A Moselle vineyard

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The Scenic Jasper docked at the lovely town of Koblenz where the Moselle River joins the Rhine. We were offered the choice of visiting the reconstructed town of Cochem and Reichsburg Castle that stands on a height above the town. We’d been there before, read my account here, so we opted to visit a nearby vineyard for a wine tasting.

We were taken on a short coach ride beside the overflowing banks of the Moselle River. All its locks were open to allow all that water to flow down into the Rhine – just what we needed. All along the valley vines grew up the steep slopes. I wrote this post on a previous visit. It gives a good idea of how challenging it is to run a winery along the Rhine and Moselle.

The fourth generation owner of the Winningen vineyard offered three wines for tasting, all 2020 vintage from different vines, to show us the difference in taste according to the source of the grapes, which are usually Riesling. Unlike vineyards in Australia, here people owned strips of vines in different locations – some close to the house, others high up on the slopes. He explained the different tastes came from the different minerals in the slate soils. The oldest, toughest vines are on the high slopes where the plants have to delve deep for water and the grapes are small and concentrated. We asked if he had trouble getting workers for what was essentially a manual operation – you can’t use machines on the steep slopes. He said he worked on the labour intensive task of tending the vines himself. He had formed a good relationship with workers from Poland who came every year to help with the harvest. He also told us that the climate is warming, so the picking time is earlier. He no longer attempts to produce late picking wines (ice wine or Spätlese). It never gets cold enough.

The village of Winningen hosts the oldest wine festival in Germany. They elect a Wine Queen, but they also elect a Wine Witch. The witch theme is common in the village but I couldn’t find out why. I suspect it harks back to the dark days of the witch trials but it’s now seen as something positive.

While we guests were off on our excursions, the ship set off, fighting the current along the Rhine, leaving us to catch up. The rivers are very full and flowing fast. The captain has had to be innovative to keep the ship on time. The coaches drove beside the river to a dock where we could get on board.

By the way, if you’ve happened upon this page by accident and you’d like to read more about the tour, go to the tour page where you’ll find the rest of our adventures.

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