Sites and climate
In a side valley of the Mosel, the Kautenbachtal, the Ungsberg and Hühnerberg vineyards can be found. Situated in a hollow and protected from strong winds, their proximity to the adjacent stream (Kautenbach) and the surrounding forests creates a unique climate. This natural environment and remoteness gives my vineyards a very special allure. Characterised by cool temperatures at night and at times Mediterranean temperatures during the day, the grey-blue weathered slate soil with numerous mineral inclusions, the special animal and plant diversity in this place, ancient stands of vines and a man-made and almost unchanged cultural landscape, the wines from these vineyards can achieve a unique radiance and profundity.
Jakob Tennstedt spent a fair amount of time travelling and searching before finding the perfect conditions for his wine at the Mosel, more precisely in a cool side valley of the Middle Mosel. As can be seen in old photographs and historic maps, the valley was once fully planted with vines. Nowadays, numerous fragments of drystone wall and wooden posts in the middle of forest still bear witness to this. Today the Hühnerberg and Ungsberg vineyards are in the midst of undisturbed nature. There is little traffic, here the valley is hardly developed. Coupled with its features of weathered slate soil, the unspoilt ancient vineyards and the climate, it is precisely this being frozen in time and untouched that attracted Jakob to the Kautenbachtal.
To preserve vineyards of this standard and beauty and to bring them back to life requires especial effort and exertion. I believe the required work in these vineyards is possible only by hand, and that this is also necessary to produce the highest quality wines. In order to achieve and maintain high diversity both in the vineyard and in the wine, an organic method of working is necessary. Curiosity for my own and new ideas in connection with the agricultural knowledge of Rudolf Steiner are for me the basis of the work in the vineyard.
Tennstedt's vineyards in the Ungsberg and Hühnerberg are comprised of old ungrafted vines which have been unaffected by the ravages of time. Soil cultivation is carried out by hand, as is the reconstruction of collapsed drystone terraces. For the enrichment of nutrients in the soil he scatters his own compost. Additionally he maintains and strengthens soils and vines with tea made from stinging nettle, horsetail, valerian, oak bark, dandelion and other wild herbs and plants. In doing this he does not follow any rigid instructions or regime – he combines inspiration from Rudolf Steiner and knowledge from years of apprenticeship at other wineries with his own observation, assessment and empathy.