30 Sep 2012

Vintage 2012 - Day Six

The entire vineyard team has arrived from Poland now, and I joined them today with more leaf thinning and pre-harvest fruit selection taking out any bunches with rot or drying. It is pretty hard work, mostly as I am surrounded by a combination of Portuguese and Polish, neither of which I can understand. Bit of fun!

Lunch time. Take advantage of that sun whilst it lasts!
Freshly groomed slopes.

Vintage 2012 - Day Five

 Day five was much of the same as we finished preparing the amphora project but regretfully I probably won't be here when the fruit is harvested, pressed and fermented inside it. Down in the cellars I continued cleaning and preparing the cellars; an important but very wet and dirty task.

Making sure the soil is dry we left it out in the sun.
We put sand around the amphora and then surrounded it with soil.
Snug as a bug in a rug
What's inside the magic box?

28 Sep 2012

Vintage 2012 - Day Four

The Gunderloch cellars at Nackenheim are starting to get much more familiar, but also looking a little different after a rigorous cleaning before new tanks go in which arrived in the afternoon. With some old tanks removed there is a little more wiggle room down there, so existing tanks can also go in there and the rest of the cellars can then be cleaned by yours truly. The secret project Johannes is working on continues; a box we made yesterday has started to have a combination of Rothenberg soil and sand put into it, surrounding a special fermentation vessel. Momentum is building.

Three new babies got delivered. Yet to be named.
Admiring my handiwork
A clean winery is a happy winery
My weapon of choice

27 Sep 2012

Vintage 2012 - Day Three

Preparations for the real meat of vintage continued today, as old tanks were very delicately removed from the 400 year old cellars so new ones can go in tomorrow. Johannes and I also took some soil from the Rothenberg vineyard to put into a box we built for a special project. To end the day I started to clean the cellars at Nackenheim thoroughly which I'll continue tomorrow.

Pretty versatile in the vineyards
The winery in Nierstein where most of the processing takes place
The Intrepid Wino digging for treasure
Precious booty
Now how did that giant tank get out of that small door?
A magic box

26 Sep 2012

Vintage 2012 - Day Two

Today Johannes Joachim and I went out into a number of parcels tasting fruit and looking at the health of the grapes. Samples of some parcels were taken for analysis back at the winery which yielded some interesting data. The afternoon I helped in the packaging line again for an order soon to depart. Here are a few photos.

Joachim and Johannes discussing
I've got a lovely bunch of riesling grapes
Joachim takes some samples of riesling in Rothenberg
Lovely mild day in the Rheinhessen
Taking notes on the tastings of fruit
The Pettental vineyard
My second favourite river in the world
Grauburgunder, also known as pinot gris, or pinot grigio
Something called portugese; no-one knows what it is exactly
A tiny little bunch of pinot meunier called schwarz (black) rielsing here
Measuring the oechsle

25 Sep 2012

Vintage 2012 - Day One

Day One and we were harvesting some low sugar high acid fruit for some light alcohol wines for a special customer. The fruit was coming from the flatter parts of Nackenheim closer to the Rhein River, where the yields are higher thanks to more alluvial soils and easier access to water. Apart from a little bit of rot in the tighter bunches, the fruit is looking excellent. Later in the day we were doing more leaf thinning in the Rothenberg vineyard and doing some preliminary fruit selection by removing any berries with traces of rot. Here are some photos.

One of the parcels being harvested. Good fruit and plenty of it, with only minor rot and dried berries.

Vintage 2012 - Preparations

My first week working at Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen was pretty quiet as the winery finished a few loose ends before the vintage really starts, and also makes necessary preparations. I had an induction of sorts and also had the chance to settle into my digs for my time here. Some bottlings here and a day doing some leaf thinning say out the week for me. Here are some photos from the first week.

Fritz Hasselbach showing me the condition of the Rothenberg vineyard

18 Sep 2012

The next phase

Almost a year has passed since I departed Australia for my huge journey discovering the world of wine, and I have been fortunate enough to experience a great many things. Apart from learning about some of the world's greatest wine regions and the many wines and winemakers, I have also had the chance to visit some amazing cities and areas across three continents. The past seven weeks I have taken a break from the wine related travel and enjoyed being a fairly typical Australian backpacker. I spent about five weeks in the United Kingdom and Ireland; visiting breweries, historic cities, bars, lochs, distilleries, cliffs and of course, more bars. It was pretty tough work, don't get me wrong, but it was also a nice opportunity to meet more people and be a tourist.

The two towers