A New Year

vineyard morning winter pfalz

Mid-January, – and our first trip to the vineyard. The saw suggests it is going to get physical. We are cutting out the vines that got killed off by a disease called ‘Esca’ last year.  Altogether not a very atmospheric trip. Which is why I am posting pictures from a different wine area altogether, the Pfalz. Here, during a recent early morning run, a winter run in T-shirt, I could observe every possible stage of winter vineyard work: from vineyards that did not see a harvest, to others already cut and pruned, to others cleared out entirely: I hope our Esca-related vine cutting will not look as dramatic!

vines ripped out

Baby News

our newly planted vines are carrying grapes....

This post was meant to be called “The good, the bad, etc”, but then everyone seemed to be talking about “the [royal] baby”. The baby, in our case, is not covered in a white blanket. “The babies” in the vineyard are the new plants seven of us planted earlier this year. And the news is that they now have babies, ahhh, sorry, they are carrying small grapes, which, after all the hard work, was an amazing thing to see.

... whereas elsewhere, grapes takes a bad turn.

… whereas elsewhere, grapes take a bad turn.

That good news, however, was easily cancelled out by discovering bad and ugly news, ie seeing individual vines that looked ridden by the feared illnesses. The images in this blog show entire vines dying off or bunches of grapes that we had to cut out. The jury is still out, though, as someone told us that our vineyard looked healthy, despite these ugly images. Fingers crossed.


And if this is too nature-related for you (- a friend from NY visiting our vineyard admired “all that nature”- ), you can read about “the shop” here.

Searching for a new vineyard!

What’s the opposite of a bio-vineyard? No vineyard, in our case.  We swapped herbicides for manual weeding; chemical fertiliser for manure; we got ready for the bio-battle against illnesses. The bio-certification-application was stamped and signed.  But what we didn’t know:  Our step-by-step efforts over the last two years were like blocks put onto a Jenga-tower.  And while the vintner we are renting from gave his nods to all the previous blocks we placed onto the tower, the last step, the prospect of certification, must have given him cold feet and he let the bio-tower collapse.

jenga turm spiel faellt zusammen

a jenga tower collapsing (Shutterstock)

This means we are on the hunt for a new vineyard, where we are allowed to do bio, ideally in the same area, Rheinhessen, near Mainz. Any suggestions, let us know.

If chemicals weren’t allowed to reduce the ground underneath the vines to a brown carpet, the vineyard would risk looking like the “Wild, wild West”, we were told. This seems to be the fear that made the bio-Jenga-tower collapse. I respect that fear and won’t call in the demonstration- or tree-chaining squat. After all, Mitt Romney has weird opinions, too. But it might just be that the very ‘brown carpet’ that the chemicals create are more likely to trigger associations of the ‘Wild, wild West’…

The memory that will stay in mind from this lovely piece of land called “Am Sprung”: Our vineyard had become the ‘talk of town’, we were told, because the vines carried so many grapes. The bio-jenga-blocks must have done some good, after all.

a search for a needle in a haystack

The search for a new vineyard is on. Will it be like searching for a needle in a haystack?