Winemakers in the Mosel Valley are up in arms over plans for a new bridge and highway which threatens some world-class Riesling vineyards, The Drinks Business reports.
The planned road, named the B50, will emerge from a tunnel through the side of the Urziger Wurzgarten wine mountain, cross the Mosel River via a 1.7-kilometer-long, 160-meter-high concrete bridge and continue directly along the top of the vineyards of Zeltingen-Rachtig, Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel, with an additional slip road passing close by the village of Erden.
The road building will endanger an exceptionally long stretch of rare Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) and Erste Lage (First Growth) Riesling vineyards.
“This giant, grotesque bridge would irreversibly deface the beautiful viticultural landscape in the middle Mosel Valley between Zeltingen, Urzig and Erden,” said Katharina Manfred Prum from Joh. Jos. Prum Estate in Wehlen.
“It is shocking to see politicians deciding to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money on the disfigurement of more than 2,000 years of cultural heritage, instead of protecting it and supporting its acceptance as genuine world cultural heritage by UNESCO,” she added.
Winemakers in the region are worried about maintaining the quality of their vines during the lengthy building work, in particular the impact of building dust and debris on the grapes. Once the bridge is completed, there would be shade cast over some vineyards.
Of greater concern is the long-term impact of the road on water distribution to the vines. Existing forest above the vineyards will be removed and the new road embankment will effectively seal off a large swath of the natural hilltop.
The forest currently forms the water reservoir needed to sustain the vines during the frequent spells of hot weather.