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But the Fendt won in the end because it just makes economic sense.

Carolin Hoffranzen, young winemaker - Fendt 200 V Vario

But the Fendt won in the end because it just makes economic sense.

Between tradition & innovation

Going downstairs one step at a time, the carbon dioxide levels increase. Once in the cellar, that smell of fermentation fills the air. Large stainless steel tanks line the walls – all shiny and high-tech. You only need to look around this vaulted room with its wooden barrels to see that the walls of this wine cellar are several hundred years old. From time to time a fermentation tube bubbles. This laboratory-style room is the heart of the winery for young winemaker, Carolin Hoffranzen.

As she then moves from tank to tank and talks about her wines, something poetic fills the air. Then she talks about slender and steely, about blissful and open wines, about structure and stylistics, about the taste of minerals and the required element of fun – and you know that passion and skill work side-by-side in this wine cellar. It's a successful combination that earned the 33-year-old the title of “Germany's Best Young Winemaker” in 2017. And all this in spite of not initially wanting to follow in the footsteps of her parents' winemaking profession.

A life without wine?

It wasn't exactly Carolin Hoffranzen's childhood dream to become a winemaker. But when it became clear that her sister would not take over the winery, it wasn't just the 400-year-old farm's survival at stake. It was also a big dilemma for the young woman in the long run, as in: Do you want a life with or without wine? Carolin Hoffranzen found the answer during an internship at another winery “One I had a taste of it, I knew that I waned to go into the wine industry,” she says, laughing. A degree in International Viticulture followed a year at a vineyard in Austria. But as her profession led her more and more down the commercial route, she realised that it was the craft itself that excited her: “The most beautiful thing about the winemaking profession is that you follow the product from start to finish; from the vine to the consumer's feedback”. So she went back to the family business in Mehring an der Mosel, where she has been running the Classischer Weingut Hoffranzen together with her parents and her husband for more than seven years now.

Taste that comes from the microclimate

Even though Carolin Hoffranzen prefers to spend her time in the wine cellar, she knows that a good wine is born in the vineyard, and this family's vineyards enjoy the best conditions. About 10 hectares belong to the winery, cultivating mostly the Riesling grape. Of these, about 4 hectares lie on the heat-trapping terraces along the Moselle. The plots running at a 60% incline must be worked by hand, much like they were back in the founding year of 1601.

The other areas are accessible by tractor and have an inclination of up to 35%. These can be managed completely by machine with Fendt tractors. Like many winegrowers along the Moselle, the Hoffranzen family benefits from the natural conditions of the Moselle valley. Their vines thrive on the region's nutritious slate soils, which later give the wines a mineral touch. “Regular consumers are excused for imagining this as a slightly salty taste,” she explains. The microclimate of the different terraces ensures that the grapes also vary in taste. “Our areas are scattered about and we process our wines plot by plot. The regular consumer can't even tell,” jokes the young winemaker. “But it's important to us that we can taste the exact origin and location in our wines. And only Nature herself influences that.”

Where Nature reaches its limits in the vineyard and using the right technique becomes paramount, the winery depends on its two Fendt tractors: a 20-something yearold Fendt 260 V and a new Fendt 210 V Vario. “We drive through the vineyards all year round, which often compacts the soil to extremes in the lanes. Especially at steeper points, these trenches are a real safety concern,” explains her husband, Martin Schu-Hoffranzen. “But the new Fendt has both the power to ramp up these slopes with an attached cultivator and loosen the ground, as well as the necessary level of driving safety.” After pruning have to be pulled through the rows to crush the vines, before carrying on with the plant protection and foliage cutting in the summer. For more than 20 years, her old Fendt 260 V – now with almost 9,000 hours on the clock – has been by her side. But it wasn't an emotional decision to choose a Fendt as the next vineyard tractor; “Of course we looked into the competitors,” says Carolin Hoffranzen. “But the Fendt won in the end because it just makes economic sense. Fendt is a decades-long investment. And if I can choose a machine that is Made in Germany, I would always prefer that over other products.”

Carolin Hoffranzen cares about her wines. That's why she's involved in every step of the way.

Working well together: left to right: Bernhard Brischwein (Fendt Plant Rep), Carolin Hoffranzen, Martin Schu-Hoffranzen, Rudolf Hayer (Managing Director of RWZ Agrartechnik Gruppe Eifel-Mosel)

When you meet Carolin Hoffranzen, you're in the presence of a young winemaker who always relies on quality, including when it comes to
the technology she uses in her vineyard and cellar, and believes that tradition and innovation are the best keys to success. The last two years above all are testament to this. “The weather is getting more extreme and we need to do more work in shorter time windows. As such, our technology must be more powerful and efficient without losing sight of traditional processes.

With the new Fendt we can get the job done quickly and safely. The wide front axle provides a good ground grip and manoeuvrability – which is especially important on the steep slopes – and the stepless gearbox increases safety and driving comfort. This makes machine-led farming easier, even in steeper vineyards,” explains the winemaker. “The wine market is a saturated market, and a place where personality becomes all the more important – so you should stay true to yourself,” she says. “For me, this means: continuing a legacy with a long history, handling it carefully and thoughtfully, while combining old traditions withtechnical innovations and new ways of thinking.”