There are only a few places in the world of wine that come close to the magical Mosel Valley. The area around Bernkastel-Kues with its impressive steep vineyards is the home of Riesling vines with grapes absorbing the unique slate minerality of the soil.
Cultivating vines here demands respect of nature but also enough passion to fight for the yield. Everything is hard-earned in the steep slope vineyards. My husband and I work in the vineyards daily, we love tending to our vines manually with the following mantra in mind:
"4 hands – thousands of vines"
We are a small family business. The winery has been in the hands of the family since the 1850’s. It saw times of glory and decay. For my parents the winery was a mere side business with a total area of 2ha. The large family, my mum had 10 children, took care of all the work. They sold their wines in bulk and kept some of it for family consumption. We took over the vineyards in 1993 and started all over again building a new cellar and slowly investing in equipment and vineyards.
Because of the daily manual labor we have a real closeness to the vines and vineyards. For us it is a biosphere – not only a place of production. Herbs are planted, the soil is filled with life. We reject systemic plant protection, herbicides and artificial fertilizer. Instead, we promote the health of our soils and vines with natural, tried and tested means. We only use copper, sulfate and organic fertilizer. Unwanted weeds are removed by hand. It was a logical step that we obtained the organic certification in 2011.
We taste wines from all around the world, discuss wine styles and do deep dives into different regions. What drives us is the utopia of authentic wine. From this idea we draw the energy to wrestle with the steep slopes.
Organic viticulture is not only sustainable for the vineyard life but also a guarantor for wine quality. We are convinced: Only grapes that have been naturally farmed can be made into the wines that we imagine. Only then the whole vineyard, the terroir can be experienced in the glass. Chemicals and heavy machinery are the helpers of mass and mediocrity and therefore the wrong companions.
In our small winery both of us do all the work: from planting young vines, tending to vineyards, processing grapes, vinification and finally bottling. Every now and then an intern looks over our shoulders; and sure, in the harvest season we need more hands, every help is welcome. Every year we are supported by friends, family, neighbors and fit retirees from neighboring villages.
For two years now our total energy consumption is covered by solar panels on the roof of our winery. All residues like yeasts and pressed out grape skins are composted and re-enter the cycle in the vineyard as fertilizer. We use rainwater to cover our water needs for spraying and cleaning of equipment during the vinification process. These are all holistic farming concepts that used to be widely spread in the past. Nowadays sheer size, machines, chemicals and acreage-based subventions promote mass production. The concept of CrowdFarming is a counterproject.