360-icon download left-arrow left-doublearrow nav-dot pdf-icon rss-icon search-icon spot-icon subnavi-icon close-icon info-icon

For us, the key factor is machine reliability, in other words, not prone to breaking down.

Andrea Wirsching, fruit- and wine-grower, Germany - Fendt 313, 210 Vario

For us, the key factor is machine reliability, in other words, not prone to breaking down.

"For us, healthy grapes determine the quality of the wine."

Andrea Wirsching is “Vintner of the Year 2018”. With her “Hans Wirsching” wine, she is carrying on the success of her forebears, who have been growing wine in Iphofen in Franconia since 1630. But as the native Franconian stresses, success and the quality of Wirsching wines are a real team effort.

When you meet Andrea Wirsching, you immediately feel like you have known her for ever. The 54-year old historian has a real zest for life. Straightaway, the conversation turns to putting the world to rights – but eventually we get onto the subject of wine. Wine has always been part of Andrea Wirsching’s life. She was brought up on her parents’ vineyard, and helped out there as a young girl, both during the harvest and in selling the wine. Her father, Dr Heinrich Wirsching, a cautious and circumspect vineyard owner and visionary, turned the vineyard into one of the leading producers of Silvaner in Franconia. Andrea Wirsching has managed the vineyard, which covers an area of 90 hectares, for the past year. “For generations, our family has overseen a wonderful cultural asset: Franconian wine,” says Managing Director Andrea Wirsching. “We don’t compromise when it comes to quantity, and reduce it if necessary. Alongside hand picking, we also select by taking photos. For us, healthy grapes determine the quality of the wine. If you have a healthy raw product, nothing much should wrong in the cellar,” says the vintner, with a smile.

If you follow that advice, you won’t go far wrong. At the start of the year, she was named “Vintner of the Year 2018” in a blind testing by the food and drink magazine “selection”. The vineyard itself received the award of “Silvaner Vineyard of the Year 2018”. “Our vineyard has grown to the extent that I can appoint specialists in every position. I really can draw on virtually limitless expertise,” says Andrea Wirsching of her fantastic team. “Everyone on our team has the space to develop his own skills. We have a team in which everyone has a say, and brings their experience to the table, and I find that a very productive approach.” For the past four years, Dr Klaus-Peter Heigl (53) has worked as an oenologist at the Wirsching vineyard. The 53-year-old is responsible for wine production, vine management, and the aging process. With his many years of experience in wine growing, he knows exactly is needed to manage the Keuper soil.

“This soil from the Triassic era is rich in minerals due to the deposition of shell limestone sediments. The mild climate and long growing season allow the vines to absorb the minerals within the Gipskeuper soil. This gives our wines their high-quality and delicate character.” The Wirsching vineyard is as environmentally-friendly as possible, and conventional as necessary. For some years therefore, they have managed to work without insecticides and herbicides. This also means that more machine tillage is required under rows, and Fendt tractors are used here.

Although Simon Ender is only 33 years old, he has already been working for the vineyard for the last 11 years. As a field manager, he oversees the tending and management of the slopes and coordinates the employees. When it comes to deciding which machines should be used, he discusses this with the operators. He has been a keen advocate for the 200 series for many years. “For us, the key factor is machine reliability, in other words, not prone to breaking down. Machines should also be easy and comfortable to operate,” says Simon Ender. “Generally speaking, ride comfort is important to our operators, because, well, they want to be able to get back in the machine and work the next day. The Vario transmission provides us with safety. We don’t have to worry about what gear we need to select when driving down a slope, so we can concentrate solely on the implement and our work.

Eight Fendt tractors are used on the slopes of the Wirsching vineyard. A Fendt 313 Vario for transport work, and seven Fendt 210 Varios with different implements: Line trimmer for trimming shoots in summer, leaf vacuum for removing leaves, trunk cleaner and various tillage implements such as rotary harrow, cutter, mulching equipment and seeders. In winter, soil loosening implements such as spading machines and subsoilers are used, as are trailers which bring in hand-picked grapes. White wines are aged in stainless steel tanks and in a large wood barrel, while red wines age in an oak barrel. A small percentage of white and red wines are also barrique aged. A special Wirsching wine from the large wood barrel is the Silvaner “Sister Act”, which has been created by the two sisters, Lena and Andrea Wirsching.

“The wine industry is very much male-dominated. There are some up and coming women who have studied hard, but there are still very few women in positions of power,” says Andrea Wirsching, describing the current situation. “In order to be heard, you need persistence, and sometimes you really need to bang on the table. I’m not actually like that, but I’m learning,” laughs the likeable vintner.