August 12, 2020 by Alyssa Taylor
Since taking over the family winery at the age of 18, Bernard Bohn has crafted an individually unique style of wines on the only outcrop of schist terroir in Alsace. The Bohn family members have been winegrowers for well over three centuries in Reichsfeld, a small village at the far end of the valley, where until recently, the local Alsatian dialect was still more common than French. Today, Bernard and his son Arthur farm just over 9 hectares and go beyond organic agriculture to incorporate uncommon techniques, such as completely abandoning vineyard plowing and allowing cover crops to coexist to create balance in the vines. As a passionate and atypical winegrower, Bernard immortalizes with his son, Arthur, the Bohn family’s viticultural tradition. The Bohn family has lived in Reichsfeld for over three centuries. This father and son team tend their vines on the surrounding hills (330- 400 metres) on which grapes benefit from a prolonged and slow maturing process.
The unique shale and greso-volcanic terroir is meticulously looked after. Yield is kept low and grapes are harvested by hand. Natural diversity and wildlife conservation are fundamental values for the Bohn wineyard. For many years Bernard and Arthur have chosen, as independent winegrowers, to follow organic, ecological methods for their vineyards.
This logic is taking them towards official certification for organic wines. This three year process which began in 2017 will produce the first official organic harvest in 2020. They recommend minimalistic wine production without any oenological inputs, and using sulfite free maceration methods. For a majority of their wines, vinification ends with prolonged aging in old barrels from the local Alsace area or casks in order to achieve the necessary balance and persistence of great gastronomic wines: mineral, aired, persistent, fresh and easily digested. 40km south of Strasbourg and away from traffic of the main wine route, Reichsfeld, the idyllic and preserved village which offers itself to those who want to get off the traditional journey. “So take your time to encounter the unpredictable surprise and be tempted by tasting wine in my cellar, then sharing our passions about wine together.” – Bernard Bohn
Since 12th century, the count of Andlau already planted the vines in Reichsfeld. Later on, in 14th century, the monastic vineyard has been developed around Baumgarten Cistercian abbey, extending from Schieferberg to Muenchberg. According to the book of ”Phantheum Hygiasticum”, written by Doctor Claudius Deodatus (1628) in Basel, Plus the “New Tisch Book” by Joan Sig Elsholzius, wines from Reichsfeld had been listed among the best wines of Alsace.
For more than two centuries, the BOHN family kept inheriting their knowledge about wine from father handover to son. After Bernard took over for his parents, René and Hélène, he is seeking to continue the impression and spirit of BOHN wines.”I love: Sharing a glass of good wine, Being in communion with nature, Planting vines, Cherishing them, Harvesting the grapes, Transforming them into divine beverage to reach the initial pleasure, Sharing a glass of wine or more, create the new world.
In the morning I wake up…Planting vines, Cherishing them… And thus repeats the toil of winemaker while evolving towards perfection. And then, put a few of my dreams into bottles that will awake your senses and open your mind, so you can share the happiness in your turn. It is important that our lives have the great dreams and make them come true without hesitation. A happy man is the one who realizes his dreams. So my friend, fill up my glass…” – Bernard Bohn
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