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Suche, Weinberg

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Wir bedanken uns schon mal auf diesem Wege fuer die Anregungen, die wir von Lesern der Allgemeinen Zeitung nach dem gestrigen Artikel bekommen haben und noch bekommen werden. (In dem Artikel ueber den Greenfeatherwine Blog wurde erwaehnt, dass wir nach einem neuen Weinberg in Nackenheim und Umgebung suchen.)  Und wir haben ueber Eure Emails gleich noch viel mehr ueber Rheinhessen gelernt.  Keep it coming!  Sollten wir tatsaechlich schon bald in einem neuen Weinberg schneiden und binden, erfaehrt ihr das dann wieder hier.

“Seek and you might …”: This is a quick thank you for the emails we have received after yesterday’s article in the Allgemeine Zeitung in Mainz.  Keep the suggestions coming!  And since our project so far is about the Silvaner grape, here‘s an article I stumbled across in the post-email research (article made available with the permission of VivArt Mainz).

Glas Green Feather Wine

A happy, sunny New Year!

Harvest. Botrytis. And…

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…a highly financial day in the life of a Mini-Wine-Producer/Blogger:

Financials? The suspense! I know!  Did we invest in pumps, filters, a press even? No. I just followed Jimmy Wales’ request and gave a tiny amount to Wikipedia. Why? My appreciation for their no-ads rule is growing, as the battle of my ad filters against pop ups intensifies, never mind those freaky ads that remind  you of a google search you did yesterday (that’s soo yesterday).

But I can’t help but think that my “yes, I’ll sponsor”-click had more to do with wine and botrytis. But the basics first: Botrytis, a fungus, can turn the grapes into something very desirable (Noble Rot) or that has to be discarded (Grey Rot). But how do you illustrate the two? My “yes, I’ll sponsor”-click was made, I think, in honour of a fairly good illustration of the latter in its German entry, headed “Grauschimmelfaeule” (“Grey Rot”). Two things I love about this page:  It has a picture of a grey rot affected tomato plant that will put you off tomatoes for a long time: it looks like someone did a meticulous job of knitting a jumper round a tomato plant made out of some very bizarre grey wool. But it also lists the latin names: Botrytis cinerea or Botryotinia fuckeliana. Nothing to add to this.

That Botrytis “f…”s with the grapes is something Frank, Boris, Pascale, Hans, Astrid, etc will remember from our own Green Feather harvest, since we we spent a good deal of our time cutting out the rotten bits from each grape (see min 0.44 in the video). So, the idea that Botrytis can, on the one hand, create “Noble Rot” (“Edelfaeule”, “edelsuess”, in German), something that gives sweet desert wines such a special note that the price sky-rockets, but also create the bad rot, the “Grey Rot”, is hard to get one’s head round. This page is a good read on the subject.

Botrytis on tomato plant Grey Rot Noble Rot Wikipedia

image by Rasbak from Wikipedia shared under GNU Free Documentation License

During our own harvest we got to know each BUNCH of grapes, putting it into the ‘sweet’ bucket, or the ‘not so sweet’-one. That felt like a lot of attention given to each grape. So, how crazy is it to give that kind of attention to each individual BERRY? The effort involved in doing a “Beerenauslese” (“berry selection”) or a “Trockenbeerenauslese” (“dry berry selection”) appears in an entirely new light, after our harvest!  If we were JUST doing an “Auslese”, ie a selection, ie separating the sweeter grapes from the not so ripe ones, then the idea of doing that whole process for individual berries is just staggering: Imagine the long line of vines in front of you and you are standing there with two buckets, one for the berries with exactly the right type of Botrytis (or dried up), the other for the rest. That’s obviously what explains the price, – and what a bummer if after all that effort the fermentation then does not go well….

If you have heard of the French sweet wine “Sauternes” (I giggled my way through this 2011 harvest report) being made with Botrytis, but not yet of the German variety, here are some vintner sites that offer Beerenauslese: these were mentioned in a magazine’s recent tasting: coming from south Germany, Rheinhessen and Austria; I myself remember tasting a very nice Beerenauslese at Wittmann, one of the top White Wine vineyards in Germany (and a bio-dynamic one, too).

But before I consider shelling out for a Beerenauslese, as for financial commitments today, I thought I’d stick to sponsoring (Green Feather’s very own) Nick’s “Movember”-efforts of growing a moustache in support of prostate cancer awareness.  And create my very own wishlist for 2013, which includes taking part in a harvest for a Beerenauslese.

Green Feather Harvest (2):

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And for those of you that found the fog pictures in the last post a bit too subdued, this is how the Green Feather Vineyard looked shortly after the harvest:

Silvaner Grapes Green Feather Vineyard Harvest

Here’s a little autumn tour, starting at our vineyard….

rhine vineyard

… to the Rhine…

… to a neighbouring vineyard….

… back to the river, and….

Green Feather Silvaner harvest Vineyard

… back to the Green Feather Vineyard.

Searching for a new vineyard!

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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?