File this under global warming: Balthasar Ress, the well-known estate in Germany’s Rheingau region, recently planted a vineyard at 55 degrees latitude on the island of Sylt, in the North Sea.
Just to get our bearings, this is as far north in Germany as one can go, almost at the border of Denmark. In North America, it would be the latitudinal equivalent of several hundred miles north of Montreal, Canada.
Ress was granted the rights by the Ministry of Agriculture in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, which itself obtained the right to plant 10 acres of vines in 2008.
The Ress plot, just less than 1 acre, is near the village of Keitum. There is a rich vein of loess soils, however, the cool climate requires early-ripening grape varieties.
"After extensive research on the viticultural viability of the property, undertaken by the renowned enological research institute in Geisenheim/Rheingau, we decided to plant 500 Rivaner vines as well as 1,100 Solaris vines," said Christian Ress, whose family owns Balthasar Ress.
It will be a Landwein, which falls between Tafelwein (table wine) and Qualitätswein in the German hierarchy. Think of it as the equivalent of a Vin de Pays from France. Ress will label the wine 55° Nord-Solaris/Rivaner.
Peter Wrobel — London, UK — July 15, 2009 4:56am ET
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