Biodiversity in viticulture: new measures are being researched and implemented





Berlin/Bonn/Geisenheim22 April 2020 

Germany's vineyards should become more colourful: The Federal Biological Diversity Programme is launching a new project in which wine growers in all 13 wine-growing regions are being advised on how they can bring more biodiversity into their vineyards. The association for sustainable viticulture, Fair and Green e.V., and the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences have joined forces for this purpose, supported by the German Winegrowers' Association. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) is funding the project with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) with 4.4 million euros over six years. 

"With this project, German viticulture is taking a big step forward in terms of promoting biodiversity and facing up to its responsibility for the preservation of biodiversity", emphasises Klaus Schneider, President of the German Winegrowers' Association. This is because biological diversity is currently low in many wine-growing regions and in no way corresponds to their potential. However, many winegrowers would be prepared to implement measures to promote biodiversity - but the practical knowledge to do so is lacking, and there is a lack of advisory services and tailor-made support programmes. This is where the new project "AMBITO - Development and Application of a Modular Biodiversity Toolkit for Winegrowing in Germany" comes in: As a first step, Fair and Green is advising 30 model wine estates nationwide on how they can promote biodiversity in their work. At the same time, a digital handbook with proposed measures will be developed, which will help to reach a much larger number of wine estates. The Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences is advising and researching accompanying innovative measures as to how more biodiversity can be promoted in and around the vineyard and which socio-economic framework conditions must be created in order to strengthen biodiversity in viticulture in the long term. "Besides climate change, the constant loss of species is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Research and practice must work hand in hand to slow down this trend and reverse it in the long term. We expect to gain many new insights from this large-scale and long-term project," says Prof. Dr. Hans Reiner Schultz, President of the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences.

The project is aimed at winegrowing enterprises in all wine-growing regions of Germany and includes both self-marketing wine estates and winegrowing enterprises in cooperatives and wineries. Through lighthouse farms in each region as well as through regional biodiversity forums, the project will invite other interested wine estates to participate. "Right from the start, we wanted to develop a system that does not make purely black-and-white decisions, but supports winegrowers in finding solutions. We are very pleased that with this project we now have an instrument that enables us to work with numerous winegrowing enterprises in Germany beyond our certification system. We will hold biodiversity forums in all wine-growing regions and invite all interested companies to participate", says Dr. Keith Ulrich, chairman and initiator of Fair and Green e.V.

The implementation of the National Strategy on Biological Diversity (NBS) has been supported by the Federal Biodiversity Programme since 2011. Funding is provided for projects that are of representative importance for the whole country within the framework of the NBS or that implement this strategy in a particularly exemplary manner. The measures supported contribute to halting the decline of biological diversity in Germany and to reversing the positive trend in the medium to long term. They serve the protection, sustainable use and development of biological diversity and go beyond the legally required standards. Acceptance-building measures of information and communication help to strengthen social awareness of biological diversity.

Further Information:



Statement of the Leopoldina

Overcoming the crisis sustainably

Extracts from the third ad hoc statement of the National Academy of  Leopoldina of 13 April 2020

"In view of the deep traces that the coronavirus crisis will leave behind, but above all because of the at least equally threatening climate and biodiversity crisis, there can be no simple restoration of the previous status. Last but not least, lessons for the future must be learned from the experience with the coronavirus pandemic and its causes. The general increase in population, urbanisation and global mobility, the destruction and decrease in the resilience of ecosystems through land-use changes and climate change are major contributors to the outbreak of epidemics and pandemics.

Government measures that restart economic activity after the pandemic has subsided should therefore focus on sustainability criteria. A sustainable orientation of the investments and programmes now being carried out would give those involved the freedom to implement the necessary changes in a manner appropriate to the local and temporal circumstances, to create the urgently needed openness to technology, for example in the energy turnaround, to close regional and global material cycles, etc. If this opportunity is missed, the size of the current economic programmes would make a more drastic change of course at a later date extremely difficult. It is therefore difficult to overestimate the responsibility of those involved in seizing this historic opportunity. What is needed is a transparent discussion of costs that also takes into account the massive external costs of climate, environmental and, not least, health damage.

