2014

All our posts from 2014

Green Feather Wine: On the road….

On the road to complexity:  I was away for a few days over Christmas and, as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

‚So, what. You missed your own Green Feather Silvaner, among all those Alto Adige wines?‘

‚Oh, actually, could be, but I wasn’t even thinking of the wine. I miss the vineyard.‘

‚I don’t know how high the „green carpet“ stands that was sowed in before the winter, I haven’t seen it yet with all the snow, – I miss it.‘

Which sounds ridiculous, since we are about to start the cutting, maybe even Saturday, weather permitting, so that heart will change its mind very quickly, looking at a long row of vines waiting to be cut in the freezing cold.

wine glass tastekin

I made this conversation up to give you the gist of many conversations I had recently, at wine stalls we do, and more generally, when people say „How is the wine?“:  I talk about the vineyard and the person standing or sitting opposite wants me to talk about the wine itself.  Its complex fruit (not sweet though), how it has developed since we bottled it, etc etc.

‚Stop talking about the halfing of the grapes, – you can’t taste it, I want to know what it tastes like!!!‘

‚Well, you can, because as a result of the halfing…‘

‚No o o o o, stop it.‘

I stopped. But I will tell you about the amazing health harvest and the link with the halfing, if you ask me nicely, at our next stall.

Until then, I will try to learn how to tell you more about the comet lander and not so much about the Rosetta orbiter, and this is the only analogy I dare to write down, out of the many I thought of and that were utterly ridiculous.  Living in Darmstadt, we feel a bit closer to 67P than the rest of Planet Earth and it may be difficult to hide that I got totally sucked into the #CometLanding thing.

We are doing wine stuff at the moment: accounting and tasting.  I won’t even try to find a way to fit our accounting into this blog.  Unless you get a philosophical kick out of the fact that the one receipt that went missing (I have searched all folders again and again) and must thus have dissipated, is that of a sieve („ein Sieb“, in German), namely the sieve that separated the grape seeds from the skins („der Trester“), in order to allow us to dry the pips for grape seed oil.  That sieve left us with nothing so far, no oil, not even a receipt :0.

Clearly, the tasting is the more exciting activity: Tasting the 2014 vintage more specifically. Creating various sample cuvees of the wood-barrel part and the steel-vat part; observing how the acid is developing and how it fits in with the many fruit flavours which the Silvaner grape allows us to work with.

We hold that thought until 2015. And leave you with a picture of the most gorgeous bus stop I have ever seen. I have to put my running gear on and race some 10k before 2014 ends. Happy New Year! Guten Rutsch!

bus stop in the mountains  Green Feather wine says Happy New Year

Is defeat round the corner?

Nutcracker : Nut - 0:1:  Defeat, when you least expect it....

Nutcracker : Nut – 0:1: Defeat, when you least expect it….

Defeat came with a very distinctive sound, but not the one I was expecting: It wasn’t the nut that cracked, but the machine itself, mighty big Mr Nutcracker. Looking at the tiny nut that succeeded in this enormous david-vs-goliath fight, I went all philosophical, – ‘defeat comes round the corner when you least expect it, bla bla bla….’.

Luckily for the wine, this defeat only affected the food supply for Marzipan and Erbse. As for the wine, the beautiful 2014 vintage in question, the dilemmas we are facing are more questions of technique than of strength: Should the tasty moist and protective yeast come out already, or can it stay in until January? We shall keep you posted.

