For the love of grapes – and the environment
A wine tasting room probably ranks among the most beautiful places where fans of good wine and tasty specialties can come together and get familiar with tempting bouquets. In June 2021, the tasting room of the Sauer family winery opened in the southern Palatinate metropolis of Landau, which is also considered a city for gourmets because of its traditional wine culture. Those interested in culture also get their kicks in the sunny Rhineland-Palatinate region: The Old Department Store, the Art Nouveau Festival Hall, the Villa Streccius Municipal Gallery and the seven-kilometer-long „Route Vauban“ fortress trail are just a few examples. And it practically goes without saying that this corner of the world is also ideal for various outdoor activities, such as hiking.
Sustainable Viticulture from the start
Back to the tasting room, the latest project near and dear to the Sauer family. From the very beginning – since 1987 – the Southern Palatinate family has been committed to consistently ecological and sustainable viticulture. Winery owner Heiner Sauer has been involved with the topics of environmental protection and technology for nearly his entire lifetime: „That was the driving force for me, so to speak”, says the vintner, who shares his passion for producing high-quality, multifaceted organic wines of strong character, with his wife Moni, his son Valentin, as well as his employees, trainees and part-time staff. On 33 hectares, the team nurtures and cultivates mainly Burgundy and Riesling, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Sankt Laurent and some rarer vines. In order for the terroir to unfold aromatically in the fine wines and for a depth of quality to develop, the experts keep biodiversity high, yields low, and the harvest selective.
Ecological icing on the cake: Clay-earth surface heating
The way the vines are grown is not, however, the only reflection of the Sauer winery’s awareness of ecology and sustainability: The architecture and furnishings of the new tasting room are equally environmentally conscious and – thanks to the use of wood, earthen clay and glass – embody the company’s philosophy: transparent, resource-conserving, sustainable. For air conditioning, the clients opted for what they themselves call the „crowning achievement of ecological construction”: a water-bearing panel heating system, invisibly integrated into the ceiling made of clay earth. Depending on requirements, it generates either gentle radiant heat or draught-free cooling, analogous to the temperature of the supplied water. „The latter with almost zero energy input”, Heiner Sauer emphasizes. The system from the renowned manufacturer WEM functions like a natural air conditioning system.
Heading south for adventure
In addition to founding the Palatinate winery on the Southern Wine Route in 1987 and the tasting room opening in 2021, the adventurous family fulfilled another lifelong dream in between: In the mountains of the southeastern Spanish wine region of Utiel-Requiena, they have been running the Bodegas Palmera winery since 1998. From its ancient vines, rooted in bare soil among equally aged almond and olive trees, full-bodied organic red wines emerge. The family gradually built a brand-new wine press house, a bottle warehouse and an office with the aim of being able to handle grape processing, vinification and bottling directly on-site – as they do in Germany.Read more »
Walls made of rammed earth: for climate, appearance and acoustics
WEM panel heating is a highlight in itself: Embedded in earthen clay panels, it always provides the right temperature, without creating air currents, and without excessive humidity. After all, clay earth absorbs water from the air in a room and releases it again evenly. In Sauer Winery’s wine press hall, the craftsmen from the specialist company GLÜCK Lehmbau built a 3.5-meter-high wall of CLAYTEC rammed earth as a room-climate regulating wall for the wooden wine barrels. In the tasting room, seminar room and office, a three-meter high rammed earth wall serves to enhance the appearance of the space – a total of 128 tons of rammed earth were processed for this purpose. For the finish of the other walls, the builders chose YOSIMA clay designer plaster for a classic-modern ambience. For sound insulation, CLAYTEC clay topcoat plaster coarse BRIGHT was applied to the clay drywall panels above the WEM heating and cooling ceiling in the tasting room. The specialists used their own signature design, the „Black Forest Style“, applying three layers roughly textured for a natural, appealing look.