Piri is Christine Pieroth (no relation to the behemoth in the same village) and the name given to her beautiful range of natural wines made from family vineyards in Rummelsheim in the Nahe region of Germany.
This part of the Nahe lies just 2km south of the Rhine river as it turns north at the western end of the Rheingau region. You can see the Rheingau vineyards from Piri’s vineyards. Rummelsheim is typical of the Nahe in general insofar as it possesses multiple soil types within very short spaces which lends complexity and interest as different grapes give different results from those different soil types.
Piri’s family have farmed here for hundreds of years. The oldest know bottles produced by the family date from 1789. Until the 1960’s they farmed a mix of crops, like potatoes and wheat, and animals such as cows and pigs. And then, going with the times, they focused on their 15ha of vines.
Piri seems to have inherited her ancestor’s spirit because she’s a keen gardener of vegetables and herbs and acute observer of local plant life – witness the labels which display plants she has collected and pressed and digitised. She loves to grow as much of her own food as possible and her wine philosophy is driven as much by her love of the environment and caring for the nature in her backyard as to make the finest wine she can.
Piri grew up with wine and learned by doing, enjoying first the vines and work in the vines, then later cellar work. Nonetheless she explored the world, wanting to experience other worlds away from wine, so she moved to Canada and there to her surprise found beautiful wine regions that drew her back in.
She did stages at Geisenheim and at Keller in the Rheinhessen where she would also taste a huge amount of wine from all over.
Her first vintage was 2018, her first commercial vintage with a range of signature wines was 2019.
Piri writes clearly of her work in the vines:
“ we are still far below the permitted amounts of copper and sulfur in the vineyards allowed in organic farming and I think that is because many “little” steps come together to form a bigger picture. For spraying we work a lot with herbal teas/extracts collected here in the fields to naturally strengthen the plants – ivy, nettle, horsetail, tansy, etc… Additionally we started working with whey (Molke) which we get from friends who started a little cheesery with milk from their own cows very close by, and we’re working on a compost-tea-brewer to be able to work more probiotic in the future.
“The major part, literally the groundwork for all that we do, is the way to approach the land, especially soil and all the microbes living in there; the connection and communication with the land. I understand our vineyards as a Wiese (meadow) full of grasses and herbs that are habitat to not only our vines but also a variety of wildlife and local flora. They provide shelter, food and nesting areas for animals and I can’t say it often enough, even in a small area surrounding the village different locations develop different plants if we just give the opportunity to do so. This is not only the responsibility of farmers but everyone’s responsibility in my opinion. Now most of it has turned to seed and we started mowing.”