Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring is coming - Time to book your tour!

Spring is coming in France (Alsace and Burgundy in our case) and Italy (Tuscany)
Time to book a tour with us and enjoy life :)

Matinée traction animale 3ème édition - Pulling horses working in the vineyard

For the third year in a row mister Boris Kachelhofer and Jean Paul Schmitt wines in Scherwiller organised a "Pulling work-horse morning" in the wine fields. There were some 6 horses from different owners present.

By the way some winemakers really own a work horse to be used by themselves and some also rent them out to other wine makers.

Of course in the old days, before there were tractors, everybody had to use horses to plow and work in the dirt. But machines took over. In the philosophy of biodynamy the use of machines has many disadvantages. There are vibrations in the soil. There is the pollution of the exhaust fumes. Most important probably is sitting high on a machine that moves over the grapes, you cannot see well what you are doing from up there. The "feel" of the dirt and being close to the herbs and plants is very important. You could say that a biodynamic farmer/wine maker "reads" his land and the grapes.

It is amazing to see how well trained or actually I should say: how clever the horses are. My first notice was that the horsemen do not shout at the horses at all. On the contrary they talk in a soft calm manner with the animals. The horses of course understand "stop" and "go" but they also know when they have to go faster or for example pull. Then they know left and right or to go in a circle. Left and right can also be really one step to the side and then straight on again.

You could see that the horses often understood in which small corridor they had to go when they were directed in a certain direction..

Depending on the structure of the dirt and for example the angle the animals can work from a couple of hours to 5, 6 hours per day. Taking my photos and being close to them I could really hear them breathing hard, so 5 to 6 hours is amazing then.

Going uphill just with my camera I already felt my legs after a while. Imagine how these horses must feel at the end of a days work. They probably do not get a massage afterwards, although I am sure they are well taken care off.

 All and all it was very interesting to see again how much work it is to be a bio dynamic winemaker, also from this perspective.. Only logical that the prices from their products are a bit higher too.

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