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Vineyard in the Rheinhessen hill country
Vineyard in the foreground and a partially covered mountain in the background, in the Cote de Nuits , Burgundy , France
New vineyard near Unkel (aerial photo 2015)

A vineyard , vineyard or vineyard , Wingert, Wengert is an area used for viticulture on a steep , sloping or flat surface . Several adjacent individual properties result in a common individual or large location with comparable site conditions; these locations are in turn assigned to a wine-growing area . Locations and wine-growing areas represent geographical origins and only have limited significance for the quality of the wine. As a rule, vineyards form more or less closed areas that have climatic advantages, especially in the northern growing areas, and have been used for viticulture for a long time. Individual vineyards in the area are referred to as scattered vineyards. They are often in the climatic limit area or are the last witnesses of what used to be very extensive viticulture. In many places, particularly steep and difficult-to-manage vineyards fall victim to social wasteland and scrub up, one speaks of tooth gap formation. Vineyards are mostly inclined to the south or west in order to make optimal use of the sunlight.

Structure and purpose of use

Depending on the steepness of the location, traditional vineyards are terraced with dry stone walls to reduce the slope . Many historical dry stone walls were removed as a result of the vineyard consolidation in order to facilitate mechanical cultivation and to enable access. An abandoned (no longer cultivated) vineyard is also called Driesche in the winemaker's language .

A modern, economically used vineyard is usually only used to produce grapes , table grapes or raisins . Mixed vines used for horticultural purposes have increasingly disappeared with the mechanization and specialization of wine-growing businesses. From the Middle Ages to around 1900 it was common to also grow fruit, vegetables and herbs on the same area for self-sufficiency or for marketing, with the vine always being the main fruit. For further secondary use, the cut vine wood was used for heating and removed shoot tips as green fodder for animals. Today this organic “waste” serves as valuable humus supplier . Today, single-variety cultivation is predominant; in the past it was customary to plant several varieties in a mixed manner, which is also known as a mixed set . Traditional single pile systems, as can still be found today in part on the Moselle and other steep slopes , gave way to modern trellis training on wire frames. The vines are laid out in a machine-friendly manner, the distance between the rows of vines is even and is around 2 m in direct-pull positions so that narrow-track tractors and grape harvesters can be used optimally. The distances between the poles are 1 to 1.20 meters. The rows of vines themselves usually run in a vertical line to the slope. In the case of transverse lines, each of which has been canceled, one speaks of transverse terracing, which enables direct cultivation, especially in very steep areas. The number and arrangement of the wires to which the vine shoots are attached, or which are used to fix woody fruit canes, depends on the upbringing and climbing behavior of the individual grape varieties. In the vertical wire trellis, half-arch or flat-arch training is common. Wide-area education systems such as Lenz-Moser systems were particularly common in the 1950s, but have largely disappeared again due to qualitative disadvantages and a lack of suitability for harvesting. The grape zone is no longer as close to the ground as it used to be in order to ensure more efficient cultivation and better drying of the grapes. In the northern growing areas, high canopy walls enable a high level of assimilation, which ultimately serves to improve sugar production in the grape. The mechanical pruning of leaves and a better supply of nutrients to the vines through fertilization made this quality optimization possible.

Individual rows of vines as fencing, vines on house walls or pergolas are considered non-vineyard-like plantings .

Approval requirement

The creation of new vineyards is subject to approval in all EU countries. As a rule, this is regulated in Germany by state regulations. If the cultivated wine is for the own consumption is an area up to an Ar without authorization (Hobby cultivation). There is currently a ban on growing new vineyards in the EU. Planting rights can only be transferred from abandoned areas to areas that are to be replanted in individual cases . It is expected that the installation stop for new systems will be lifted in 2015 [obsolete] . Table grape plants are excluded from this and can be set up without a permit.

In Austria, an area is legally designated as a vineyard if at least one vine stands on an area of ​​6 square meters.

Ecology and nature conservation

The goals of nature conservation in viticulture include safeguarding the efficiency of the natural balance (soil, water balance and climate), maintaining the usability of natural assets, safeguarding the flora and fauna and the diversity, uniqueness and beauty of nature and landscape.

