Literally “steep location” – here the mean angle of the sun to the ground is 90°. These vineyards open to the south west like a parabolic reflector, collecting every sunbeam throughout the year and protecting the vines from the cold northern and eastern winds in winter.
Work performed on these vineyards has to be done by hand and the harvest is often carried out with sledges suspended from mechanical winches on tractors at the top of the slope.
Starting off in the early morning, team work and communal meals in the vineyard to keep the spirits high are essential ingredients. This bone-breaking work is exhausting and almost at the limit of human capacity, but such is the determination of the winemaking community.
The vineyards are along some large tributaries of the Rhine. The river protects the grapes, its waters moderating temperatures during extreme cold snaps at night. During the day the reflection of the sun’s rays generates further warmth. Typically, the seasons along the river will be two weeks ahead of the surrounding areas.