Let’s get chemical!

Brix, PH, Titratable acidity – things to do in the lab before harvest

View over the vineyards to the Marmara Sea.

View over the vineyards to the Marmara Sea.

I am currently spending some time working at the Chateau Kalpak in Turkey where we wait for the harvest to start any minute. While waiting we enjoy the nice view out of our window but cannot help asking ourselves: What goes on in the lab down in the cellar and what implications does it have for the harvest? And, above all, for the wine? Continue reading

Wine time and rural life in Bulgaria

I am one day out of Bulgaria and I already miss it. Let me tell you first and foremost: I love Bulgaria, I love Bulgarian wine (what I tried of it), I love Bulgarian people (even though they don’t like each other). I want to live and die in Bulgaria! But how did this happen and what did I experience?


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Plovdiv: 42.135408, 24.745290
Sredno Gradishte: 42.306505, 25.294123
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Plovdiv, Bulgarien
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Sredno Gradishte

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Meet the wine maker: Sebastian Müller from Brühler Hof in Rheinhessen, Germany

The organic pioneers among Rheinhessen wine makers

The wine estate Brühler Hof, run by the Müller family, is a Rheinhessen wine institution. In 1989, when Hans-Peter Müller introduced organic production methods other wine makers didn’t even think about organic wine growing, not even in their wildest dreams. But not here. Organic growing is the family’s top priority. You can see this in the vineyard where no chemicals are used and everything is done by hand. Herbs are planted in the middle of the vines to deter insects, for the same purpose pheromones are used instead of chemical aids.

Working the vineyard at more than 30 degrees.

Working the vineyard at more than 30 degrees.

But also the production process is organized in accordance with ecological and sustainable standards. Solar power is used as the main energy generator and many other energy recycling measures are taken. Continue reading

From juice to wine: Hands-on wine making!

Follow my work at Domaine des Enfants to learn about the early stages OF the wine making process

After working in Alsace and Rheinhessen, the third stop on my wine around the globe tour is Domaine des Enfants, in Maury close to Perpignan. The wine growing region is called Roussillion and is part of France’s biggest wine growing region Languedoc-Rousillion.

The domaine is run by Swiss Marcel Bühler and his American wife Carrie Sumner. I have the opportunity to stay two weeks at the domaine and get involved in various tasks. As it turns out, these two weeks cover pretty much all steps from picking the grapes to nearly bottling the wine. Follow me and learn what happens at these various stages and how juice turns to wine.

Domaine des Enfant is located in the appelation Maury in the Rousillion

Welcome to the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Maury .

1. Work in the vineyard: picking grapes

I arrive pretty much on time for the harvest of the white grapes. There is an anxiety and excitement to be felt about when exactly to start harvesting the white grapes. Marcel and Carrie are discussing it frequently, checking the weather, checking the ripeness of the fruit, checking the moon. Why the moon? Because they follow biodynamic principles and pick fruit on fruit days of the moon calender. Continue reading

Meet the wine maker: Daniel Ansen from Domaine Ansen

“Stay calm and have faith” – The chemist among Alsacian wine makers

Domaine Ansen is a small wine estate in the village of Westhoffen, Alsace, just a short drive away from Straßbourg. It was established in 2012 by Daniel Ansen. Daniel owns 8 ha of vineyards spread over the wine hills in and around Westhoffen, which he works organically. This means he doesn’t use any chemical additives to make his wine nor does he spray his vineyards with chemicals. He grows all of the varieties that are permitted to be produced into Alsacian wine, with Riesling being his major variety. He produces mostly white wines, Pinot Noir and also Crémant d’Alsace.

Daniel Ansen

Daniel Ansen

Daniel and I are driving back from Colmar, the wine capital of Alsace, where he had wine business to do. He is driving the car, his daughter is sleeping in the back of the car while I’m sitting in the passenger seat enjoying the view of the Vosges mountains. The peacefulness and tranquility of the situation encourage me to ask Daniel for an interview. He kindly agrees. So, lean back and enjoy reading the following interview! Continue reading