Photo of the Day: Crazy-Steep Slopes at Ürziger Würzgarten on the Mosel

In Vineyards and Cellars

Snapshots from where wine comes from.


[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

I've just returned from a visit to a few different German wine regions hosted by Wines of Germany, and I've got a stack of photos to edit, but I had to share this one today: my snapshot of the crazy-steep slopes of Ürziger Würzgarten on the Mosel river.

Can you imagine arriving here and thinking, 'that looks like a good place to plant grapes'? It's so steep that it's hard to keep your footing, the red slate rocks sliding out from under your shoes. And getting around is essential—though the space is only about 35 hectares, we were told that there are at least 150 different owners of parcels in this vineyard, and most of the parcels are not contiguous. You more likely have a few vines here, a few over there, and more around the bend of that hill. Markus Berres, the 33-year old, 21st-generation winemaker at C.H. Berres, who took us up to that hill, said his family owns 40 different parcels in the Ürz-Würz.

The roads don't extend all the way through the fields, so at harvest time, someone has to carry the grapes back to the grape trailer, one 80-kilo backpack at a time. I just hope they step carefully.


Iron-rich red soils in the Ürziger Würzgarten adds to the spicy, tropical character of wines made from grapes grown there.