The slopes of Thüngersheimer scarlet Berg district Würzburg are steep up to 45 degrees. This is so steep that Daniel Heßdörfer clings to safety on a vine frame when he descends from the gravel. Under the blazing sun, it shall inspect the hoses of the new irrigation system. He points to the black hose with narrow pink stripes. All 50 centimeters is a small hole in the tube. Exactly 1.6 liters of water come from each of these holes per hour – dropwise. Moisten the earth precisely at the roots of the vines. “It is not about luxury irrigation,” says Heßdörfer.
Lower Franconia is the driest region of Bavaria. Water is precious here – in the wine as well as in the rest of agriculture. During fall 1000 to 1200 millimeters of rain a year on average in Southern Bavaria, there are in Lower Franconia just 550. If no rain is collect, the water has to come from elsewhere.
water is stored in the winter and in the summer consumed
When developed by the State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG) new plant in Thüngersheim the water comes from a well. Unique in Germany, however, makes the pilot plant something else: it is the first system that stores the water in the water-rich winter and arid summer thus watering the vines. Daniel Heßdörfer is serving as head of viticulture and quality management in the LWG responsible for the plant. The opening came even Agriculture Minister Helmut Brunner (CSU). With one keystroke, has set the plant on Tuesday in operation.
The heart of the plant is 100 meters above the fountain. On a small plateau above the vineyards, where the sun still burns a little hotter, the technicians of the LWG have built a circular corrugated metal tank. 250 cubic meters of water holds the tank, which is enough for eight hectares of vines. Ensure that the water does not evaporate, a black plastic sheet stretched over the tank. Does it in summer “Water Flow”, wet the mountain flows down by gravity alone in lines and watering the vines.
expertise from the desert
To design and build the plant to the engineers of the LWG have help retrieved from a desert region. “The know-how is in Israel,” said Heßdörfer. For decades, specialists employed there with how one can save water. The idea to bring together legwork originated in 2015 during the Jubilee 50 years of German-Israeli relations. Minister Brunner traveled with Heßdörfer and other experts of the LWG to Israel, a collaboration with an Israeli company came about.
That Unterfranken now Israeli methods relies, is on climate change. The Riesling grapes as had never before fully ripe in francs, told Heßdörfer. Meanwhile they ripen every year from all over. And would get in the summer sometimes massive “drought stress”, as it is called in the jargon. Can a winery then do not absorb water as from the Main, because the level is too low, threatening crop failures and worst financial ruin.
Thanks to the dry summer 2015, where only slightly more than half the usual rainfall fell, was also advised politically much in motion, says Heßdörfer. The issue of water scarcity now stand high on the agenda.
From Bastian Benrath, dpa