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With my first paycheck I bought a vineyard tractor. They aren’t cheap, but it was worth it to me. My family has been engaged in winegrowing for as long as I can remember.
My great-grandfather, grandfather, father, uncle — they all were vintners and started taking me to the vineyards at an early age. I love continuing this tradition. I owe it above all to my parents that I am able to do so.
I am working on my master’s degree at the cooperative university and take a clear stand in this respect: My job comes first and, along with it, the master’s degree, and then comes winegrowing. When I have peak workloads or a lot of studying to do, my father helps out in the vineyard and takes a load off me wherever he can. I consider myself extremely lucky in this regard.
I love working as a vintner and I was practically born with this love. Nonetheless, I keep learning something new every day, and I’m glad that I have good relationships with the other vintners in the region. That helps, for example, when it’s time to prepare a second vineyard in the fall and the ground is hard. My attempt to do that with my own vineyard tractor and a heavy tiller on a 26-percent slope turned out to be — let’s put it this way —hazardous. But you have to expect such surprises sometimes, and you have to search for an alternative with the help of experienced vintners.
One important guiding principle is the fact that we vintners produce food and we have a responsibility to our customers. I feel totally obligated to operate in clean and hygienic conditions. And as a result, I clean the tractor very regularly, even if it does not come into contact with the grapes. Crop protection is also a key issue. We don’t hesitate to invest in technical equipment and expert knowledge in this area. The regional agricultural authorities offer courses in this area, for example.
As a vintner, you are also a businessperson. I based my decision on what grape variety to grow on the market demand. In Germany, the most popular wine is Grauburgunder, which is also known as pinot gris. That’s absolutely understandable, because it’s a really fantastic variety. That’s why I can also indulge my personal preferences. In the new vineyard I plant my favorite white and red varieties (white = Grauburgunder/red = Lemberger).
Incidentally, today the old Ruländer variety is mainly marketed under the name Grauburgunder. Earlier harvesting and not using the grapes with noble rot gives the wine a more tangy note.
Another interesting tidbit: Grauburgunder is a classic variety from Baden (Baden = pinot territory), while people in Württemberg are very proud of Lemberger. It’s a real Baden-Württemberg symbiosis, so to speak.
In my new vineyard, I rely on state-of-the-art technology in addition to trendy varieties. A specialized company planted more than 1,200 vines when I set up the vineyard. A job that used to take days was done in two and a half hours. Because the work of a vintner is dependent on the weather, I take advantage of the opportunities the Group offers me: the very openly practiced option of flextime and mobile working.
Even though I have to get up earlier and organize my spare time more efficiently, I can’t imagine a more enjoyable after-work activity. I love the proximity to nature, the close relationship between the vintner’s actions and the response of the vine to cutting, training and fertilization. Also not to be underestimated: the great creative freedom, the preservation of an ancient tradition, and the opportunity to enjoy my own wine on the patio.