Vineyards are man-made cultural landscapes and the most heavily influenced agro-ecosystems. They are mostly cultivated very intensively. and seen as monocultures , but on the other hand they are also important retreats for plants and animals. They form their own ecosystem, because not only the rows of vines belong to the vineyard, but also other cultural landscape elements such as dry stone walls , retaining walls, stone bars , creeks and hedges, which also have a decisive influence on the typical landscape of landscapes dominated by viticulture.

The conditions changed due to the land consolidation in the 1960s and 1970s, the associated creation of larger parcels and the increased use of machines for cultivating the vineyards in recent decades. Nevertheless, it is still possible to create ecological niches here .

In the vineyard, there are small-scale habitats with different micro-climatic conditions, in which both warmth and shade-loving animals and plants find a suitable location. Often rare animal and plant species with a Mediterranean and continental distribution focus can be found there.

Wall lizard on stonecrop in a vineyard near Ediger in Rhineland-Palatinate .

The sun-exposed location is typical of the vineyard. Most species can be found in the steep slopes, which are used more extensively , where hardly any machines can be used and where the ground is dry and stony. This biodiversity also includes rare birds such as bee-eater , goldfinch or red-backed shrimp , wild bee species such as the adder's head mason bee, reptiles such as the wall lizard , sand lizard or smooth snake or plants such as the vineyard grape hyacinth (see also: Hackflora ). Dry stone walls, which can heat up to 70 degrees Celsius in summer, offer a very special habitat due to their many cracks and crevices and the fine soil there, especially for warmth-loving open land species, especially for rare vine-specific wild herbs such as the highly endangered onion plants the Garlic Society . The wild tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), which has become very rare and is on the red list , deserves a special mention here . Other characteristic plant communities are also the wallzimbelkrautflur and the stonecrop-houseleek-corridor.

They provide more habitat for heat-loving reptiles such as lizards, green lizards, slow worms , forest lizards , sand lizards, coronella , vipers or Aspisvipern . If wet biotopes are created, one can find amphibians such as green toad , common toad or agile frog .

Insects also find suitable living conditions. In some cases, special relationships have even developed between plants and animals in the vineyards: the easter lucee almost exclusively colonizes old vineyards, as its caterpillars feed on the common easter luze, which is mainly found there.

In vineyards, which are increasingly being planted with greenery in conventional viticulture, for example to prevent erosion and nutrient leaching, spiders and insects can be found, which in turn attract birds and reptiles. Hedges improve the microclimate, are wind protection and at the same time food, breeding and refuge for numerous animal species.

The preservation of vineyard walls, solitary trees, groups of bushes and unpaved farm roads is important for structural diversity, which in turn also favors a high level of biodiversity. It is also important to be cautious about using pesticides : In Germany, viticulture only accounts for 0.8% of the agricultural area, but at around 30 kg per hectare and year it consumes 13.2% of all pesticides. A major problem here is the development of resistance. Many species develop adaptation mechanisms and, thanks to their increased chances of survival, pass these traits on to offspring. Studies have shown that the use of pesticides and fungicides halves the biodiversity of agricultural land .

In conventional viticulture, too, there are many ways to manage animals and plants in a way that is compatible with animals and plants or to contain pests in a natural way without loss of efficiency. For example, the use of insecticides on vineyards in Baden-Wuerttemberg could be reduced to almost zero by the confusion method to contain the grape moth . A high level of biodiversity in the vineyard is therefore also economically important.


The highest vineyard north of the main Alpine ridge is in Visperterminen in the canton of Valais in Switzerland (higher-lying in South Tyrol and Spain ). In the driest region of Switzerland, vines grow up to an altitude of 1,150 m. ü. M.

Alaska , Finland , Latvia , Norway and Sweden claim the northernmost vineyard in the world .

The northernmost traditional wine-growing areas are now the two eastern German wine-growing areas, Saxony and Saale-Unstrut . Wine has also been successfully grown on small areas in Hamburg on the Stintfang and in Schleswig-Holstein on Gut Warleberg on the Kiel Canal . There are reactivated old vineyards in Hitzacker ( Wendland ) and in Havelland around Werder .

