In autumn, the Uckermark becomes covered in a carpet of rotting fruit. Spotting an opportunity, Florian Profitlich and Edda Müller launched Gutshof Kraatz, a waste-not-want-not wine and cider retreat with overnight options if you overdo it on the scrumpy.
The Gutshof and beyond
Arriving at the couple’s farmhouse, it seems relatively unchanged since its heyday in the mid-1860s. The front of the red brick barn houses the café, which doubles as the wine bar and farm shop. The space has simple interiors of polished-wood furniture and weathered brick floors, and serves locally sourced, seasonal comfort foods like potato pierogi in creamy yogurt sauce and pumpkin apple buckwheat goulash, alongside signature wines.
Follow the path behind the café towards the forest, or loop to the right to check out Florian and Edda’s home, a tasteful stone building restored from the old corn silo. The attached carriage house has been remodelled into the smaller of two guest houses, while the larger sits just off the barn. The simple exterior of the larger guest house conceals three levels of scrubbed wooden floors, fresh white walls and comfy, earth-toned furniture that is built to last. (Florian favours refurbished vintage pieces.) The result is a calming, ‘cottagecore’ energy with accents like exposed brick, a wood-burning fireplace, a red-and-white chequered tile floor and an attic sleeping nook just big enough for two.
Gutshof Kraatz boasts a daunting number of ways to get tipsy, from the traditional wild wines and sparkling ciders to experimental sweet plum ports and quince fizz. Of the apple wines, the Adams Parmäne 2018 brut is a personal favourite, somewhere between a dry white and a sweet cider. For something a bit lighter, try the Kanada Renette brut – endlessly drinkable, but at 8.5 percent that’s not such a huge problem. Lovers of English scrumpy should taste the Apfel Cider, which has a more intense body and a smokier finish than its West Country counterparts.
The most fun wines to try are Florian’s experiments, which are largely influenced by the whims of nature. The Zwetschgen port is a sweet, earthy dessert wine made from the hardy plums that survived this year’s spring frost. The Wilde Kerle (‘Wild Guys’) wine is made from the spoils of lone apple trees that Florian spots on his drives through the countryside.
After sampling your wines – or before, if you’re driving – it’s worth taking a trip to the tiny nearby town of Fürstenwerder. Hosting a few bakeries and not much else, its unsung hero is the Buchladen & Antiquariat run by Nils Graf, a rare book store that doubles up as the local coffee shop. After an espresso, head down to Großer See, the larger of the two lakes bordering the town, to check out the tiny islands that dot the water’s surface.
Plan your trip
It’s easiest to reach Gutshof Kraatz by car, a journey of a little under two hours. You can also take the RE3 train to Prenzlau and switch to the 416 bus, but the service is infrequent and adds an extra hour. The café, farm shop and wine bar are open from 2pm to 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays, from 9am to 9pm on Saturdays, and from 9am to 6pm on Sundays. Overnight stays can be booked for groups of up to eight at gutshof-kraatz.de.
In the mood for more autumn escapes? Head to Berlin’s sprawling Stahnsdorf Cemetery for a serenely spooky adventure