Our History

How it all began...

The mill and its miller Clemens Minn

1642 was chiselled on the keystone of a sandstone doorway in the cellar entrance of the former mill. Today, this last testimony adorns the entrance to our treasure chamber in the winery. After secularisation, the one-storey building changed hands several times as a flour mill. Our ancestors Michael Simon and Maria (née Hausen) bought the property in 1880 and added to it in 1900 as we know it. Maria Simon (our grandmother, daughter of Michael and Maria Simon), born in the mill in 1886, married Johann Minn, a farmer born in 1882, in 1910. Later, our grandmother took over her parents' mill.

The dwelling and the mill together with the storage cellar were under one roof. Some cattle and pigs as well as two horses were in the barn and stable on the right. The top-shafted, steel water wheel was on the valley side, and the water was supplied via a branch from the Ockfen stream. Grain bought from farmers or given on commission was ground. The millers delivered the flour to families in Irsch, Ockfen and Schoden with a horse-drawn cart. Minns were one of the first to have a telephone in Ockfen. After the considerable damage of the Second World War had been repaired, our parents Clemens and Maria Minn (née Karges) took over the mill business in the mid-fifties.

Maria & Clemens Minn

In the firm hope that things would continue to improve if we worked together, our parents Maria Karges and Clemens Minn married on 25 November 1954. Our father's brothers had been killed in the war, his two sisters had married into Beurig and Söst. After the tragic death of her father in 1943, our mother had taken responsibility for her younger siblings at an early age.

The children Klemens and Regina Minn

Our eldest brother Klemens was born on 06 June 1955. Apart from riding a bike, our grandfather soon taught him to count the freight cars of the passing trains and to calculate the number of axles and wheels long before he started school.On 7 January 1957, our resolute sister Regina was born. Since there was no kindergarten at that time, we played in the yard in front of the house. Sometimes we were allowed to nurse a lamb, sometimes we looked after a wild rabbit caught by our father.wild rabbit caught by our father until it ran away. But we also learned to operate the tractor and winch, milk the cows or turn hay. School in the morning and help in the vineyard, cellar, stable, garden or field at lunchtime. Fortunately, even if controversial with teaching staff, Mrs. Schons and Mr. Müser, there were still additional grape harvest holidays at that time. Regina was particularly proud of the fact that a woodchip wallpaper with a stylised Saar-Mosel-Ruwer drawing of labels she had collected while washing bottles, in place of the wine villages, adorned the school corridor for many years. Taking care of the paternal grandparents was added to all the tasks. The challenges to be met were tackled with great verve. Autodidactically and through on-the-job training, the Minns gained a wealth of experience professionally and in all other areas of life.

1960 - The End of the mill

After the advent of large mills at the end of the 1950s, the economic situation deteriorated dramatically, so that the mill was closed in 1960. Tractors and the first Unimogs made the horses that used to carry out transport and field work for Ockfen wineries redundant. Despite his experience as a master miller, our father Clemens Minn decided not to take up employment but to become self-employed. At first we strengthened agriculture and bought cows with better milk yields at distant auctions. Vegetables from the garden, milk, eggs, home-made blood and liver sausage and home-baked stone-baked bread, which quickly became rare, delighted family and friends. Pigs and bulls were fattened over the summer and slaughtered and cut up in the winter. The meat was pickled, distributed within the family and sold.

The children Maria and Otto Minn

In the midst of many changes, the mill had just been closed, the grandmother had died in January after a long serious illness, the grandfather passed away in the following February, we were happy about the arrival of our sister Maria on 22 December 1960. As older siblings, we had to look after the lively little sister who had quickly fledged. With the birth of our brother Otto on 19 December 1964, a dream of our father's came true, as he wanted to have two couples as children. At first we had to be very patient, because Otto refused to talk to us for a long time - that was to change later, too. School was never that important to him, whereas his practical aptitude and enjoyment of machines became apparent very early on. At the age of five, he already wanted to become a truck driver.

Viticulture comes along

Our mother Maria came from a wine-growing family. At an early age, she went to work in the vineyards. She also earned extra money as a day labourer in the state vineyard domain. She now brought all this experience into her own business. A 15 hp water-cooled Güldner was purchased, later the first Opel Caravan. The little wine was sold as grape must or young wine shortly after the harvest. Since less was paid for the very good 1964 grape must than for basic sparkling wines in the years before, the decision was made to basically market the wine themselves. The alternative of delivering the grapes to the cooperative was rejected because of the financial dependency involved.The cellar was modernised and enlarged. New wine presses (with glycerine press), barrels and filters, bottle washers and other cellar equipment were purchased. Hans Tielecke and other friends of the family helped with the development of the wine as well as with bottling. After the death of our maternal grandmother, Maria Karges (née Wagner, deceased 1967), vineyard land was inherited by the children. These in turn were bought by our parents Clemens and Maria from their siblings. The purchase of parcels from the Schorlemmer vineyard in the mid-1960s represented a drastic increase in vineyard area. The exchange of experience with fellow winegrowers in Ockfen helped overcome one or two practical hurdles in the vineyard and cellar.

From the barrel to the bottle

The decline of bulk wine - The first bottled wine

At the beginning of the 1960s, the high proportion of foreign wineries cultivating vineyards in Ockfen was striking. Some Ockfen wineries, such as the Gebert winery or the Dr. Fischer winery, also contributed to the high profile of Ockfen wine. Our mother's uncle, Nikolaus Wagner, who was a wine commission agent and who brokered large quantities of wine to the Röchling iron and steelworks (Völklinger Hütte) at the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s, also helped to make the wine famous. At the second Saar Wine Festival in 1962 in Ockfen, the crowds were so great on Sundays with fine weather that many guests could neither get wine nor sausages. Self-confidently, some Ockfen families had gradually started to market their wine themselves.But already in the mid-sixties, a structural change set in. Rising wage costs, high labour costs, a changing competitive situation and also a lack of successors as well as unfortunate circumstances in the families led to the decline of once proud farms. The premium for Ockfen cask wine decreased, as did demand. Without profound statistics, our parents recognised this general development. They trusted in the location and the quality of the wine and were sure that they could find enough customers and friends of Saar wine. Barrel after barrel was vinified and bottled by themselves. Because of the flood-prone cellar, the bottles could only be labelled and made ready for sale when needed. Each ounce had its own label from a sample catalogue from the printing company. To improve recognition, a house label was developed on the basis of a pencil drawing, as the conversion work had not yet been completed at that time.

The first steps to becoming a wine customer

At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, a land consolidation took place in the Ockfener Bockstein and Herrenberg. The real division of land, which was common in the region, had led to badly fragmented parcels. These were merged to form more manageable parcels. The farm roads were extended and water management improved. However, most of the vineyards had to be replanted, which also meant a three-year loss of harvest. In the course of the land consolidation, the previously small meadows around the house could be rounded off with existing land. However, the muddy terrain had to be drained. New vineyards could be planted behind the house. The first price lists, made with letters from pupils' typesetting boxes, were sent out. A number of regular customers from the Saarland were soon found, in addition to a few hoteliers and innkeepers, who were regularly supplied. With the increasing motorisation, the wine customers later liked to come and taste and pick up the wine on their Sunday outings. The former mill was converted into a living room, and a sun terrace was built above the cellar. The wine was tasted in the old living room until the extension with a small hall and seven guest rooms was completed in 1973. As far as possible, all the work was done by the owners themselves, because money was chronically tight. Only the heating and electrical installations were not done by ourselves, but by the businesses of our parents' siblings. All the financial resources that were available were put into new vineyards.

1973 - The Klostermühle wine tavern-guesthouse

Immature distribution strategies, no key accounts, high margins for middlemen, no corporate identity, ignorance of customer needs, fluctuating demand and, last but not least, the medium of the internet, were still very far away in the early 1970s. One idea could be a wine bar of one's own with the possibility of letting wine lovers stay overnight. It was clearly noticeable that there were an increasing number of Belgians and Dutch who liked to travel to the region. But unlike the Moselle or the Rhine, our region was not attractive because it was unknown to tourists and not developed. The inadequate transport connections made it difficult to get there and resulted in a lot of time being spent. But our parents' decision for the wine tavern with a guesthouse was at the right time and absolutely fitting, because many things were about to change.

The 1st decade Klostermühle wine tavern

In the summer of 1973, the time had come when guests were no longer received in the private living room for wine tasting. The wine tavern with a guesthouse with seven "guest rooms" was opened. Already in the first year, the demand was almost unmanageable and the occupancy rate was excellent. The inexpensive, home-style food appealed to many. Family celebrations from the region came in. Day guests from the Saarland enjoyed the Klostermühle wine tavern more and more. Regina and our mother stood in the kitchen and prepared fresh almond trout from the mill's own pond, which had been built in the mill's former water intake. Game goulash and roast venison were soon added to the menu. Maria and Klemens catered for the guests in addition to their homework. The concept worked, the wine lovers came, tasted and loaded up the boot. A typical "win-win situation". Due to the low distribution costs, the wine could be offered at a reasonable price. Word-of-mouth propaganda quickly increased the number of guests and the demand - more reliably than nowadays via Facebook. It should not go unmentioned that the Ockfener Bockstein became more and more popular during this time and thus also increased in value. At the end of the 1970s, well-suited vineyards were more expensive than building plots. In 1977 and 1978, our sister Regina became Saar Wine Queen. She represented Saar wine at various regional and national events.

The Saar in transition

The first grandchildren were born

Maria married Udo in 1978 and Ute was born. In 1979 Marion was born. At the same time as Marion's baptism, we celebrated the silver wedding anniversary of our parents Clemens and Maria.

The expansion of the Saar and its effects

Unfortunately, dark clouds soon appeared on the horizon again. Exactly at the time of the opening of the Klostermühle guesthouse, on 30 May 1973, the federal government decided to develop the Saar from Saarbrücken to the Moselle into a major shipping route. The consequences of this for us and our new business were not yet foreseeable at that time. The contract for the expansion of the Saar hydropower plants Schoden, Serrig, Mettlach and Rehlingen was signed in Andernach on 29 April 1977. To make the Saar navigable, the water level had to be raised by 4.3 metres. For us, this meant that the level of the stream had to be raised to approximately ground floor height. Now our house was to be enclosed with a sealing wall to be secured against the raised groundwater level. This would have made it impossible to expand the Klostermühle guesthouse.

Due to the low gradient of the Ockfener Bach and a relatively large catchment area, there was a danger that in the event of a severe local thunderstorm, the wine cellar would have filled up within a few minutes. With a sealing wall, the water would not have been able to escape. Moreover, no one could guarantee that the stability of the very old foundation walls of the cellar, dating back to the 16th century, would have held. Unlike Saar floods, which are visible 6 to 8 hours in advance, and which we also experienced more often in the 1970s and 1980s, a locally rising water level would not have been foreseeable. Necessary precautions to prevent damage would not have been possible.

On 19 January 1977, the first discussion took place between the Water and Shipping Directorate Southwest and the Minn family. This was about the "adaptation of the Minn estate to the conditions after the expansion of the Saar". Years of legal disputes between Minn and the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, Saarbrücken and Mainz) put a strain on our family's health and also on the business. Customers stayed away because they suspected excavators, noise and traffic obstructions. The newly established customer base from the neighbouring Saarland broke up because the journey became very difficult for the guests and Sunday could no longer be spent undisturbed.

While the Saar expansion measures were progressing, expert opinions were drawn up on our house. A settlement was reached between the two opposing parties. The settlement provided for a compensation sum and our family, led by Regina Minn, decided to build a completely new house. This decision was the foundation stone for the development of two businesses, the hotel-restaurant and the winery. The time for the completion of the Saar expansion was approaching and the dam date was approaching. Landsiedlung Koblenz helped to implement the many ideas.

The new building of the hotel-restaurant and winery

First, the wine cellar was newly built in April 1986. The 1986 grapes were the first to be vinified in the new cellar

were vinified in the new cellar. Once the financing had been secured and the plans were in place, the foundation stone was laid for the new monastery mill. The winery was transferred from the father to the 22-year-old Otto and the hotel-restaurant to Regina.

Under the direction of Mr. Bröder, the Hans Vogler company erected the shell on schedule. The interior work also went ahead quickly, so that the planned opening date of 30 January 1988 was kept.

1988 - The Klostermühle Hotel-Restaurant-Winery

On 30 January 1988, the new monastery mill was ceremonially opened. Association mayor Dr. Houy, district deputy Graf von Krockow, local mayor Winfried Merten and Father Günter inaugurated the new convent mill. Together with our first employees, including Helga Schramm and Hiltrud Mangrich, who are still part of our team today, regular guests, friends and business partners, we celebrated the joyful event. Regina Minn became the owner of the Hotel-Restaurant Klostermühle.

The demolition of the Klostermühle wine tavern

After the private moves to the upper floor were also completed and the cellar cleared out, the old house, the Klostermühle wine tavern, was deconstructed in the spring of 1988.

The new Klostermühle

A brief review from 1988 to today

1990 - 1999

  • 1990: In 1990, the hotel is expanded on the 2nd floor, the attic, from 16 guest rooms to a total of 22 rooms.
  • 1991: Regina Minn falls seriously ill, a year later she is back at work full of energy.
  • 1992: Ferdie Minn, son of Klemens Minn Jr. is born. (His first son Mark Minn was born in 1986).
  • 1999: Lukas Minn, son of Otto Minn is born.
  • 1999: The garage and bicycle building with car park extension at the garden is built.

2004 - 2022

  • 2004: Otto Minn builds a private house with vinotheque opposite the hotel wing and a machine hall opposite the trout ponds.
  • 2005: The vinotheque is opened as a wine tasting room for the 1st courtyard festival.
  • 2008: The terrace of the restaurant is extended and made wind and weatherproof with an awning.
  • 2009: On 30 March 2009 Regina Minn dies suddenly and unexpectedly in Ockfen.
  • On 01 April 2009 Maria Mangrich takes over her sister's business and becomes the new owner of the Hotel-Restaurant Klostermühle.
  • Since 01 July 2009 Marion Mangrich works in the management of the hotel-restaurant.
  • 2010: On 03 July 2010 Maria Minn passes away quietly in Trier.
  • 2011: The hotel is awarded 3-DEHOGA stars.
  • 2012: The first Riesling Gourmet Evening, an evening full of culinary delights, took place on 03 March.
  • 2012: On 21 April 2012, Clemens Minn senior passes away on his last trip to Paris.
  • 2013: The first workmen start on 03 January 2013 for the complete renovation of 10 hotel rooms
  • 2014: Craftsmen step up again for the complete renovation of 8 more hotel rooms.
  • 2015: Our junior Lukas Minn starts his apprenticeship as a winemaker at the Apel winery in Nittel on the Upper Moselle.
  • 2016: In January we completely renovate our toilet facilities. A spacious monastery garden is added to the outdoor facilities where the old Klostermühle guesthouse used to stand. On our large lawn we have built a play paradise for our younger guests.
  • In August 2016, our family had a new addition: little Marie Sophie was born.
  • 2017: We held our first summer party in beautiful sunshine and warm summer nights. We were able to experience touching moments at our first outdoor wedding ceremony in July.
  • 2018: Little Anni was born in April and brightened the hearts of our guests with her sweet smile.
  • 2019: Since this year we belong to the Landidyll Hotels.  We are now in a community of family-run hotels that represent your ideals with heart and mind. This includes sustainable business management as well as the culinary promise to our guests. We would like to take our wine hotel forward with this and further increase our quality for you.
  • 2020: Since the beginning of 2020, we have been a member of HOGA Next. The training offensive of the Trier Chamber of Industry and Commerce. By participating in the regional training concept HOGANEXT, we enable our trainees to take part in a training concept that has won several awards and has been successfully applied in practice. In summer 2020, we were awarded 3 stars superior.
  • 2021: We become the winner of the Moselle Wine Host 2021 competition in the category Winery with Gastronomy & Hotel.
  • 2022: In order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers, we have been participating in the cooperation project Indonesia of the Trier Chamber of Commerce and Industry since the summer of 2022 and are pleased to now also be able to train young Indonesian people.