A kind of Oxford of the world of wine

A kind of Oxford of the world of wine

This is not a UFO landing pad, but the CO2 sprinkler system at Hochschule Geisenheim University.
Image: dpa

The Geisenheim University in the Rheingau is an institution, a magnet and almost a myth. With her viticulture research, she also ensures that the history of the great plants will continue to exist.

Dhe future of mankind shows its true face between ancient vineyards. And it doesn’t look particularly good. “Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment”, or FACE for short, is the name of the test setup at Hochschule Geisenheim University, one of only a handful of such facilities worldwide that simulates our climate in the middle of the century under the open sky. At one-second intervals, nozzles arranged in a circle spray Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and some types of vegetables at precisely measured intervals with so much carbon dioxide that the concentration of the greenhouse gas in the air is twenty percent higher than it is today and almost twice as high as before the start of the industrial revolution . Under these conditions, the vegetables drastically lose their protein content, the grapes react with increased photosynthesis and stronger growth, which, especially in the case of the compact Riesling vine, means that the fruits squeeze each other, burst open and are thus vulnerable to fungi and other pests are – which is why Riesling vines, which have a looser growth, are now being systematically cultivated at the university.

It is research projects like this that have given the university in the heart of the Rheingau a similarly brilliant reputation in the world of wine as Oxford or Stanford enjoy in the academic cosmos. Geisenheim is not only one of the leading research institutes for all aspects of viticulture and the training ground for top German winegrowers, but much more: the 1800 students and 39 professors also deal with horticulture, beverage technology, landscape architecture, food safety, environmental management, bioeconomy and phytomedicine , open space development, fresh product logistics, the green city of the future – and yet Geisenheim is the epitome of a wine university more than anything else.


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