The Vineyard Project was began in the fall of 2019 as a way of connecting soulful, yet overlooked vineyards, with soulful growers. But the larger goal, in a way, has little to do with either the vineyard or the grower: it’s about the community, the village, the people behind the wine.
If it takes a village to raise a vineyard, it’s also true that throughout countless villages in Europe, the vineyards have fostered the communities. If one goes fallow, the other may follow.
Our first collaboration (Vineyard Project 001) was with the Mosel grower Ulli Stein and an older grower from the same village, Ewald. Ewald had planted around a hectare of ungrafted Elbing vines with his uncle 69 years ago.
It is a rare parcel of this ancient variety; the only ungrafted Elbling vineyard I am aware of. In the Riesling-dominated middle Mosel, the vineyard was ignored and Ewald was selling the juice bulk, for pennies on the dollar. The vineyard was supported, was tended and loved, because Ewald kept it going – but this was and is not sustainable.
By connecting Stein to this vineyard, by guaranteeing him a market for the wine, we have helped to give this vineyard a sustainable future. Ewald’s Elbling will be preserved for future generations.