Two Days Traveling German Wine

Traveling Germany

After finishing Prowein, Wines of Germany took around about-15 of us through the German countryside to meet with producers for three days. Due to my departing flight I was only able to be part of the travels for two days so had a quick go of it. It was of course lovely to taste the wine. Along with the tasting, I have to admit one of the most interesting parts of the trip was learning about the culture and wine scene of the countries and cities in which our fellow travelers live. One night during dinner a handful of us simply compared restaurant-wine culture in London, NYC, San Francisco, Moscow, and Rio. Pretty remarkable really.

Here’s a look back at the two days in Germany as shared during our travels via Instagram.

 

Winegrower Jens Bettenheimer of Weingut Bettenheimer in the Rheinhessen region of Germany discusses his viticultural practices. To capture the highest quality in the resulting wines, he believes it is important to focus on biologically-minded practices. At the core of this approach is soil health but also a holistic view of what that means. He follows moon cycles as has long been traditional in farming all over the world but also judges those cycles in relation to the weather at the time. While his farming is organically-minded he chooses not to be certified. His university thesis looked at the impact of copper use on soil health and soil biology. Copper is one of the primary treatments available for vineyard maintenance in organic farming. His studies showed that copper builds up significantly over time in the soils and effectively depletes the micro flora and micro fauna of the soils, which then reduces the vines ability to uptake nutrients from the soil. In rainy conditions under organic farming higher copper use becomes necessary as rains effectively wash necessary treatments from the vine. To avoid this increased copper use in especially rainy years he opts instead for products such as phosphoric acid that are not officially recognized by organic certifications but that he has found reduce overall impact on the site, and especially soils, while maintaining vine and fruit health and reducing disease pressure. #germany #rheinhessen #wine @winesofgermany @jens_bettenheimer

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Weingut Bettenheimer grows in sandy wild blown soils over chalk stone (with lime). The focus as a result is on varieties especially suited to these soils from the extended Pinot family, such as Chardonnay, Frauburgunder, and Spatburgunder, though also Sylvaner. Bettenheimer does also make a small proportion of Riesling but by shifting the focus to the Pinot family they have effectively distinguished themselves within the German market. While Chardonnay is less commonly thought of in relation to German wine, it appears throughout the country in small quantities. Jens Bettenheimer takes a particular interest in Chardonnay as he feels it is especially suited to the underlying chalky soils. He also enjoys working on honing the particular expression of the variety to the region with the idea of age-ability in mind. Here we taste a small lot experiment he has done of Chardonnay vinified without sulfur with skin contact. He also experiments with blocking malolactic conversion, for example, to see what creates best expression for the site with ageability and drinkability. In the end the various small lots are blended to create the finished Chardonnay. #germany #rheinhessen #wine @jens_bettenheimer @wines_of_germany

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Volker Raumland began making sparkling wine for his Sekthaus Raumland in 1981 from both the Rheinhessen and Pfalz wine regions. In 1986 he helped open up the German sparkling wine market by creating a mobile disgorgement and bottling machine that he advertised as a traveling service for all of Germany. After placing the advertisement in 1986 he quickly received over 100 phone calls from small producers all over the country who needed help disgorging their sparkling wine. For the next sixteen years he drove his machine in every direction across Germany. Without assistance or expertise it can be so difficult to disgorge traditional-method sparkling wine that producers will lose a lot of volume just by opening the bottles to release the yeast plug. It proved more economical to pay Volker for help, and his services, as a result, helped expand availability of quality sparkling wine from Germany. #germany #rheinhessen #pfalz #wine @wines_of_germany @sekthaus_raumland

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The German classic for mineral water. #germany #water @wines_of_germany

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Among the world’s greatest wonders is getting to see friends in unexpected parts of the world. What a blessing and how cool is this. Rafael and Ivannia are from Costa Rica. We met in Montreal as Rafael and I were in grad school together there. The week they became Canadian citizens, now so long ago, our grad school cohort took Rafael and Ivannia out to jokingly deliver a Quebecois citizenship ceremony. (We ate poutin served with a side of hotdogs and cabbage.) They have since lived in multiple Canadian cities, a US city, and now Germany, as is the life of an academic. I have since lived in multiple US cities, left academia, and become a wayward traveler of wine. And here we are meeting up for dinner in Düsseldorf tens years after the last time we saw each other in Quebec. Incredible. So great to see you two! Thank you for making time to visit! #germany #friends

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