Vitrine 3 - From building terraces to rationalizing vineyards
In times past, wine yields were often ten times what they are today.
Varieties with such telling names as »Elender« (wretched) or »Grobschwarz«
(coarse black) stood for quantity, not quality. White and red grapes were
pressed together to create what was known as »Schiller«.
The Thirty Years’ War destroyed up to three quarters of the vineyards.
Later on competing drinks such as beer and cider appeared, then phylloxera
and fungal diseases virtually put an end to winemaking activities. The worthy
»Gesellschaft für die Weinverbesserung in Württemberg« (Society for the
Improvement of Wine in Württemberg), founded in 1825, attempted in vain
to halt the decline with showcase vineyards, high-quality vines and
It was not until rationalization started in the 1960s that vineyards on steeper
land could be efficiently and mechanically cultivated. The winemaking
countryside with its small, horizontal terraces and dry walls to prevent soil
erosion was remodeled into large parcels of land oriented on the line of
the slope. At the time, experts warned of a »wine steppe«. Today efforts are
being made to preserve the biological diversity and habitat for plants
and animals by creating green areas between the rows, planting hedges and
bushes, creating edge zones and building new dry walls.