Friedrich Bastian

Always ready for something new: Friedrich Bastian is a singing VDP winemaker, an island owner, the opera singer with a talent for wine. And, if that were not enough, he is also the innovative head of a three-hundred-year-old family business.


Born in 1968, Friedrich Bastian grew up in a family with a long tradition of winemaking. For generations, the name had been passed down with the job – and so Friedrich too learnt the craft of winemaking. At just 21, his parents entrusted him with responsibility for the wine cellar. He might have chosen at this point to take up a formal study of winemaking – after all, the Geisenheim University’s faculty of viticulture is just on the other side of the Rhine. Friedrich Bastian chose to make his own mark instead with the first vintage he produced in 1989. There could not be any doubt thereafter about his talent as a winemaker. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm for the career already set out for him proves to be rather limited; he is much more attracted to music and theatre.

In 1990, he sings his way to a rare and coveted place at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich. The stage at the opera seems to offer a world broader than that of the Rhine Valley. Having completed his studies, his first engagements propel him to the stage of the Bavarian State Opera and Darmstadt State Theatre. The theatre experience he gains in productions with the likes of August Everding and Werner Schroeter make a lasting impression. Throughout this time, however, he remains responsible for production of the wine in Bacharach. 1993 proves to be a particularly important year for Friedrich Bastian as a winemaker as he takes over the family wine estate in the midst of his studies – first as a lease tenant, and from 2005 as owner. As a freelance concert singer, he is able to uphold the family tradition without having to neglect his artistic passions.

So it is that in 2008 Cuvée Surprise is born. This unique blend of Friedrich Bastian’s talents attracts the media to his baritone voice, and he enters the world of television.

Appearances have included the four-part ARTE documentary “The Rhine” and ARD TV program “Musikantendampfer” as well as guest performances on SWR on tour, the SWR program “Expedition in die Heimat” and at the Middle Rhine Music Festival – not forgetting the regular concerts Friedrich Bastian gives in the barn on his very own island. From his winery he can bring the music he loves to a large audience away from the opera stage.


”The Rhine” documentary featuring an extract from Cuvée Surprise is available as a double DVD (ARTE-Edition, 4 x 45 mins) and can be purchased in the winery for 24.90 euros.

Franz Schubert: An die Musik
piano: Hedayet Djedikkar   bariton: Friedrich Bastian

Friedrich Silcher: Ännchen von Tharau
piano: Hedayet Djedikkar   bariton: Friedrich Bastian

George Gershwin: By Strauss
piano: Hedayet Djedikkar   bariton: Friedrich Bastian

Cuvée Surprise

Having grown up amidst the myths and legends of the Lorelei valley and the at times comical and pathetic clichés applied to the Rhine, perhaps the most Germanic river of them all, Friedrich Bastian uses a playful blend of wine, music and theatre to describe the road from winemaker to singer and back again in a style that is frank and jocular in equal measure. And so it is – though he could never have imagined it – that today Friedrich Bastian gladly takes to the stage as the “singing winemaker”. Cuvée Surprise is an informal, lively and playfully ironic presentation of the wines of the Middle Rhine, interwoven with a look at the cultural history of this magnificent landscape — introduced to the stage by one of the leading winemakers in this small wine growing region.

Cuvée Surprise is many things – just don’t expect a dry finish!
Cuvée Surprise on Heyles’en Werth island.
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Cuvée Surprise can also come to you! We would be happy to draw up an individual program on request.
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