The traditional viticulture in Lower Silesia near Zielona Góra (formerly Grünberg) (Poland) was at times almost completely extinct; Since the turn of the millennium, however, three new wineries have been founded, two near Mielęcinie (formerly Pfaffendorf), now part of the municipality of Żarów , and one near Świdnica (Schweidnitz).

Wine has also been grown in the south of England since the 1960s.

From the 18th century to 1960 there was only one vineyard near Huy in Belgium .

In Holland, Denmark and Sweden there is a small amount of commercial viticulture. However, this does not take place in large and closed vineyard areas, but is very fragmented.

The southernmost wine-growing country is the island of Tasmania and the South Island of New Zealand ( viticulture in New Zealand ). In Chile too, vineyards are currently being planted very far south.

The steepest vineyard is the Bremmer Calmont on the Moselle and the Engelsfelsen in the Ortenau wine-growing region on the slopes of the northern Black Forest . The deepest vineyard is below sea level on the Dead Sea .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. In Franconia and Württemberg also Wengert (comes from the term Weingarten ), in the Rhineland Wangert in Baden Raabberg or Raabstick , in Alsace Wiibaari or Raabari (Rebberg).
  2. ^ Success for winemakers in the Uhudler dispute on ORF Steiermark from February 7, 2016, accessed on February 7, 2016.
  3. a b Wolfgang Ehmke: How can viticulture maintain and improve natural biodiversity? Rheingau-Taunus Community Foundation, February 23, 2013, accessed on November 30, 2013 .
  4. Species-rich greenery in viticulture. Blooming Landscape Network, November 1, 2010, accessed November 30, 2013 .
  5. a b c d e Sophie Ryser: Vineyards: New species discovered , accessed on November 30, 2013
  6. a b Weinberg habitat , accessed on November 30, 2013
  7. a b Lively hustle and bustle in the vineyards: wine-growing areas become natural adventure landscapes. Academy for Nature and Environmental Protection Baden-Württemberg, May 9, 2008, accessed on November 30, 2013 .
  8. a b c Julia Steil: The Vineyard - A Unique Habitat , accessed on November 30, 2013
  9. a b Stefan Bosch: Weinberg habitat: More than just vines ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 30, 2013
  10. a b dry stone walls , accessed on November 30, 2013
  11. Klaus-Bernhard Kühnapfel: Vineyards as habitats for reptiles , accessed on November 30, 2013
  12. ^ European green toad - Bufo viridis Laurenti ( Memento of December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 30, 2013
  13. Karl-Georg Bernhardt, Klaus Handke, Marcus Koch, Daniel Laubhann, Hans-Martin Berg, Michael Duda, Helmut Höttinger, Rudolf Klepsch, Manfred Pintar, Heimo Schedl: Possible application of a target species concept in a Lower Austrian wine-growing region - care and maintenance of vineyard slopes. (No longer available online.) Nature conservation and landscape planning 37, (7), 2005, archived from the original on December 3, 2013 ; Retrieved November 30, 2013 .
  14. A. Müller: Landscape elements and their ecological significance. (No longer available online.) Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, 2013, archived from the original on July 11, 2012 ; Retrieved November 30, 2013 .
  15. ^ Heinrich Weitz: Life in the vineyard - from the point of view of nature conservation. March 1, 2013, accessed November 30, 2013 .
  16. Hans-Peter Schmidt: Tod aus dem Weinberg - a spoonful of pesticides , accessed on November 30, 2013
  17. Claudio Niggli, Samuel Kipfer: How pesticides and fertilizers disrupt the biological balance , accessed on November 30, 2013
  18. Zeit online: Ecology and Agriculture: Pesticides halve biodiversity , accessed on November 30, 2013
  19. Hutter C.-P, et al. 1995: living vineyard. Wine-growing areas as natural adventure landscapes. - Foundation Landesbank Baden-Württemberg Nature and Environment (Ed.), Stuttgart, Nature Conservation in Small 28, 2008
  20. northernmost vineyard on Wein-Plus
  21. Preservation and development of the rural area as a cultural landscape through land management in accordance with the Land Consolidation Act - partial viticulture. Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Food, Viticulture and Forestry of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Mainz, 2012, accessed on November 30, 2013 .

Web links

Commons : Vineyards  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Weinberg  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Weingarten  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations