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We are productive because we have a reliable machine.

Weibler winery, Siebeneich - Farmer 306 LSA, 210 V Vario, 211 V Vario, 516 Vario, 722 Vario

We are productive because we have a reliable machine.

When wine, ox, event and energy come together

In July 2017, the three brothers Konrad, Christof and Lorenz Weibler took over their parents' farm. They all live together with their families on their farm in Siebeneich, an idyllic winegrowing village near Heilbronn. The business stands on four farming cornerstones: wine, oxen, events and energy. Wine is the most important element – it is also the most labourintensive.

If you go to Siebeneich, you will see the vineyard and orchard hills on one side of the village, and farmland and forests on the other. The mid-summer, sleepy tranquillity is interrupted only by a passing tractor or the bells of the recently renovated old town hall. But take a closer look at the Weibler Hof farm and there's plenty going on. Lorenz Weibler welcomes us in front of the resident wine shop and leads us through wine cellars, vineyards, stables and the events barn. "We have divided our day-today business into three areas with clear responsibilities. Christof is responsible for the outdoors, i.e. the farming, biogas plant and vineyards. Konrad is responsible for the cellar, i.e. winemaking from the grape – everything that happens in the winery. And we both work together to market and distribute the wine," says the youngest brother. He also manages the events and the staff. "Each brother owns a third of the whole company and therefore the profit. Each of us three brothers have our own preferences and we complement each other quite well in that respect," he says, explaining the company structure. He also emphasises that, "Where the responsibilities have been clearly defined, it works wonderfully."

In Vario veritas

An old Fendt Farmer 306 LSA pulls the feed mixer past the grazing bulls, who watch us curiously. The Farmer and another 'classic' are still at work on the farm, where seven Fendt tractors are used in all, including a Fendt 722 Vario and a Fendt 516 Vario for farming and transportation. "Maize transport and slurrying keeps the pair on the road a lot, which they are precisely configured to do. Cultivating the maize and wheat calls for traditional farmwork," says Lorenz, describing the work. Three narrow-gauge tractors are used for viticulture; two Fendt 211 V Vario models and one Fendt 210 V Vario. "All three tractors are configured in the same way, which means we can convert the equipment to suit the work. This gives us great flexibility, especially at peak times – in the summer, when all attachments are in demand."

Winery

  • Approx. 35 hectares of wine
  • Own wine production
  • Direct sales to customers, delivery to suppliers and restaurateurs

Events

  • Approx. 100 m² events barn onsite, with 7 events per year (Feb. to Nov.) for several thousand guests
  • Made in-house: spit-roast ox and wine
  • Various corporate events (Christmas/staff parties)
  • On the farm: 50 to 100 groups of visitors per year, often including wine tasting and food

Ox and traditional farming

  • Livestock (600 bulls for fattening)
  • Arable farming with fodder production (silo corn and winter cereals)
  • 2.5 ha of mixed silphie
  • With the mobile ox spit, catering for events within a 150-km radius
  • Catering service provider for several hundreds of people (inaugurations, celebrations, etc.)

Energy

  • Biogas plant with 380 kW supplies 35 households as well as the entire farm (wine cellar, events barn, etc.) over the local heating network
  • Wood chips plant helps to cover the local heating network during peak periods, while at the same time recycling the wood that accumulates in the plant (vines, forest)
  • Photovoltaic systems (approx. 1300 kW) on almost every roof for self-generated power and supply to the grid

We are productive because we have a reliable machine

Three narrow-gauge tractors are used for viticulture; two Fendt 211 V Vario models and one Fendt 210 V Vario. "All three tractors are configured in the same way, which means we can convert the equipment to suit the work. This gives us great flexibility, especially at peak times – in the summer, when all attachments are in demand." The wine makes an appearance everywhere at Weiblers. It is served at the big farm festivals, tasted and sold in the onsite wine shop, poured in the local restaurants and distributed nationwide. If you want to nurture quality and add high quality to the bottle, then you have to take intensive care of the vines – the Weibler brothers are confident of this fact. Whether pruning, soil cultivation, plant protection, foliage work in summer or harvesting – a lot of working hours are spent in the vineyard. "Fendt has by far the best tractor for the vineyard. We are productive because we have a reliable machine that doesn't let us down. Another advantage is the engine power. If you use a towed grape harvester in steep vineyards, the Fendt 211 V Vario manages it, whereas the engines on other competition models don't pack enough of a punch," Lorenz says light-heartedly.

Living and working sustainably

The small Fendt tractors have been on the Weibler farm since the 1980s. Rolf Weibler Senior had already decided to go with the tractors from Marktoberdorf back then and is still found sitting on the tractor today. "The 200 V Vario is a dream workplace. I often sit on it 12 hours a day. When I get off in the evening, I feel good and my back is fine. This is important to me, I have to be able to sit on it happily and work happily." Then he adds with a laugh, "If the boss drives himself, he'll be on a Fendt. There's no alternative." Grape varieties are planted for 30-40 years. With a lot of effort, the vines are kept healthy for all those decades. "For us, sustainability means that we can also provide functioning soil and a functioning farm for our children. Our environmental outlook is that we farm in such a way that our soils remain healthy and that we can achieve good yields in the long term," says Lorenz, explaining the three brothers' strategy. "We try to think in cycles on the farm, so the manure from our calves either goes into the biogas plant to generate sustainable electricity from it, or it comes into the vineyard as erosion protection and fertiliser. So, we also try to interlink the various operating mainstays."

"If the boss drives himself, he will be on a Fendt."

Try local Württemberg wines: Trollinger, Lemberger, Riesling, Spätburgunder & Grauburgunder as well as the new grape varieties Acolon, Cabernet Cubin and Sauvignon Gryn.

Celebrations on the farm

The various mainstays have also secured the income of all the family members in this extraordinary year, marked by the pandemic. As farm festivals were put on hold, and restaurants and hospitality venues had to keep closing their doors, wine shipments, traditional farming, oxen and energy were able to absorb a lot of the trade. And like all busy farmers with ideas, the Weiblers used their time to extend their events barn – after all, when everything gets back to normal, people will be more eager than ever to celebrate big occasions with good wine and delicious food. There's a farm butcher's shop under construction, as the plan is to sell meat directly to the customer in the future.


Wine sales and farm festivals:

www.weibler.de