When you think of the Moselle, do you think of boarded-up villages and boring old-school trips? Think further! For this area is home to the steepest vineyards in the world. Breathtaking. And only to be conquered by winemakers with nerves of steel. This is what you call extreme grape growing, starring riesling. - TEXT EVELIJN VAN HEUVEN | IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Moselle style? Steep!
From Utrecht, it is only about 400 kilometres away to the German region of the Moselle. It's well worth the effort. The river Moselle takes you meandering through the landscape, past slopes filled with vines. These are not just any vineyards, for with gradients rising to more than 65°, they are among the steepest in the world. In fact, one of the vineyards is on the books as the very steepest on earth: the Bremmer Calmont. At 68 degrees, the slope seems to run almost vertically (90°), dizzying.
Danger to own life
The life of a winemaker may sound romantic to many, but it is hard work. Especially in the Moselle region, where it's even harder work. Here it is about growing wine at the risk of your life. Those vines may do well on those steep slopes, but to keep an eye on things, prune and, of course, harvest the grapes, you have to be pretty smart. You'd think there would be ingenious techniques to help with this these days. Techniques? Sure. But really ingenious? In several places, for instance, winemakers still use so-called monoracks: a noisy machine with a seat in front and a body behind it that you use to drive up such a steep slope via a single rail.
Read more about Moselle wine in Winelife 78. Order this one here!
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