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BAVARIA


farther south you have 30,000 to 70,000 acres. T e Mosel is very small. It was bigger but the very steep slopes make the work very hard.” T e unique slopes of the hillside vineyards in the Mosel valley store heat during the day


and release it into the vines at night, creating a warm climate for the grapes. If not for the stored heat, the area would be too cold to nurture the grapes. In addition to unique slopes, the Mosel is also home to rare soil. T e white wines have


a high mineral content due to this soil. T e soil contains a large amount of slate, which creates poor drainage and makes it hard to cultivate. T is, Bologna said, is a good thing. “Wine grapes do better when they struggle than if they’re planted in a wonderful


environment,” she said. Lieba said the Mosel River is the dividing line for the two types of slate the vineyards


house. On one side, the slate takes on red tones. T is, Lieba said, is from volcanic activity. On the other side, the slate is blue in color, due in part to the ice age when glaciers moved the soil. Altitude is another important factor. Germany is at one of the highest altitudes that


grapes can ripen. Lieba said the Mosel region is at the same latitude as Canada. “We have a higher average temperature here than in other parts of the country because


we have these steep slopes,” he said. “T is is the northernmost growing area for wines. T at’s why we probably are just known for white wine because red wines need defi nitely more sunlight.”


Non Rieslings in the Mosel: Eisweins, Red Wine Cold temperatures provide a good climate for Eisweins, or ice wines, in the Mosel


valley. Ice wines are typically extra sweet, with grapes staying on the vine until they ice over, allowing them to sweeten over time. Steinmetz, cellar master for the estate of Max Ferd. Richter, said December is usually the time for the ice wine harvest, but she noted not every growing season will produce ice wine. “T ey need to freeze outside in the vineyards at -7 °C (19 °F),” she said. “T at’s the


minimum. We try it every year.” Steinmetz said besides producing Riesling and Eisweins, they also produce a small


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 51


Top left: Dirk Richter, owner of Max Ferd. Richter, explains the history of the Hindenberg tribute label. Top right: The Brauneberger Juffer, the wine preferred by Thomas Jefferson.


Above: Claudia Steinmetz, cellar master for Max Ferd. Richter, demonstrates how the vines are pruned.


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