Thriving & prospering despite the hardest vintage we’ve had so far

Happy new year everybody! We’re slowly starting over again with all doors closed but us in the office with decent coffee and the remaining Christmas cookies. It’s been a peaceful couple of days with plenty of family- and play-time after an exhausting couple of weeks.

Planning the upcoming year and looking back goes hand in hand these days. The labels and boxes for the first bottling days need to be planned in time meaning the blends need to be finalized in order to get the correct alcohol level printed (and with the white Fledermaus likely being bottled in March there is a fairly big blend of several Müller-Thurgaus and Silvaner to figure out).

Thinking back to Müller-Thurgau … it’s been a tough year for this variety. Two vineyards had serious frost damage and then we had this incredibly early rot kicking in in August already. The yields were low and harvest was expensive (it took us twice as long as last year). And then there was Bacchus which was the worst variety to pick in 2017 (rot), an almost completely destroyed Regent and a seriously damaged Schwarzriesling (both attacked by drosophilia suzukii).

Thank god the Silvaner vineyards did a great job. Out of all our varieties this is the most reliable one. All the three Heimat Silvaners are showing really well already, there is a big Silvaner barrel reserved for Fledermaus and another one for the V&S Silvaner – both excellent.

Since year one we’ve been telling ourselves “if we master this next step we’re going to be fine”. And then there is a harvest like this. And you survive. And the next day you start thinking about the next challenge … “if we master this next step …”

The list of small and medium fuck-ups is fairly long for 2017 but thank god there was plenty of exciting stuff happening too. Our wines are now available in Japan (Cross Wines), Sweden (Byracka Vin), Spain (Monvínic Store) and Italy (Wine Independent) – hooray! We’ve also spent quite a bit of time on the road for visiting fairs in France, Czech Republic, UK, Austria and Germany. And Michael was doing extensive tastings in Canada, the US & the UK.

There were also a few winemaker’s dinners with the one at Where The Light Gets In (Stockport, UK) certainly being a highlight of the year. Sam, Caroline & Emma had visited us in November to walk through the vineyards, taste the barrels and design a menu around a selection of our wines. And we went to Stockport two weeks later to pour wine in the restaurant and enjoy one of the best dinners ever.

Again there were four wines being released for the first time: Black Betty, Kleine Heimat, a Silvaner and a Bacchus Pet-Nat. And there were so many great people visiting us & helping out. From Austria to Australia, from Canada to the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and even Germany we got fantastic helpers for planting & fertilizing …

… green-pruning …

… disgorging …

… harvesting

… more harvesting …

… and bottling – it was big fun, enriching and enormously helpful. Thanks again. So what’s coming up next? We’re going to plant a new vineyard in spring, a traditional Franconian mix of 19 varieties including super rare stuff as Adelfränkisch, Vogelfränkisch, Kleinberger, Weißer Lagler, Heunisch and Hartblau. We’re going to get a decent load of bat- and horse shit to feed all the microorganisms. We want to plant more veggies in the front garden of the winery and further increase the level of biodiversity in the vineyards. We don’t plan on expanding a lot further (at least for now) but stabilize and improve what we’re doing. For healthier soil & more delicious wine. Cheers!

 

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