WEINGUT JANSON BERNHARD is a Biodynamic winery in Harxheim in the Pfalz region of Germany

CONTACT Christine Bernhard, who has advanced degrees in both agriculture and environmental protection, and her sister Alice.

HISTORY In 1739 Abraham Janson, a Mennonite forced by religious persecution to leave Holland, settled in Harxheim, helped by the Count of Baden’s decision to encourage resettlement of the area after the religious wars. Janson was allowed to settle on the outskirts of the town, rather than in it. In 1893 the Janson family became one of the first wine producers in the area to domaine bottle. Around 1900  the Janson family built a manor house, now a national landmark with one of the largest private parks in the country, which contains exotic trees from around the world. In 1918 a member of the Bernhard family–farmers and grapegrowers–married into the Janson family. As early as the C13th the Bernards were free peasants and vassals of the Prince of Nassau, who had been elected King of all German principalities. On July 1st, 1298, the King visited the collegiate church of St Philip in Zell, only to die the next afternoon in a battle against Prince Albrecht of Austria who had opposed the election of Nassau as king. One of the Bernhard ancestors showed heroism on the battlefield, and was granted the title of Lord Mayor, hence the coat of arms on the bottle label.

VINEYARDS 2003 8 hectares (acres) 5 einzellagen in total.

CERTIFICATION 1993 Official organic conversion begins. 1996 First vintage with full organic certification. 2009 First vintage with full  Demeter Biodynamic certification. 2017 Still Demeter certified Biodynamic.

COSTS OF ORGANICS, BIODYNAMICS On Sunday evening 25th May 2003 at the winery Christine Bernhard told me ‘our farming costs for organics are about 20-30% higher than those of our neighbour who farms conventionally. Organic rules allow a maximum 3 kilogrammes of copper annually to counter downy mildew, one sixth of what our conventional vineyard neighbour can. So in most years we apply a series of dilute copper sprays, rather than a few strongly dosed ones. This takes more time, labour and cost making our lower priced wines [‘Landwein’] 20% more expensive. However, at the quality wine level prices between us and those of our conventional neighbour are more similar. Longterm the solution is to plant PIWIs.”

WINES

HARXHEIMER HERRGOTTSBLICK GRAUBURGUNDER SPÄTLESE TROCKEN 2001 Some mineral and terroir at the German Wine Tasting, Vinopolis Monday 7th April 2003.

ZELLER KREUZBERG GEWÜRZTRAMINER SPÄTLESE 2002 Subdued Gz character, well made, dry, crisp with decent texture at the German Wine Tasting, Vinopolis Monday 7th April 2003.

ZELLER KREUZBERG RIESLING KABINETT TROCKEN 2001 Some earth and oxidation, a little light at the German Wine Tasting, Vinopolis Monday 7th April 2003.

ZELLER KREUZBERG RIESLING EISWEIN 2002 Their first Eiswein. Clean, soft, crisp, OK for a first attempt at the German Wine Tasting, Vinopolis Monday 7th April 2003.

ZELLER SCHWARZER HERRGOTT ALTE ZELLERTALER Zeller Schwarzer Herrgott is the main vineyard site here. On limestone.

CONTACT Weingut Janson Bernhard, Hauptstrasse 5, D-67308 Zellertal-Harxheim, Germany / +49 (0)6355 1781 / www.jansonbernhard.de