A brand founder being quietly replaced by a person of the same name might sound like the premise of a “Twilight Zone” episode — or a questionable Reddit thread — but sometimes, business just gets weird.

When Florian Moll and Sven Enderle launched the Enderle & Moll winery in 2007, they quickly gained a reputation for breaking the rules of conventional winemaking, and for producing some of the best Pinot Noirs in Germany. At the time, this model was a risky one. Though there are now many stunning examples of German Pinot Noir — as well as several high-status producers — many were still skeptical about the grape’s potential in the cool-climate east of its home in France.

Despite this, Enderle & Moll’s light yet powerful Pinot Noirs became known for their elegance and verve, which was especially impressive considering the estate then only consisted of a small cellar, a basket press, and a few hectares of old vines. Enderle & Moll was among the first producers in the area to work with used barrels and to value their provenance, sourcing them from the famed Domaine Dujac in Burgundy. The winery was also a pioneer of the natural wine movement in the region, bottling the wines unfined and unfiltered. The brand had achieved true cult status, a success story uncommon in the wine world.

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But around 2019, rumors that the founders were splitting up began to circulate, and the future of the hit winery was in question. While some in the industry were expecting these coveted wines to disappear as a result, the winery continued releasing bottles like nothing had changed behind the scenes. But there had been a drastic change, after all. Enderle did leave the business, and another collaborator swooped in: Manfred Enderle. Yep, a new partner who just happened to have the same last name stealthily replaced Sven.

Despite the winery’s cult status, there was shockingly little buzz about the change in leadership. That’s largely because unsuspecting consumers would likely never realize that the original partner was replaced by another Enderle. On importer Vom Boden’s website, there’s now no mention of Sven, and the site simply lists the current team as Florian Moll, Manfred Enderle, and new partner Maxence Lecat from France. The winery’s website, though, offers more information on the change: After taking a break from the company in October 2019, Sven announced that he planned to part ways with the winery in April 2020. The split appears amicable, as Moll wrote a sweet farewell on the winery’s site: “Of course, I respect this decision and would like to take this opportunity to thank him very much for everything he has done for the company since 2007, the year we were founded. Without him the company would definitely not be where it is today. We wish him all the best for the future and lots of strength for his future journey.”

In Sven’s absence, Moll began to rely more on friend and local farmer Manfred, who supplied the winery with grapes for years. Now, Manfred helps manage all the brand’s vineyards and is working on converting all the vines to biodynamic farming, and the Enderle & Moll name gets to live on.

While it was a total coincidence — and Enderle appears to be a decently common surname in this area — it seems a little too lucky that the famous winery forged ahead without a hitch. But with wines that delicious, we’ll take them from any Enderle.

*Image retrieved from @enderlemoll on Instagram