Tractors taking a well-earned break during the grape harvest in Zell an der Mosel. Tractors are some of the few items of machinery used during the harvest in the region, as the steepness of the vineyards make mechanisation very difficult and as such most things are done by hand as they have been since the Romans first introduced grapes to the region around 2,000 years ago.
The grape harvest falls within a very short window in the year, and getting it wrong could cause the wine to be inferior or even be a total failure. The experience and intuition of the winemaker is the key to deciding when to harvest, and his knowledge of the grapes, the weather, the soil and everything to do with successful wine making has been passed down through generations. In fact, wine making in the Mosel region is probably one of the few very crafts which has not changed significantly since ancient times.