In concrete terms, the first task will be to initiate economic activities in such a way that the recession, which is inevitable this year, is not too severe and the economy returns to a growth path. This should, however, be more strongly determined by principles of sustainability than before, not least because this offers enormous potential for economic development. This requires decisive action on the part of economic policymakers. In all probability, further economic policy measures will be necessary beyond the measures now taken and despite the automatic stabilisers in the system (lower tax revenues, labour market policy measures). On the revenue side, these include tax policy instruments such as the introduction of loss carry-backs and the facilitation of loss carry-forwards for companies (abolition of minimum taxation), a temporary transition to declining-balance depreciation and the bringing forward of partial relief from the solidarity surcharge. The complete abolition of the solidarity surcharge should be considered. On the expenditure side, government investment and the reduction of subsidies that are harmful to the climate and the environment are obvious. Priority should be given to structural policy objectives, for example with regard to public services of general interest and the protection of common goods, especially in the areas of health, climate and ecosystem protection."

Setting the course for sustainability

"All political measures that do not serve the immediate rescue of companies must be guided by the principle of sustainability at both national and international level. Therefore, the following measures, based on broad scientific evidence and a broad social consensus, must continue to be implemented with high priority. The development of a climate-friendly economy and a consistent turnaround in mobility and agriculture provide essential impulses for innovation and growth. These include the immediate introduction of a price for fossil CO2, the adoption and implementation of the national hydrogen strategy as soon as possible, and the reorganisation of the electricity market. The goal must remain a strong European "Green Deal"."

Crisis and hope

Looking ahead

Crisis and hope - excerpts from the essay by Bernhard von Mutius of the website changeX

"Will it be different this time? The big question. Almost as moving as the question of how long it will all last: the threat of the virus, the state of emergency, the crisis. We don't know that, no one can know that. Nevertheless, even in this situation of fundamental uncertainty, there are traces, signs that point the way back to the future. They are still weak and shimmering, irritating like a light signal on the horizon. But there are. A search for traces."

"Sustainability: Now is the time to rethink the issue of sustainability: Was what we have done so far really sustainable? Or was it simply an attempt to leverage efficiency potential? Which is not wrong, just rather one-sided. And if efficiency: What will happen to our value chains in the future? What can we organize more regionally? Not only in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. How can we leverage not only efficiency potential but also innovation potential across industries? Shouldn't we take a closer look at this? A closer look can mean, for example, that small and medium-sized enterprises should now (if they have not already done so) set up effective climate protection solutions and carry out a sustainability assessment. And to see how others are doing it, who are pioneers in this field. Viessmann, for example, innovation leader in heating, already produces CO2-neutral today; or the Fair'n Green network, which is establishing a seal of sustainability in viticulture. Innovation and sustainability will belong together. Now we can set new standards that will revolutionise entire industries in the future. Looking also means: becoming more mindful overall. This is part of the culture of creative cooperation: creatively taking responsibility for our actions and our environment. Greta would ask: If you can act so quickly now to save your life today - why can't you do the same to save the lives of future generations tomorrow?"

You can find the complete essay on the website of

About the author:

Dr. Bernhard von Mutius (born 1949)

Bernhard von Mutius is Senior Advisor and member of the teaching team of the School of Design Thinking, co-founder of the Denkbank, founding member of the "New Club of Paris", advisory board of the Club of Rome schools, advisory board of the journal Internationale Politik, contributor to the network "Denkwerk Zukunft - Stiftung kulturelle Erneuerung". He has been working for many years as a strategic consultant for business and politics and as a facilitator of change processes.


Dr. Bernhard von Mutius
Küsselstraße 32
14473 Potsdam

Phone: +49 151 22366006

photo: Copyright by Richard Pichler, as well as Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein / Bernhard von Mutius

Winemaker Sommerach Fair’n Green certified

The Sommerach winegrowers are committed to sustainability and take responsibility for people, nature and climate. With the 2019 vintage, the cooperative was certified according to the Fair'n Green guidelines for the first time.

Bonn/Sommerach 07/04/2020

After one year of preparation, the winegrowing families of the Sommerach cooperative have successfully passed the certification according to the standards of the Fair and Green e.V. association. The wines of the 2019 vintage may carry the seal for sustainable management that is recognized in the wine world. From farm management to value-added chains, resource conservation and ecology to social aspects, the Sommerach winegrowers are committed to further continuous development with the aim of keeping the footprint of their actions on the environment as small as possible and assuming responsibility for people and nature. Already today, the cooperative has been able to demonstrate strong performance in several areas of sustainability within the scope of certification.

