The sensations such as nose, palate and colour are the major properties of a wine. For us, these only represent 50% because they depend on external conditions such as person and occasion. These features change with time. In its youth, like a person, wine can be demanding, wild and boisterous, but also reserved and introvert. Just like a person it needs time to find a good balance. The other 50% is the ethical foundation for us. Can I enjoy with a clear conscience, or do I enjoy at the expense of others or the environment? Is my pleasure authentic and honest? We put great emphasis on having a good feeling when enjoying wine, otherwise it will not taste good. We do not only wish to savour wine with all senses but also with the heart.
The Ahr is one of the northernmost wine-growing regions in Europe, probably the northernmost wine-growing region for red wines of all. Due to the unique microclimate and its expressive soils, great Pinots are produced here, which despite their depth and longevity also possess complexity and elegance.
The character of our work is shaped by the manual work in the steep vineyards along the banks of the Ahr. In order to preserve the authentic character and the strength of the wines, we first and foremost allow them time in the cellar. To be specific, this means doing without chaptalization, fining and cultured yeasts. As in the past, the wine ferments naturally and spontaneously. After maturing in oak barrels made of local oak, the wines are bottled unfiltered. This means that in some years they need more air and time than others but are the more durable for it.
The world is not black and white; it is colourful and changeable; for every rule there is a proper and important exception that makes sense. Even if we ourselves strive for sustainability, ecological work and social cooperation out of conviction, we also respect other views. Nobody can be sure that they are right, and therefore we promote our views but do not want to think in black and white. Those who wish to truly change something must convince others and inspire them. Everyone has a moral compass which is continuously calibrated in life and is the basis for all decisions. We have chosen ecological farming being convinced that this way we can sustainably protect and even increase the quality of our wines. Therefore, we do not use herbicides, chemical plant protection agents, synthetic fertilizers or synthetic fining agents. Barrels of German oak produced in Germany have been our choice from the beginning. Furthermore, we do not use the classic small barriques that are discharged after only a few years. Instead, we prefer larger barrels fit for much longer usage, often over many decades.
With great dedication we have been engaged in the idea of permaculture as well as circular economy and the promotion of our self-sufficiency in the wine estate. Permaculture is the self-renewing cycle of nature, minimally arranged and directed by humans, instead of intervention. By combining and arranging natural elements such as plants, trees, animals and rocks etc., conditions are established that allow nature to regulate itself and renew itself continually and reliably every year. A perfect cycle. As there is no perfection, and this is an exciting field, this topic presents itself as a life-task – and certainly a never-ending one. However, we continue to discover ideas we can integrate in our wine estate, so we always develop further. For example, we keep sheep to keep the green covering under control; this has become an important part of our work.
Wine is less a foodstuff than a luxury good and stimulant – its consumption is not about satisfying a basic need, hunger or thirst. Indulgence makes us happy, and that is the most important about it: To feel happiness and joy. We cannot become happier and happier by consuming more and more though. As with all things in life, it is all about balance and rhythm. We experience this every day: When we are hungry, everything tastes more intensive; we smell and taste more, and eating becomes a fulfilling event that makes us happy. But if we try to achieve more happiness by eating what we liked more and more often without waiting for hunger, it will taste less good and special and will be unhealthy, which will make us unhappy in turn.
If in doubt, it is a good idea to enjoy one really good bottle of wine instead of two average ones. Not only the winegrower will be glad about it, but it will also be more sustainable pleasure for you.
WEINGUT BERTRAM-BALTES GbR
Hardtbergstraße 5, 53507 Dernau
Tel 02643 903 312
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