Our heart beats for sustainability
Long before words like ENVIRONMENT, ORGANIC PRODUCTS or SUSTAINABILITY have entered our social thinking and acting, our predecessor, Dietrich Wohlgemuth, out of conviction but certainly also due to his upbringing, which was based on thriftiness, consideration and holistic thinking, has established some rules maintained to this day in the winery: Empty bottles can be returned to the winery to be rinsed and reused. To this day, our customers return over 50% of the bottles! We forward corks returned to us in this way to the local ZOAR workshop in Alzey for recycling. It is also common practice to reuse used but still respectable cartons as often as possible. We are also sustainable when it comes to labels, others might say “old-fashioned”. We still stick our labels to the bottle with plant-based glue. It comes off the bottle better when rinsed, it is biodegradable and does not produce waste like comparable self-adhesive labels and their backing materials.
PIWIs – New grape varieties.
And there is, of course, 2009, the year of our pioneering departure into new, sustainable grape varieties: the PIWI’s or better: New Grape Varieties! Almost 60% of our vineyards are now planted with these new grape varieties (classic crosses of traditional native grape varieties with naturally resistant wild grapevines). Because of the New Vine Varieties’ natural ability to defend themselves against fungal attack (they close their leaf stomata when attacked by fungi, strengthen their cell walls, and use their own antimicrobial secondary plant compounds to defend themselves), they require up to 80% less crop protection, …..which also means fewer tractor passes, diesel sparing, and less soil compaction. As they are not only robust, but also score with a delicate and complex variety of aromas, they open up new horizons of enjoyment for wine connoisseurs.
In addition, the topic of humus buildup is at the top of our agenda. For years, we have been experimenting with different greening concepts and soil cultivation systems. Our goal is to increase the soil biodiversity of our vineyards, while at the same time increasing and sustainably sequestering CO2 each year. Hand in hand with the topic of soil vitality, also go our herbicide-free understock care and the renunciation of mineral fertilizers through legumes in the greening.
We have been producing our own electricity for years. We generate it via photovoltaics located on our winery roofs. In winter and at night, we currently (until the medium-term storage issue is solved) purchase electricity from the provider “NATURSTROM”. This electricity comes 100% from renewable sources, i.e. no CO2 emission and no radioactive waste. We cover our heating requirements – until we can hopefully soon switch to power-to-gas – with real biogas from the provider “Polarstern”, i.e. pure biogas from sugar beet pulp left over from sugar production.
By introducing the innovative and sustainable packaging “Bag-in-Box”, for young wines, we are trying to reduce the energy-intensive production of glass bottles. Bag-in-box wine remains fresh for up to 2 months after opening, can easily be stored in the refrigerator and the box with tap can be disposed of separately in a sustainable manner. Another big advantage: the weight saving compared to wine in glass bottles is tremendous!
And if we ever have to build something, like the hall for vineyard machinery a few years ago, we forego a concrete foundation in favor of a degradable and lower-C02 dowel solution. We build entirely from unsealed wood, implement daylighting strips to save electricity and lighting technology, and simply leave the completely unsealed ground as it is.
Through the large number of these and many other, often small measures in business and private actions, we are trying to save valuable resources, bind many, many thousands of tons of Co2 year after year. We will thus be able to produce our wines Co2-neutral in the future. In order to be able to prove this, we have been certified by the German Institute for Sustainability (DINE) and are now allowed to mark our wines with the FAIRCHOICE label.
Even if some people still laugh about it, we think that a whole is made up of many small pieces. All our decisions must never be based on today but tomorrow has to be our goal, in order to be able to believe in a future worth living for all of us.