On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, almost 60 people met at the Roland organic wine estate and Karin Lenz on the Iselisberg in Uesslingen. The PIWI CH association, founded in December 19, invited to the first general meeting.
In beautiful summer weather, those present set off on a hike through the vineyards of Uesslingen in the lower Thur Valley (TG). Various stops were made on the way. The enthusiastic organic and PIWI winemaker Roland Lenz (two-time organic winemaker in Switzerland) drew attention to the different vineyards and types of viticulture. In an organic farm, a lot of flowers and herbs, sometimes shrubs, grow between the rows to offer beneficial species a home. FIBL's Bea Steinemann reports on the latest attempts to optimize the seed mix between the rows of vines. The hikers also become aware of the differences between European vines and the newly cultivated PIWI varieties (PIWI stands for fungus-resistant and means “robust in cultivation”, ie little to no spraying against pests and diseases has to be carried out). Of particular interest were the references to missing rows of vines in favor of shrubs, the distance to the next trees or the additional insect hotels, all to promote biodiversity.
Back at the Lenz winery, the hikers were happy about the water break before the actual general meeting began. The PIWI CH association was founded last December as a regional section of the PIWI International umbrella organization. The association's goal is to promote PIWI grape varieties in breeding, cultivation, marketing and enjoyment. The association's activities such as participation in the Agrovina or a planned wine and dine in the well-known Hiltl restaurant in Zurich serve exclusively with PIWI wines with certain new taste experiences. The association also publishes the "PIWI WEIN ZEIT" brochure. The readers are connoisseurs and interested individuals, restaurateurs, traders, winegrowers, breeders and journalists. The first edition of March this year was one of the highlights in President Roland Lenz's activity report for the first half of the year. The meeting was characterized by many votes from the members who participate with commitment in the association.
After the official part, the attendees were able to taste and discuss over 40 different pure PIWI wines. These include various new varieties that only have breeding names, such as VB CAL 1-28 or VB CAL 32-7.
President Roland Lenz
Organic winery Roland and Karin Lenz, Iselisberg, Uesslingen
Mushroom-resistant grape varieties (piwis) are particularly suitable for sustainable viniculture from both an ecological and an economic point of view. Compared to European vines, crop protection treatments can be saved and environmental pollution reduced. The industry's interest in Piwi wines, especially in the organic sector, is increasing - even if the traditional wine sector is changing only slowly.
Lena Holzwarth, University of Agricultural. Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Zollikofen, and Andreas Häseli, Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Frick