Tag Archives: schloss vollrads

Ice Wine Harvest at Schloss Vollrads

Temperatures in Germany have been exceptionally low this December and it has enabled many winemakers to harvest grapes for ice wine, Germany’s fabled treasure. I have written about ice wine in the past (here) but there is no way to better understand what makes this wine so special than actually seeing under what conditions the grapes are harvested and then processed. I came across this video by the Rheingau winery Schloss Vollrads (Germany’s oldest continuing winery, see here) yesterday and I was just completely in awe once again about what these harvesters go through to produce tiny quantities of absolute deliciousness.

Maybe this will help you understand what the myth surrounding German ice wine is. Remember, in order to harvest ice wine it has to be below -7 degrees Celsius (19.4 degrees Fahrenheit). In the middle, the guy is talking about how they initially planned to harvest the grapes before sunrise, because it is coldest then. But they had to move it up to midnight because weather forecasts predicted some warm air coming in in the morning. The juice has 195 degrees Oechsle, way above the 110-125 degree threshold it needed to meet.

UPDATE: I just saw photos from the ice wine harvest by Dr. Hermann winery. They expect 200 liters (under 600 bottles) and are really excited that they got to harvest on 12/12/12.

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Sunday read: 800 years Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau

This weekend, I want to direct you to Schloss Vollrads, a winery in the German region Rheingau. Within Germany, the Rhine flows rather straightforwardly north, with a slight northwestern bent. But at one point in its course, for about 50 kilometers, the Rhine takes a southwestern bend, from Mainz (I grew up just south of it) to Bingen. This is the only time in Germany, that vineyards on the Rhine in Germany get full southern exposure facing the Rhine. This map is focused on all the castles along the Rhine, which is just one of the reasons why it is so beautiful there…but it also shows you how the Rhine flows and how the northern bank is fully exposed to the south.

The Rhine Valley between Mainz and Bingen (Photo Credit: www.planetware.com)

Why is that important? Germany is one of the most northern wine countries. Historically, our grapes need as much sun as they get, because it does not get warm enough for them to fully ripen. That is one of the reasons why most prime vineyards are fully south exposed, to get as much sunlight as possible, and even better, get the sun reflected from the river.

But back to Schloss Vollrads. The winery celebrates its 800th consecutive wine harvest this year, and that makes it the oldest running winery on the planet. Just mind-boggling.

Chris Kassel over at Intoxicology Report, wrote a piece in his inimitable style to celebrate their birthday! I had tremendous fun reading it, and I hope you will enjoy it, too!

Happy Sunday!

A Bit of Gloss for The Schloss Sauce: 800 Vintages and Going Strong!

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