We’re done. All grapes are picked and most have been pressed. The time of night-shifts is over and life feels weirdly calm. It’s good to have much more time again for Melanie and Oskar. And for writing this blog post. We just came back from the daily cellar visit. Loads of bubbling going on. A lot of stuff to taste.
And although there is still a lot going to change there is a big smile on my face when I climb the stairs back to the surface. It’s looking good. Really good.
So how did we get there? The beginning of September sucked. It rained several times and rot started showing up at the early ripening varieties (Bacchus, Müller-Thurgau). And after last year’s rot disaster it scared the hell out of us. Also the acid levels started dropping a bit too quickly while the ph rose slowly but surely. We were concerned. And we started early.
Our old Domina was still looking good, just a bit of rot here and there, this was where we began.
As you might know the German word for “vineyard” translates as “wine hill” and that’s why there is a lot of physical work involved. We’re not keen on using the tractor either because all the freshly sowed green gets damaged quite a bit, especially when it’s (a little) wet. The low yield reflects in the density of the wine which is great fun to taste currently but will need quite a bit of time.
Next we went on with Schwarzriesling / Pinot Meunier which was still very healthy.
But that day it started raining after a while. That really sucked.
But the rock bottom of fun was reached when we picked Müller-Thurgau. Both had significant rot. And while one had more concentrated rot spots the other one looked a lot like this.
It took my team and me two days to harvest a whopping 2,000 m2 (that’s about half an acre). A very arduous selection process. Which seems to have paid of. I’ve fermented it on the skins and now that fermentation has finished (in old wood) there is an incredibly herbal wine (so! much! lovage!).
It got better from there. A lot. Our Regent was a real pleasure to pick as it was only about cutting the grapes and putting them in the bucket. 100% healthy.
While we were picking grapes we got a retired barrel maker working on a bunch of old barrels. The hoops needed to be readjusted, the wood was still in a wonderful condition.
What an admirable craft.
I’ve learned a lot about my barrels the last weeks. And I’m proud to say that a good bunch of them is filled with juice/wine now.
While this was happening in the background we were getting ready for the big final. Firstly the vineyard where our Heimat Silvaner is growing. There was a bit botrytis here and there plus a tiny bit of vinegar rot and penicillium. A bit of botrytis is no problem at all but vinegar and penicillium are scary fellows. To get it done perfectly we harvested twice. The first round we picked only grapes containing rot, removed the (bad) rot and collected the remaining stuff in separate boxes. This will become a more basic wine.
For the second round there were only picture perfect grapes left.
After ten days on the skins it is still fermenting in barrels but it tastes awesome already.
The last harvest was in Iphofen at the Silvaner vineyard we took over from Stefan Vetter earlier this year. It’s a pretty steep site.
Although there was less rot we harvested twice again to ensure the best quality for our second premium Silvaner.
The grapes were a little more loose so there was less squeezing based rot.
It’s still too early to seriously talk about the wines. There are even two Pinots left to press. But what we can say is that it was a good harvest. No breathtaking yields (we’re used to that …) but wonderful grapes and (so far) no serious problems with volatile acid.
The next weeks will be about getting all barrels filled up after fermentation has finished. Currently all we can do is keeping everything nice and clean while we taste all the juice magically becoming wine. We can’t wait to let you taste it.