Vintage at the organic winegrower in Markgräflerland

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Vintage at the organic winegrower in Markgräflerland: grapes

The grape harvest is still associated with a lot of manual work - especially at high quality wines, where the grapes are already selected for quality in the vineyard

When the harvest begins in the tranquil villages of the Markgräflerland, a fruity-sweet scent is in the air. We looked over organic winemaker Mario Hug at his work.

Markgr√§flerland is the second largest wine region in Baden. It starts south of Freiburg and reaches to the Swiss border. Around 3,000 hectares of vines are distributed on the gently rising hills between the Black Forest and the Upper Rhine plain. The most widely cultivated varieties of wine include the white Gutedel and M√ľller-Thurgau as well as the red Pinot Noir.

Organic winemaker Mario Hug determining the must weight of the grapes with a refractometer

Organic winemaker Mario Hug determines the must weight of the grapes with the refractometer

For vintage in September and October regularly loaded with large Zubern cars drive through the villages. In the vineyards are clearly more hard-working helpers access than usual. For the winemakers, the harvest is the busiest and most exciting time of the year, because it now decides whether the vineyard rewards the hard work with a good quality of fruit. Even Mario Hug is early in the morning on the legs. He has to plan the upcoming reading day: where will it be next? How stable is the weather? "A lot can happen from one day to the next," explains the organic winemaker from Pfaffenweiler, "Berries can burst easily if you wait too long to harvest." That is why he regularly checks the degree of ripeness and health of the grapes.

Removal of the grapes with the tractor

For transport to the winery The grapes are transferred from the buckets. As far as the terrain allows, the tractor is used. In steep locations or when the rows of vines are very close, muscle power is required

Shortly before eight o'clock the harvest helpers arrive at the winery. Most of them are pensioners from the village who have been with them for years. Today, precocious grapes are harvested. From them, the winemaker presses "Federweiss" and "sweeties" for the ostrich industry, which he runs alongside his wife Manuela next to the winery. "Just over 100 degrees √Ėchsle", the winemaker is satisfied with the must weight of the grapes. Equipped with buckets and scissors, the men and women get to work. With a lot of experience they go from Rebstock to Rebstock. The sound in the bucket of falling grapes mixes with some lively conversation. "Full" sounds from one of the Rebgassen - the sign for grandfather Hug, who comes with the small tractor and takes the grapes.

Wooden barrels from the cooperage workshop of the organic winery

The wooden barrels in the cellar of the organic winery Hug originate partly from the former family-owned cooperage from 1930

Meanwhile, Mario Hug is in the winery and takes care of the incoming grapes. Before pressing, the grapes are freed from the stems in the destemming machine. From there, the berries get into the press, which separates solid ingredients and grape juice. In order to allow the subsequent fermentation to run in a controlled manner, the juice is cooled down in a cooling tank with the white varieties. "That's how the aromas can develop better," explains the winemaker. Only then is the juice pumped into steel tanks, where yeast is added and the grape fermented into wine within one to two weeks, sometimes longer. Until late at night, the pressing and the associated work take.

For the harvest workers, the work starts earlier. At three o'clock in the afternoon, they return from the vines to the winery, where freshly baked cakes and coffee are ready. It is family to at the vintage. And some people will stay for a while longer. Because at five o'clock opens the ostrich, where next to young and old wine onion cake and other savory dishes of the southern Baden cuisine on the table.
Address: Winery Hug, Weinstraße 4, 79292 Pfaffenweiler,
Telephone 0 76 64/71 30,

Vintage at the organic winegrower in Markgräflerland: organic

In the lunch break, which usually takes place in the vines, the topic of conversation seldom goes out. The harvest workers appreciate the convivial atmosphere. Those interested in learning more about working in the vineyard are also welcome to a "trial reading"

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