Climate change is altering viticulture in Germany. With some drastic consequences. The documentary "Revolution im Weinberg" (SWR) presents three winegrowers who have found their own answer to the question of the future of wine. Whether it is the right one depends on one aspect in particular.
Watch "Revolution in the vineyard" 45 min
The truth is in the wine - also when it comes to climate change. Few foods illustrate the existing and impending problems as drastically as viticulture. With consequences for almost the entire population. Last year, according to Statista, the industry in Germany had a turnover of 3.19 billion euros - making it an economic factor that should not be underestimated. Not to mention the cultural aspect. But what to do?
The once mild climate in the south and centre of Germany has changed the work of winegrowers in recent years. Former top locations are no longer producing good harvests. Take the Kaiserstuhl, for example. The small mountain range in the south-west of Baden-Württemberg is considered an excellent growing region for Burgundy. However: "It has become too warm here for classic Burgundy," says organic winegrower Matthias Höfflin (***) in the documentary.
Instead, it is now important to think more southwards. Merlot, for example. Or to look for high altitudes. Where there is wind, where a forest provides shade, where there is only morning sun. Locations that were hardly interesting in the past. But Höfflin seems to be ahead of his time. "Passionate. Authentic. Organic." is the triad on his winery's website. Höfflin was already pursuing the last aspect when other colleagues were still ridiculing him for it.
In Rheinhessen, winemaker Eva Vollmer has proclaimed a "vine revolution" with "wines of the future". With resource-saving and fungus-resistant grape varieties: the Piwis. Together with winegrower Hanneke Schönhals, Vollmer started a new movement two years ago. However, the success of these new grape varieties depends above all on one aspect: are they well received by wine lovers?
According to the documentary, the young public in particular is open to them. Wine fans and sommeliers taste the wines in several rounds - and praise them highly. In fact for all the wines that appear in this documentary.
The wine from winemaker Steffen J. Montigny is also very well received - and is grown in the far north. The name says it all: "So mookt wi dat" is not only a declaration of origin, but also a rebellious answer to all doubters, says Montigny.
And what about the doubts of the public? Viticulture is just one part of a gigantic problem that has long since progressed much further than many people would like to admit. It is to be hoped that the winegrowers will not give in to this, that they will find solutions, think unconventionally and work constructively. Matthias Höfflin just points out that this will take time. After all, all this has to reach the consumers. However, Höfflin adds: "If you don't set out on the journey, you won't reach your goal." The first steps can be seen in this documentary. And they are not small steps.