the grapes grown on Grand Cru Marckrain, so it is interesting that several new growers have started to produce splendid wines from this neglected Grand Cru.
Certainly, Marckrain is misunderstood. However, in the hands of fantastic growers such as Fabien Stirn of Domain Stirn in Sigolsheim, Michel Fonné of Barth René and Laurent Barth in Bennwihr, Marckrain can look forward to a renaissance.
Marcel Deiss of Bergheim is also present in Bennwihr, making a light and pleasent Riesling.