„We don't think in years, but in generations, that's one of our rules of dissent", Frank Dietrich, chairman of the Sommerach local cooperative, reports. "As the oldest Franconian winegrowers' cooperative, we not only work uncompromisingly on outstanding wine quality, but also protect and preserve the resources available to us. We are indebted to our winegrowing families, who cultivate their vineyards with heart and soul and passion, for the most part as a sideline. Fair'n Green accompanies us holistically and continuously to sustainably maintain the small structures in our winegrowing villages and to ensure the economic activity of our families in the future.

Fair'n Green was developed by leading wineries in cooperation with science and applies internationally established principles and scientific findings for life cycle assessment and the determination of the  CO2 footprint. Currently, around 70 renowned national and international wine producers are allowed to carry the Fair'n Green seal.

"We are pleased to welcome the Sommerach Winegrowers' Cooperative, one of the most traditional cooperatives in Franconia and Germany, to Fair'n Green. The cooperation with the cooperative in recent months shows a great commitment of the winegrowing families in terms of environmentally friendly management, a regionally rooted social commitment and an understanding of business that is geared towards the future", explains Keith Ulrich from the Association for Sustainable Winegrowing.

Unity is strength - since 1901. 35 Sommerach families came together at the beginning of the last century due to economic hardship and established their SOMMERACH WINEMAKERS cooperative. A series of poor vintages, hitherto unknown diseases of the vines and a complete lack of marketing opportunities presented the families in need at the time with the choice of either giving up viticulture or summoning all their courage and pioneering spirit to help themselves to a better livelihood through a type of community hitherto unknown in Franconia. Since then a common vision has determined the path of the winegrowing families. Today the cooperative consists of 90 families. Without compromise, they produce grapes for great wines in their small plots and farm sizes, leaving nothing to chance. Their craftsmanship, the tirelessness of each individual and the high standards of the cooperative make the Sommerach winegrowers one of the best wine producers in the region.


Contact Fair and Green e.V.
Dr. Keith Ulrich
Tel 0228 886 844 80


Contact Winzer Sommerach e.G.
Frank Dietrich
Tel 09381-8061 19

Winemaker Sommerach

„As the oldest Franconian winegrowers' cooperative, we not only work uncompromisingly to achieve outstanding wine quality, but also protect and preserve the resources available to us. We are indebted to our winegrowing families, who cultivate their vineyards with heart and soul and passion, for the most part as a sideline. FAIR'N GREEN accompanies us holistically and continuously to sustainably maintain the small structures in our winegrowing villages and to ensure the economic activity of our families in the future.“

- Frank Dietrich, Board of the WINEMAKERS SOMMERACH



At the beginning of the 20th century, 35 families in the Franconian village of Sommerach came together out of economic hardship and established the WINEMAKERS SOMMERACH cooperative. They thus founded the first and thus oldest winegrowers' cooperative in Franconia.

Today, the cooperative is made up of 90 families, whose common ambition is to produce wines with soul, passion and character, which have already received many awards. In their small plots, the families produce great wines. Thanks to the selective harvest, which is indispensable, nothing is left to chance. The work of each individual makes the cooperative WINEMAKERS SOMMERACH one of the best wine producers in the region. The winegrowing families take responsibility for the environment and the preservation of resources in their economic activities. For their work the families receive a fair wage through the cooperative.


Winzerkeller Sommerach eG
Zum Katzenkopf 1
97334 Sommerach
Fon: +49 9381 - 8061 - 0
Fax: +49 9381 - 45 51


Wine Estate Schmid Wetli

"We are a family business that has always relied on deeply rooted values. This also includes a love of nature and its preservation. We are not only committed to sustainability in the vineyard, because we want our entire system to be sustainable. FAIR'N GREEN helps us to become better and to focus on the right things. We hope that the next generations will be able to continue this centuries-old wine culture."

- Wine Estate Schmid Wetli


Wine Estate Schmid Wetli

The wine estate Schmid Wetli is situated in Berneck, Switzerland.  Kaspar Wetli senior manages the wine estate near Lake Constance. He is supported by his wife Susanne and his four sons Kaspar junior, Matthias, Florian and Adrian. With the senior's experience, the innovative ideas of his sons, the intuition of the whole family and the commitment of the employees, the wine estate continues to live up to the traditions of the Berneck wine-growing community.

