Obituary: Mourning for senior boss Josef Kiefer  

In deep mourning we take leave of our founder and senior boss

Josef Kiefer

Josef Kiefer founded the vine-grafting business together with his wife Meta and managed it successfully for many years. With tireless commitment and great determination, he advanced the development of vine grafting and fruit growing.

At the same time, he was a valuable advisor to politicians when it came to agricultural matters. It was his passion to get involved politically and voluntarily in different areas.

With his death, we lose a personality to whom we owe a great deal. Due to his human greatness and his professional skills, Josef Kiefer was highly respected and appreciated by all. 

We will always remember him with gratitude and would like to tell you about his life:

As the son of the Bottenau mayor and farmer Anton Kiefer and his wife Rosa, Josef Kiefer saw the light of day on 26 February 1936. He grew up on the Bottenau farm and was already involved in the Baden rural youth as district chairman and member of the state board for agriculture. After attending the agricultural school and the farmer's school in Tiengen, he worked in his parents' farm.

In 1965, Josef went to the altar with his wife Meta, born Schwab. He also took over the farm from his parents and abolished livestock farming in favour of fruit and wine growing.
In the same year, Josef Kiefer was one of the first in the region to start grafting vines and integrated this as a permanent branch of the business into the existing wine and fruit growing enterprise. In the first year, 15,000 grafted vines were grafted by hand using tongue pruning, which was soon replaced by the first vine grafting machines. Within a few years, the vine grafting company made a name for itself regionally and internationally by selling grafted vines to protect the vines against grape phylloxera.

In addition to the grafted vines, Josef Kiefer and his wife produced strawberries, raspberries and currants. The fruit crops and the vine nursery were cultivated through very arduous work on Bottenau's steep slopes. In 1985 Josef Kiefer decided to expand the vine grafting and strawberry cultivation. As a result, the vine nursery and strawberry fields were moved to flat fields.. 

In 1992, Josef Kiefer received the Bundesverdienstkreuz from the German Minister of Agriculture, Gerhard Weiser, for his political and honorary commitment. The background to this was that Josef founded the CDU Agricultural Committee in 1969, which served as a mouthpiece for agriculture. Numerous impulses for agricultural policy in the district, in the state and in Bonn can be traced back to Josef Kiefer. He was particularly committed to integrated fruit growing, near-natural production, but also to the preservation of the distilled spirits monopoly and the cultivated landscape with meadow orchards. In total, Josef Kiefer was a member of the CDU agricultural committee and the district council for 25 years.

In order to ensure the succession of the business, Josef Kiefer brought Ralf Sester, a trained master fruit grower, into the company in 1997. Two years later, the Kiefer & Sester GbR (Meta & Josef Kiefer, Ralf & Simone Sester) was founded. In 2007, Josef and Meta Kiefer handed over the business to Ralf and Simone Sester, who have continued to run it with passion and care ever since.

Josef Kiefer lived with his wife Meta Kiefer on the farm in Bottenau until old age, where he continued to provide active support. The picture was taken during vine sorting and shows Josef Kiefer with a bundle of grafts in his hands. He never lost the fun and interest in the work of vine grafting until the end. 

In honourable memory

Rebschule Kiefer & Sester

Sester family with team