A day (at) the vineyard

English Section / 13 iunie

A day (at) the vineyard

Versiunea în limba română

The industrious man is not only preoccupied all summer with building sledges for the winter snow, but also takes care of what he keeps cold in the pantry for the delight of the taste buds. This also applies to winegrowers. A good wine is prepared in time, before the first leaf appears in the vineyard.

In the scorching June of 2024, I visited the Ştirbey Winery, where there is a tradition of over 300 years. The hosts, Ileana and Jakob Kripp, accompanied us through the vineyard, through the winery, through the tasting room, but also through the history of the Ştirbey and Kripp families.

A day (at) the vineyard

The declaration of faith of the owners is clear: "For over 300 years, the wines of the Ştirbey princely family have been created according to principles developed and preserved from generation to generation. We want to respect them and pass them on to the next generations. We are followers of traditional varieties, evolved and adapted over the centuries to the pedo-climatic conditions of a vineyard. Only there can they fully develop their characters. We vinify them separately, producing only wines from pure varieties, to bring out the character of each individual variety. The soil, the climate, the flora and fauna, but also the traditions of the people who work in the vineyard essentially influence the evolution of the grapes and the wine - giving each vineyard plot a different character that can be synthesized as Terroir, or in a more universal sense as Genius Loci - the spirit of the place. We want this Genius Loci to be found in our wines. We are convinced that the forces of nature give much healthier and more sustainable products than any technical intervention by man. We take care of the bushes in the vineyard through strictly manual work and reduce chemical treatments to the minimum necessary. In winemaking we follow nature's clock of fermentation and maturation and do not force the process through technical interventions".

Otherwise, as in any story that is also related to reality, there are problems. The workforce is one of them, already classic, in addition to the 17 permanent employees, the winery also needs part-timers, who are increasingly difficult to find. The new rules related to the warranty-return system also create headaches, especially when it comes to old wines in bottles. Barrels (a good source is at Roşiori de Vede), machinery and their maintenance represent other concerns, beyond those caused by the multiple whims of nature. Through a lot of work, but with even more passion, all these are overcome.

Just like at the beginning of the 20th century, when the wine cellar was designed by Prince Barbu Ştirbey for the processing of grapes from an area of approximately 20 hectares of vineyards, 70,000 - 80,000 liters are still obtained per year, the emphasis being on quality and less on quantity. For 20 years, the winery has been exporting (between 10 and 20% of production) its wines to various European countries (Germany, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Italy, France).

The hosts did not avoid (in the presentation and tasting) one of the winery's representative varieties, Crâmpoşia Selecţiţanata, recommended for socializing, but also intended to better fix the memories.

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