Autumn is vintage time
When the landscape takes on its colourful hues in autumn, a particularly exciting and busy time begins for the winegrowers: the grape harvest is about to begin. Equipped with work clothes and buttes, they head for the vines. Traditionally, only the ripe and flawless grapes are harvested during the grape harvest to guarantee a high-quality end product.
Harvest as an experience
At the Landesweingut Kloster Pforta, you trudge side by side with the winemaker in the vineyard and can actively participate in the grape harvest. After the work comes the pleasure: a snack and a glass of the estate's own Federweisser. It is an exclusive experience, however, because only a few dates are kept free for this. After all, the wine has to be bottled, and they work hard for that in autumn. Each winegrower decides anew every year whether he can introduce guests to the grape harvest. This depends on the quantity of ripened grapes, on the decision as to when the harvest can begin and on the free time capacities.
At State winery Pforta Monastery one or two dates are kept free each year for the "Grape Harvest for Everyone". At others - e.g. at the Naumburg Wine & Sparkling Wine Manufactory or at the Viticulture "The Stone Master and other winegrowers - it is worth following the social media channels. Short-term dates for participation in the grape harvest are also communicated there.
How does the grape harvest work?
In the steep slopes of the vineyards in the Saale-Unstrut quality wine-growing region, no harvesting machines are used, so the grapes are largely harvested by hand. On the one hand, this is very time-consuming, but on the other hand it helps to preserve the quality of the grapes. The higher the quality of the grapes, the higher the quality of the wine later on.
Harvest helpers move together along the vines through the vineyard. They cut the grapes by hand. A first quality check is carried out: if the grapes are damaged, mouldy or dried out, they have to be sorted out immediately. And off they go into the bucket and from there into another collection container. The advantage of manual harvesting: The grapes are harvested very gently and hardly damaged.
For the helping hands, the work is over here for the time being. For the winegrower, on the other hand, the exciting months now begin until the grapes that have just been harvested can be bottled as finished wine.
A glass of Federweisser please ...
From the harvest of the grape to the pressing of the grape juice often only a few hours pass. But when do we speak of Federweißen?
Before the juice comes the destemming: This means that the berries must be removed from the stalk. Only then can pressing begin. The cloudy grape juice now begins to ferment into wine. When the fermentation of the grape must begins, we speak of "Federweißer", i.e. new wine. But only the wine from white grapes can be called Federweißer!
Did you know that ...
there is also a red version of the new wine? However, this is then called "Roter Rauscher" and has so far only rarely been offered.
Extra tip: Federweisser from the vintner
At Vineyard Herzer and other vintners you can pick up Federweißer directly. But beware! Federweisser does not keep for long and the containers should not be closed too tightly because the fermentation process is not yet complete.
And what about the ice wine?
Being able to produce ice wine always has something to do with luck and a willingness to take risks. How many grapes and which ones should remain on the vine? Will the persistent frost come that is needed to freeze the grapes? Will the autumn not be too wet so that the grapes don't rot? Saale-Unstrut, as the northernmost wine-growing region, has the best climatic conditions for this...
The ice wine harvest is strenuous work: In the early morning hours at sub-zero temperatures and with stiff hands, the grapes are harvested by hand. Pressing begins early in the morning; a highly concentrated must is a prerequisite for the later taste of the ice wine.
Ice wines are always quite outstanding rarities. Ask our winegrowers about it and perhaps have one or the other speciality explained to you, such as a Trockenbeerenauslese. Highly recommended.