Anton Bauer relies exclusively on traditional manual harvesting at his winery - and he has good reasons for doing this.
"Ultimately, it's all about the quality - and we continually optimize all the factors that contribute to it. From my point of view, I can only achieve the optimum grape quality that I have in mind with hand-picking. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, we can pre-sort the grapes right in the vineyard, which is important because the ripening is never completely uniform, so we can already weed out grapes that are not yet fully ripe. In difficult years we can make several harvesting passes and only pick the grapes that are already perfect.
Manual picking is therefore the gentlest possible method
In addition, the grapes aren’t damaged during the harvest, therefore no premature oxidation can occur on the way to the cellar - manual picking is therefore the gentlest possible method of harvesting the grapes. In addition, I can harvest more cleanly: With machine harvesting, I have to put up with a lot more impurities - from leaves, to the dust that comes with them. In the end, this is expressed in the wine through more bitter compounds, a difference that can be tasted.
Loose soil is important for good vine growth.
Finally, driving the harvesting machines, which are very heavy, through the vineyards results in enormous soil compaction – and loose soil is important for good vine growth. Of course, harvesting by hand involves much higher costs, and it’s a challenge to get a good team together every year - but we accept that, because the positive effects of picking by hand clearly outweigh the costs for me."