About this blog

In this bit of the site, you can follow our vineyard story step-by-step, – in fact, the blogposts start in autumn 2012.  And no, it isn’t a case of blogging every single cutting sound the shears make.  You get to witness each year develop like a dance that gets faster and faster, like a sirtaki, or a waltz with a mad finish, or a head-banking rock-guitar-solo, or a beat that eventually goes trance-like.  It goes a bit like this:  When we step into ….

vineyard action from steady to spin

vineyard action from steady to spin

… the vineyard at the start of the year, everyone’s asleep.  We tap the vines and there is yawning, as if they are about to wake up.  Then, much later, and after much work, the elation of seeing the blossom. Probably at around June time.  This time feels ike getting into position for the dance, the pose.  Next comes the time when we see the little pea-sized berries: This feels like the first couple of turns of the dance, when you can still make out the shapes around you, you lean back and enjoy the music.  But the head-spinning finale comes without fail, and it arrives in the shape of the run up to harvest time.  Time to hit you with a technical detail, to stop the spinning:  When you have scrolled to the bottom of the page, it takes a while before the next posts load, – and the next ones, and the next ones. until the last, err … first one:  A Berliner writing about Veltliner („Veltliner“ being pronounced as if the word „inn“ was in there, – hence the brilliant rhyming….).  Enjoy!!! And feel free to send me comments and suggestions.

Harvest Columbo-style

Two blog posts ago I wrote about the suspense suspense suspense, of the tension of an overstrung guitar string, of seeing the harvest date approach.  Hm, I seem to have likened it to the near-final chase of a suspect by a sleep-deprived detective determined to get her suspect before night sets again.  This is where the whole story falls apart, where I can report success and failure.  The harvest was a big big success, yeah!  We put in a lot of manual work over the summer: So, when you look at the picture below, the question is:  What do you see?

 

IMG_4036“A bird”, you may say.  And I can’t deny that this is correct, that Marzipan, the parrot, is sitting there, like Columbo, proud of the huge pile of grapes that gave the clue to his solving a murder. Who knows, he might even look smug.

Whereas….., I see something else. And it is embarrassing to admit:  When I open the picture on a full screen, I can’t help but stroke over the grapes in the picture, still gob-smacked how “clean” the grapes look.  “Clean”, in this case means: no mouldy bits, and there are plenty of examples here.  Obviously, you would say, they look “clean”, because you would cut all the mouldy bits out, you and all your helpers at the harvest. True that! But in this case, we did not have so much to cut out, so happy harvest helper punters could clock off at 3pm of a sunny day, after having gorgeous cake brought along by one of them.

So…., the gob-smacked bit is about how well the “communication” with the plant worked, given that the “communication” (with cutters) took place late at night, wearing a head lamp.  The plants understood and produced healthy (organic) grapes.  Time for a well-deserved rest for the plants, until we start cutting in early 2015.

collage harvest 01

Doh…., I can hear.  Why wouldn’t the communication have worked?  Since, in the same way Columbo is misunderstood by the subjects of his investigation, the plant could have misunderstood my cutting, could have overcompensated, could have produced mouldier grapes than ever.  There!

So…., happy punters, sunny day, cake, no getting stuck in the mud with the trailer full of grapes:  – Where is the report of failure? That failure lay in the metaphor, – the detective running through the fields:  we must have lost her somewhere in the run up to the harvest. Her out-of-breath state-of-affairs might have been a good metaphor for last year’s harvest.  This year, it was Columbo all the way.  We got them, the healthy buggers. And they ran straight into it.  No effort needed on our part.

Thank you, thank you, thank you: to all those that came and helped!!! See you hopefully next year.

parrots on ferry collage

The parrots bringing home “the bacon” or the harvest. (This photo was actually taken earlier this year on the Kornsand-Nierstein ferry.)

Oh, there is just one more thing: Some of the young wine is in a wooden vat, the rest in a metal one: the difference in taste is huge! We like them both, of course, and will keep you posted.

Reports of previous harvests: here, here, here and here.

And the “halfing business” (“Halbieren”) from earlier this year (June):

halbieren comparison

The Green Feather Harvest 2014 – Mission (Im)-Possible

IMG_3829 copy 2Very excited about reaching harvest time, – when all the work put in during the year is put to the test:  Was the halfing of the grapes successful? Do we have less mouldy bits to cut out?

