Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Recently, a good friend asked me if I had already started the harvest on Thasos. I answered in the negative, because I was still in the process of preparing for the trip and I could subordinate the harvest times of the different grape varieties according to the sunshine hours of the year and the microclimatic peculiarities of Kazaviti. First of all, the amphorae would have to be watered in the salty sea and the preparations would have to be coordinated with the diving school.
Since 18 years of wine production, the two to three weeks between veraison and harvest are for me personally the most calm and balanced days of the year - now you can only wait, or just caress grapes in a hedonistic way. These contemplative weeks of anticipation always emit in me a little freedom. During this time, you can go on excursions and look over the shoulders of the winemakers of the Mediterranean climes as they hastily pick the mostly green grapes from the vines. The keyword enzymatic ripeness should be mentioned here again, which cannot always be striven for in all consistency. These are mostly questions of economy and rather than ecology in the triangle of sustainability.
As we have now all understood, the climate and the weather are no longer the plannable variables they seemed to be half a century ago, but in fact it seems that they are violent and permanently locally intense phenomena. The globalization of the flows of goods mobilized pathogens like neozoa, on this influence not every plant can shine by fast adapted defenses. For this, the colorful shopping cart gives us technical solutions or even adapted applications of good professional practice of history to enable plant health. Depending on the philosphy.
After the evaluation of our apple tree cultures in Germany as well as the vineyards in Greece, I recognize the applied techniques of the last years as extremely vitalizing. With the methodology and the experience of two pioneers, both coming from Japan, I have set the course for a balanced greening effect of long duration. On the one hand, already during my studies of oenology I was fascinated by the works of Teruo Higo as well as Akinori Kimura, who put their research in a holistic context on a healthy nutrition of the plants. This means in particular that the plant, whether apple or vine, is always nourished by the soil. It is not the pure nutrient that allows the fruit to thrive to full ripeness, but the mix of soil organisms, living structure, texture and pH. The lack of the animal component in a vineyard or plantation is of intrinsic importance. I am not writing here about the by-product manure, which is mixed with all kinds of additives - whoever sows rot can only reap rot.
Biodynamicists and fellow campaigners of the natural wine movement apply, among other things, timeless teachings less or more, for example, to equip eroded areas or poor fields with new fertility and immune defenses. You can soberly boil it down to one key phrase - what you get out, you might as well put back in. If you receive something, you should also give love back.
This law of togetherness is as classic as it is logical, and at times nature reminds us of this priceless value at more regular intervals.
Since I am now involved in the archaeological development of wine and the accompanying development of recipes to the diving sport, these effects show themselves to me in a tragic way. The sea is obviously the undersea reflection of our civilization and enormous diversity. So I was somewhat shocked to disillusioned when this year a glut of oxygen-consuming algae blooms from the Sea of Marmara drove us into the Agean Sea. This phosphate-metabolizing slime lay like a deadly blanket over every living thing and suffocated many a higher organism beneath it. The high water temperatures were already around 30° Celsius in June. Refreshing for vacationers, catastrophic for the marine community. Producing aquanautical wines in such an environment raises new questions and challenges.
Our sea transports goods and at times it feeds us. Only in this way could I understand how wine, as an above-ground product, is part of this global organism. The pendulum always swings both ways. Thus, one almost inevitably comes to start a new study and continue to deepen gained knowledge. The course of studies in Applied Environmental Sciences comprehensively covers all the interests of my path within an ecologically responsible life.
I did not recognize myself as a teacher, but rather a new humility is growing in me. Life is, after all, that never-ending process of learning that mentors and companions always talked about. Learning from nature is therefore the most beautiful thing in the world. Here I would like to say of course a word for the youngest and most capable environmental initiators of the seventies of the past 20th century. At that time, the USA and Scandinavia were global pioneers in this field, although they also exerted an influence by putting the brakes on sustainability goals.
The environmental policy triangle, which serves polluter interests, affected interests and helper interests, is unbalanced and very elastic in its norms and values. The central actors of a region advance and boost, not always to the benefit of the environment as well as biodiversity.
As a winemaker and pomologist, one understands a biological architecture in its design a little more in detail, as one subjects a product to a transformation. A starting product such as grapes or even noble varieties of apples become more digestible and/or more valuable through different types of fermentation. Above all, the ferment can be stored and is optimally opened up for our human organism. Whether lactic fermentation or alcoholic.
After my estimation of the vegetation period in Central Europe and Southern Europe the alternating questions arise again, which quality and quantity will reach the cellars of our colleagues and comrades-in-arms. The respective excursion of the experiences and knowledge gains makes again everyone for itself. Thus there will be also this year in the agriculture a result, which one chooses, is incumbent on respective preference. A huge piece of real liberty.