Raja Riesling is about the long-term dream of the entire Viinitie gang, which began to materialize in the spring of 2012, when we rented our own small plot from Friedrich Becker. Our small plot of 0.2 hectares is located in northern Alsace, on the outskirts of the town of Wissembourg, right on the German border, at the confluence of the Vosges and Haardt mountains. The unique thing is that the wine is made on the German side in the village of Schweigen, and despite its French origin, it is a German wine.
The history of Alsace has been turbulent, to put it mildly. In connection with each world fire, the province has changed hands - in the last 100 years 5 times - being alternately France and alternately Germany. In the most recent partition, these shelters remained on the French side, although they have historically been German-owned. After the Second World War, the orchards were isolated on the other side of the closed border, and German vintners could do nothing but watch the vines go wild from across the border line. In 1955, however, France and Germany reached an agreement on land use, and after Germany gave the border line water resources and forest in return, the German winegrowers were able to return to their orchards.
Our Riesling orchard is located about 300 meters from the German border on a slope to the southwest. According to the old German wine legislation, the name for hillside orchards was "Pfeiffenberg", but according to current regulations, this can no longer be mentioned on the label. Pfeiffenberg is composed of pure limestone, so it offers an excellent setting for growing high-quality Riesling.
The vines are about 45 years old and planted in the mid-1970s. The conversion of the nurseries from conventional to organic farming began in the spring of 2012. All work steps in the nurseries are done by hand and the harvest is also done manually. When working in the orchard, the aim is to create the best possible conditions for the grapes to ripen well into autumn. One of the most important forms of garden work is the process of pruning vine leaves. Thanks to this, the animal shelters have avoided major disease problems for the past 10 years. The orchard is often the last plot of land to be harvested.
Key words in our garden work are biodiversity, respect for natural diversity and meticulous craftsmanship. Each vintage is made differently, in our effort to understand the potential of each growing season. Key words in our winemaking are minimal intervention in the cellar, spontaneous fermentation without added yeasts, long maturation on the lees, and nurturing purity and freshness. The purpose is to bring out the full potential of Riesling grown on limestone soil.