Soaked in the sun and protected by a quiet valley angle, the vineyards of the wine estate Schmid Wetli nestle on the southern slopes of the municipalities of Berneck and Au. Here the family business cultivates almost 18 hectares of vineyards with passion, heart and soul.


Weingut Schmid Wetli
Tramstrasse 23
CH - 9442 Berneck
Fon: +41 71 / 747 90 90

Photo: provided by wine estate Schmid Wetli

Annual general meeting 2019

Annual general meeting 2019

Bonn, 13 December 2019

The annual general meeting of FAIR and GREEN e.V. took place in Landau on December 09 and 10, 2019. In addition to numerous representatives of the 65 member companies of the association, many external players from the wine industry were invited to inform themselves about the activities of the association and to attend the lectures of the scientists of the universities Geisenheim and Neustadt.

Prof. Dr. Ilona Leyer and Prof. Dr. Eckhard Jedicke (Geisenheim University)

Winegrowing President Klaus Schneider (German Winegrowing Association)

Florian Reinert (FAIR and GREEN e.V.)

Tobias Zingerle (Winery Kaltern), Philip Apel (Wine Estate Hubertus M. Apel) and Philipp Kuhn (Wine Estate Philipp Kuhn)

Prize for the best young winegrower 2019

The prize for the best young winemaker of the year was awarded for the first time at the general meeting. The prize was awarded to the brothers Philip, Johannes and Matthias Apel from the Wine Estate Hubertus M. Apel in Nittel on the Moselle. As a prize, the Wine Estate received a place at the FAIR'N GREEN joint booth at ProWein 2020 from the Winery Kaltern in South Tyrol. Tobias Zingerle, Managing Director of the Winery Kaltern, was full of praise for the young winegrowers: "I am always delighted to see colleagues who are so enthusiastic about a topic at a young age, as in this case sustainability. Already in the first year of certification, it became clear that the brothers of the Hubertus M. Apel winery are developing in all areas of the business towards the most sustainable way of doing business possible".

Prof. Dr. Eckhard Jedicke (Geisenheim University)

Dr. Matthias Petgen (DLR-Rheinpfalz)

Internationalisation of FAIR and GREEN e.V.

At the same general meeting the previous board members Theresa Breuer, Cornelius Dönnhoff, Reinhard Löwenstein, Philipp Kuhn and Dr. Keith Ulrich were confirmed in office. In order to do justice to the increasing internationalisation of the system, Tobias Zingerle from the Winery Kaltern in South Tyrol and Monica Hasler from the Wine Estate Rütihof in Switzerland were added to the Board of Directors.
In addition, for the first time country representatives have been appointed for the other countries in which the FAIR'N GREEN sustainability seal is already in use. These are for France Mélanie Pfister (Domaine Pfister), for Austria Erich Berger (Wine Estate Berger) and for Israel Eran Pick (Tzora Vineyards).

Prof. Dr. Claudia Kammann (Geisenheim University)

Andrea Wirsching (Wine Estate Hans Wirsching)

Markus Pfaffmann (Wine Estate Karl Pfaffmann)

Markus Pfaffmann (Wine Estate Karl Pfaffmann)

Peter Albrecht (Wine Estate Albrecht-Kiessling) and Andrea Moser (Winery Kaltern)

Ute Hahn (Wine Estate Hahn), Philipp Kuhn (Wine Estate Philipp Kuhn) and Dr. Keith Ulrich (FAIR and GREEN e.V.)

photos: Fair and Green e.V. / Simon Rühl

Fair’n Green at the ProWein Media Summit

Fair'n Green at the ProWein Media Summit

Bonn, 27 November 2019

This year's ProWein Media Summit took place on 21 November 2019. It was held under the motto "Our climate - what are the effects of the changes on the wine industry and how is the industry dealing with them?”

Dr. Keith Ulrich, Chairman of the Board of Fair'n Green, Prof. Dr. Simone Loose and winemaker Jochen Schmitt also gave lectures as part of the programme, which was developed in cooperation with the University of Geisenheim.

