Now in its eighth generation of ownership and management under Konrad Andamp; Alice Fitz, the Fitz-Ritter family estate dates back to 1785 and was a founding member of the Verband Deutscher Pradikats (VDP). The VDP is comprised of 200 prestigious estates dedicated to producing only "natural" wines of the highest quality. To this day, the environmentally friendly/protective viticulture practices of the VDP are upheld by all of the members. Today, the interest in sustainable viticulture and organic wine growing only underline that Fitz-Ritter has been on the right path, practicing these methods of wine growing for the past 100 years.
Viticulture at Fitz-Ritter
At Fitz-Ritter estate, there is no use of herbicides, insecticides or industrial nitrogen fertilizer, only organic fertilizers are used. Seeds, stems and skins of our own grapes as well as horse and chicken manure are worked into the soil. There is use of other green fertilizers, such as the planting and mulching of a wide assortment of grasses and clovers between vineyard rows. In winter, every row is planted with these soil enriching plants and, in summer, every other row is mulched, thus introducing nutrients into the soil. There is no use of heavy machinery that compresses the soil in the vineyards. Instead, the vineyards are worked primarily by hand, using extensive canopy management (hand cutting of leaves to leave the grapes exposed to the sun, able to dry more quickly etc.). They maintain rigid yield control through strict pruning of the vines, thus ensuring highest quality, fuller-bodied wines with greater density. The grape yield per hectare at Fitz-Ritter never exceeds 6,500 liters per hectare (695 gallons per acre). The Great Growth wines never exceed 3500 liters per hectare (374 gallons per acre). Fitz-Ritter is a member of the "KUW" (Krontolliert Umweltschonender Weinbau) or "Controlled Environmentally Friendly Viticulture." Every 3-4 years, a detailed soil analysis is taken to maintain and control optimal health standards for the vineyards. Our philosophy is to work our vineyards as gently as possible in order to give them sustainable growth.