The two feathered ones seem to have a different outlook on the whole harvest experience: lots of yummy grapes, – they are happy. One of them, Erbse, even practised the “Mission Impossible Squirrel Run” at home (see the video below),  in case the grapes were tricky to get to.  – He needn’t have worried.

Dear harvest helpers, – we look forward to seeing you tomorrow and look forward to a gorgeous day!!

IMG_3827sharpened

p.s.: I will do a separate blog entry on the whole “halfing” business (“Halbieren”), – it seems so nutty to have cut away most of the bunches in early summer….

p.p.s: a “face” appears in this blog post and that’s an exception. One of the models in this picture works in social media and is happy to show his face on the web. The other two like any attention anyway.

Midsummer Night Murder – a Hunt for Grapes

Detective Brown, wiping her eyes after a mere 90 minutes sleep, turns the key in the ignition of her old car. Nothing. ‚Please, stick with me, just for today, it’ll all be over today. It MUST be over today.“  She tries again. The engine howls and she is off, chasing after the most significant sighting of the suspect in her drawn-out murder hunt as yet. He was spotted by the water. And when she gets there, he might or might not have disappeared into one of the many coves along the coast….

If this little scene from your Sunday evening „Tatort“ or other murder drama has not got you sitting on your hands or biting your fingers, I don’t know what does.

For me, this kind of suspense feels very real and, as we move from July to August,  increases from week to week. Granted, it is not a murder I am chasing…… What I am chasing is this:  an idea of healthy grapes by the time we harvest; and all the threats there are to that in organic agriculture.

This is what they look like at the moment.  The possibility of them going mouldy lurks around behind every corner, mind you, every leaf.

If you are interested in joining into the climax of that drawn out suspense, – the harvest, in September or Oktober, then let us know.  We could not do this project without our amazing supporters!  Let’s chase down those grapes, let’s catch them!

photo 1

Feeling like…

…. a room without a roof.”

 

This might sound like an exaggeration, but the first (as yet green) grapes landing in the kitchen is a very special “Happy” moment.

It is way too early to start measuring sugar levels. I just took home some of what I had cut to the ground, as part of the ‘halfing’/’halbieren’ of the grape bunches.

I am told there is lots of good stuff with names impossible to spell in the pips and the skin.  It tends to go into expensive skin treatments, and here it was sitting on the ground in front of me.  I had read about “verjuice” on the internet and here it is, mixed in with fresh herbs, tasting delicious on various salads. halbierte trauben am boden photo 2 photo 4

“Everything is awesome….

….when you’re part of a team”

I can’t get this line out of my head since I watched the Lego movie, and I am still singing it, as the sun sets on my pruning efforts on the grapes.

And again: “Everything is awesome, when you’re part of a team!”
This team, in the vineyard, in a bio/organic vineyard, consists of many insects.  The state of some of the plants around me is miserable, I am trying to point this out to those insects, as my singing becomes as repetitive as my cutting tasks.  “Everything is awesome….”  I am not sure it is so awesome that we have to share our grapes with them, the insects, the team. I put my (gloved) hand into another bunch: “aarg, earwig – sh….t, – great.” – “As long as you leave some of the grapes for us…..”

The birds will be lining up next, to join the “awesome team”, as soon as the grapes turn sweet. Luckily, we have befriended a dog. When he sees us working in the vines, he does very excited jumps through the rows. If he can just keep that routine up during the week,  when we are not around, that might scare off some of the candidates eyeing up the grapes.

There is proof, btw, that this is the dog with the best manners in the village: Just on another day, a fellow dog walked up to me working in the vines.  There was no ‚hello‘, just a lifting of his leg against the vine next to me. I had been warned in whose territory I was. Then he walked off.

With so many encounters, I could be made to believe I am in  New York subway station, could I not?

clouds summer above vineyard

Blossom!

The blossom kicks off a busy period: taking the leaves off and halfing the grapes will have to be done soon. Right now, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the blossom period runs more smoothly than last  year.

Blossom (this picture was edited)

Blossom (this picture was edited)

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