The blitz harvest of 2018

Originally Melanie and I had planned to do a chilled trip all the way through Italy this August. But an early bud break followed by summer all way long made us reduce the road-trip to a couple of days of camping in the Bavarian woods.

When we came back there was just enough time to welcome Miryam from Spain and Tom from Australia before we got started right away.

August 21st was out first picking day: our big Bacchus vineyard. Normally a tough one to pick as it tends to start rotting early on but not this year. Look at these grapes!

Also that day Marcus arrived from Australia, from the plane straight to the vineyard.

The 22nd we picked the first Silvaner, a variety that used to be picked late September or October. Many growers still were on vacation until the end of the month, the winery equipment shop was still lacking half of its staff and the Kindergarten was still closed. Of course it would have been nicer to wait a little longer, stretch the ripening process, wait for even more yellow berries. But when the skins are thin, the seeds not bitter anymore, grape taste fresh and balanced, the pH passing the 3,2 mark and acid going down it’s time to go.

Here and there a few vines had suffered from dryness but that’s where the complains end. We picked the healthiest grapes we ever had. By far. There was pretty much nothing to cut off, nothing to throw on the ground, the yields were very satisfying (few exceptions of course) and we were picking breathtakingly fast.

13 days in a row, processing till midnight, early starts because of the heat, it was really intense. Normally there is a day or two “off” between the picking-days allowing for processing, pressing, cleaning, preparing. Not this time. Everything had to happen at night.

One highlight for me was picking the Schwarzriesling. It took us three days last year, the rot was painful to deselect. But this year we did all the 0.8ha in one day with eight people. Two of us carrying grapes most of the time. Long ways to walk but so satisfying!

The first Pet-Nat was bottled in August, at night after a long picking-day. It’s already finished fermentation and it’s really good.

And at the end of August all the top Silvaners were coming in. Again: picture-perfect grapes.

Like every year all the grapes were carried out of the vineyard on our backs.

The nights often ended around our fire ton, tired but satisfied.

And after a one week “break” we picked the grapes from our young Riesling vineyard.

So far all wines have fermented beautifully. Let’s hope that the last Müller-Thurgaus will work our similarly. They were picked at the very end and are taking it a bit slower.

And this is the crew that did most of the picking.

Miryam, Tom, Marcus: it wouldn’t have worked out that way without your massive commitment, your positive spirit and the knowledge you brought in. Thank you. Thanks also to Sebar who came for the last days. And to Nick and Victor who sadly missed most of the action having to be at school but did plenty of processing work since then.

And of course to my parents driving the tractor to all kinds of places, bringing cake and supporting us all way long.

The last but biggest thanks goes to my beloved wife & partner in crime Melanie. Without you managing the life happening in parallel to this intense time, family and business, house and office, everything would have fallen apart. Thank you.

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