Handcrafted – this term means more to us than just the refusal to go for automation. It rather stands for a philosophy, a morale that has to express itself every day in work and life:

 

 

The quality of all wine originates in the vineyard, and here we must begin. In order to improve quality, we have from 1987 gradually doubled the distance between our grapevine rows to a spacious 2,60 m. Our vines get more light now, more air, sunshine and room to grow strong and healthy. The broad lanes are covered with wild herbs breaking up the soil and fertilizing it. They also attract all kinds of beneficial animals like ladybirds and other useful insects which do a good job as natural pest controllers. They do their all to keep our need of chemical sprays at a minimum and enable us to work in close touch with nature in an environmentally sound way.
 

 

 

Besides ecological aspects economy naturally plays a role, too. Giving each vine more room, we have considerably reduced the total number of vines in our vineyards, and we have changed the grapevine training (Vertico, i.e. to vertical trellis, after Dr. Gargnello). As a consequence, some of our former routine operations can now be completely omitted; others are obviously facilitated. A decisive step has thus been taken towards our end to produce with future-oriented efficiency. Machine work in our vineyards is restricted to tilling the soil (harrowing and ploughing). All work on the grapevines is done by hand.

 

 

It goes without saying that harvesting the grapes is exclusively manual work, too, the use of harvesters and the like being absolutely out of the question. In accord with proven traditions each cluster of grapes is treated with the same care and attention. Furthermore, hand picking allows selection right on the spot and does in this way contribute to increasing the quality of the yield. In 2001 we got a new wine press and could eventually change our method of pressing the grapes; they now reach the press unbruised, their juice is extracted more gently, and less sediment arrives in the must.
 

 

Foto: Friedrich Schmitz

 

 

 

In the cellar, we do not blend our yield; our wines are kept strictly “lagenrein” (each barrel or tank contains wine from one vineyard site alone), and, of course, “sortenrein” (we never mix the juice of different grape varieties). The must ferments in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. A natural source which flows in our cellar provides the necessary humidity and keeps the place cool to guarantee slow fermentation. At this stage of winemaking, patience, calmness, and experience with new wine are the wine grower´s most important assets. For the whole of winter, the wines are then left undisturbed to mature and develop their personalities. Only in May are they ready for bottling.

 

 

 

Foto: Friedrich Schmitz

 

The sale of our latest vintage is always triggered off by our traditional Hoffest in the end of August after the new wine has again got a chance to rest for a few months in its bottles. There are but a few exceptions, namely our popular “summer wines“ Rivaner, Ortega and Weissburgunder, and – 2001 for the first time – our first ever rosé of the Regent variety (which is much more often made into a red wine).
 

 

Handcrafted, by the way, is also the last control of the bottles before they are offered for sale. While labelling the wine, we have another close look at each bottle (to see if small crumbs of cork have dropped into the wine, for instance) in order to minimize the risk for our customers: Only impeccable specimen may leave the winery.
Most of our wines are ready to drink at this stage, but a few selected sorts still have a way to go. They have been chosen to undergo a second fermentation: The “Versektung“. We have been making our own “Winzersekt“ (i.e. sparkling wine) for 20 years now. “Sortenrein“ and riddled by hand, it is produced following the “Méthode Champenoise“, the traditional procedure of second fermentation in the bottle.
In 2002 we could – for the first time – offer 4 different kinds of Sekt: Rieslingsekt and Elblingsekt of two styles each, namely brut and extra dry..
 

 

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