The German mycologist and viticulture expert Prof. Dr. Julius Wortmann (1856-1925) studied natural sciences in Berlin and Würzburg. In Würzburg he received his doctorate in 1879 with the topic "On the relations of intramoleculars to the normal respiration of plants". As successor to Dr. Hermann Müller-Thurgau (1850-1927), he became head of the Plant Physiological Experimental Station from 1891 to 1903 and director of the Teaching and Research Institute in Geisenheim from 1903 to 1921. In 1894, he founded the first yeast breeding station and headed it until 1924. His main research focus was fermentation physiology, whose practical significance for wine composition in terms of smell and taste he recognized early on. He succeeded his later father-in-law Rudolf Goethe (1843-1911) as chairman of the Prussian Vine Grafting Commission.
Wortmann's most important publications on plant pathology and physiology, fermentation phenology and cellar management include "Anwendung und Wirkung reiner Yefen in der Weinbereitung" (1895), "Untersuchungen über das Bitterwerden der Rotweine" (1900), "Die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen der Weinbereitung" (1905), and "Über den Einfluss der Temperatur auf Geruch und Geschmack der Weine" (1906).