Dr. Keith Ulrich

Prof. Dr. Simone Loose gave the introductory lecture on the subject.

In his presentation, Dr. Keith Ulrich addressed the role of climate change in viticulture and, in this context, the role of sustainability and climate neutrality.

Winegrower Jochen Schmitt from the wine estate Egon Schmitt gave a lecture to international journalists on his company's commitment to holistic sustainability and the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Prof. Dr. Simone Loose

The wine estate Egon Schmitt has been Fair'n Green certified since 2014 and climate neutral since 2016.


Foto: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann


Wine Estate Hechtmann

"Through fellow winemakers, we came across FAIR'N GREEN. Here we felt that this concept convinced us. All areas of resource conservation and environmental protection, from viticulture and cellar management to marketing, are taken into account. Exactly this corresponds to our opinion: Environmental protection in agriculture is so much more than the pure renunciation of means in plant protection! We would like to make our possible contribution to the protection and strengthening of our environment. We are looking forward to new ideas and the exchange among colleagues."

- Wine Estate Hechtmann


Wine Estate Hechtmann

The wine estate Hechtmann is situated in the middle of Ilbesheim in the Palatinate. Tina and Jens Hechtmann manage the wine estate. As a technician for winemaking and oenology they contribute knowledge and experience to the complex wine making process. Jens Hechtmann’s focus is the winemaking, and the work outside between the vineyards of the wine estate. Tina Hechtmann still enjoys the manual work in the vineyard and enjoys the labour with the guest house. The senior Kiefer from Ranschbach and Hechtmann support Tina and Jens Hechtmann with their experience from many decades of viticulture.

The estate manages 25 hectares of vineyards. Here you will not find wines with classic predicate names. The Hechtmann family resigned the naming of predicates years ago and markets all wines as quality wines. Special features are the wines from the layers Ranschbacher Seligmacher and Ilbesheimer Kalmit and the Cuvees " Geschwisterliebe" and "Nonno Alfredo".


Weingut Hechtmann
Alte Schulgasse 4 - 5
76831 Ilbesheim
Fon: 0 6341 / 32201
Fax: 0 6341 / 33774

Photo: provided by wine estate Hechtmann

Wine Estate Baron Di Pauli

"We spare no effort nor make any compromise in our striving to create outstanding wines of character. Vineyard yields are reduced to a minimum so that the vines can concentrate their entire strength in just a few grapes that are then picked by hand. Our highly motivated team shares not just our passion for wine, but also our desire for perfection."

Wine Estate Baron di Pauli

The wine estate Baron Di Pauli consists of two wine farms: the “Arzenhof” in Caldaro and the “Höfl unterm Stein” in Söll near Tramin.

The 10.5-hectare Arzenhof is located above the Kalterer Lake in a perfect location for red wine growing. The vineyards of the estate are located 250 to 400 m above sea level on a southeastern slope. The wines “Kalkofen”, “Carano” and “Arzio” are cultivated in these special vineyards.

The estate "Höfl unterm Stein" with its 4.5 hectares of vineyards is located in Söll above Tramin. On the south-east slope, which is between 480 and 550 m high, the white grape varieties find ideal conditions on strong, loamy limestone gravel soils. The wines "Enosi", "Exilissi" and "Exilissi Sell" come from these locations.

In addition to its wine production, the estate also maintains apartments that invite you to linger on the idyllic Lake Caldaro.



The winery Baron Di Pauli is one of the most traditional wine-growing businesses in South Tyrol. The winery has existed for over 300 years and supplied among other things already the court of the Austrian Empire as well as the Tsar's court in St. Petersburg.

The family from Carano in Val Di Fiemme settled in Caldaro in the 18th century. The name Di Pauli quickly became associated with the town of Kaltern am See. For a period of 25 years, even the entire Lake Kaltern was owned by the Di Pauli family, until it was bought by the municipality of Kaltern in 1901.

From Baron Pius Di Pauli (97), the administration of the winery went to Dr. Ing. Carl Philipp Baron Hohenbühel a few years ago. He was also responsible for the merger with Cantina Kellerei Kaltern in 1998. There, the winery produces wines for the premium segment of the cooperative.

Weingut Baron di Pauli

Via delle Cantine 12

I-39052 Caldaro BZ

Tel. +39 0471 966067

Link to the winery: here

Location of the winery