Last year, thanks to being hooked up by winemaker and excellent human Jas Swan of Katla Wines, I travelled to the Mosel Valley in Germany and helped take in the harvest for Rita and Rudolf Trossen in Kindel by the river Mosel.
I’d never been on a harvest before, and had no idea what to expect except hard work, long days in the vineyard terraces and meeting new and interesting people. All of these things were true, but what I was surprised by was the joy I got from every day out there. I loved the work, I loved the people and I completely fell in love with the wine. I won’t go on about it — if you’re interested in my trip, I wrote about my experiences out on the steep slate hillsides of Mosel for Pellicle. Check it out!
The trip turned my mind inside-out. Maybe wine was something I wasn’t just interested in, maybe it was a passion? Maybe this was the beginning of something massive in my life? I learned so much more than I expected to while I was there, but I wanted to know more.
I decided as soon as I left that I was going to go back and take Tom with me. I wanted him to experience the harvest. I wanted him to meet Rita and Rudi, I wanted us to help Jas with her 2020 harvest (seeing her pictures this year is breaking my heart!) and I hoped to re-enact my short late night visit to Staffelter Hof in Kröv where Jas took me to taste their amazing wines and we painstakingly de-stemmed what felt like billions of perfect grapes for yet another new, young winemaker. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.
But 2020 had other ideas. Back in March when Lockdown Beta was being suggested, I cancelled a trip to Cologne where I was meant to be visiting Jas. Back then we all thought it would last a few months. But here we are, almost in October, and I’m still feeling unable to get out to Germany. And the weather is so much better there this year than it was last year! Oh well. As we keep saying: it is what it is. The grapes will still be there in 2021.
So, if you’re wondering why Corto might have a slight bias towards riesling, Mosel and wines on the more natural side of life, this is my long-winded explanation. I can’t get to the harvest this year, but we can at least drink some of the wines at home and pretend.