The soil is the origin.

The scientific mural in our cellar by Katharina Huth (nawii.de) shows the “terra incognita” beneath our vineyards. It shows how many organisms the living soil consists of and how complex their interconnectedness is.

The image is approx. 4x5m in size and shows 3 Pinot Noir plants from our vineyard with their substrate.

Pinot noir, like any other crop, shares its’ living environment with countless other organisms. Most of them are in the ground!

The first 30 centimetres of soil is (roughly) where the grape vine develops comparatively fine interception roots. Here most of the representatives of the herbal layer also have the majority of their roots and most of the bigger soil dwellers live here. Glechoma hederacea, the ‘Creeping Charlie’, represents this layer in the first picture-in-the-picture.

Further down the vine you can find tap roots that are larger in diameter and can reach depths of over 30 m. Here they escape the bottom of the picture at 2,05 m after having passed through a layer of large rocks. These were brought to light during excavation for this wine cellar.

The degree of tap roots plunging downwards depends not only on the availability of water but is also genetically predisposed and so depends on the species (or breeds) used for the rootstock.

The second picture-in-the-picture shows the interaction between vine and its’ arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiont (Glomeromycota) that penetrates the cortical root cells with its’ hyphae, forming arbuscules (*1). They are the main site of reciprocal nutrient exchange between the two partners.

Eyeless Niphargus tridentinus is the protagonist in the third picture-in-the-picture. He was first described in a cave in Trentino (*2). Niphargus species inhabit caves and groundwater but are also sometimes (often a lot smaller) found in soil pores filled with water.

Katharina, my dearest friend from the Rheingau (we met while studying biology at the Technical University of Munich), spent a whole week - day and night - in the wine cellar to create this beautiful naturalistic work of art. This was in February 2024.

You can find out more about her art on her website (www.nawii.de) or on her Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/nawii.de/).

*1 Biasi, Rita, Brunori, Elena, Vanino, Silvia, Bernardini, Alessandra, Catalani, Alessia, Farina, Roberta, Bruno, Antonio, Chilosi, Gabriele; 2023; Soil–Plant Interaction Mediated by Indigenous AMF in Grafted and Own-Rooted Grapevines under Field Conditions; Agriculture, (13); 1051

*2 Stoch, Fabio; 1998; Revision of the Niphargus stygius - group in Venetia and Trentino (Northeastern Italy), with description of three new species (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Niphargidae); 

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