It’s a splendid autumn day with glorious colors of gold, russet, and evergreen. The air is crisp, sweet and clear. It seems I can see forever. My knee is doing well after ACL surgery and my goal is the Lämpersberg peak at 2200 meters in the Kitzbühel Alps.

Golden coloured huckleberry bushes on the ascent to the Lämmersberg summit.

About halfway up the mountain just before the summit begins to rise steeply, I hear an unusually loud jetplane. I look up to the sky and see nothing but intense blue and nary a cloud or a streak. I continue on my path and the noise becomes even louder. Again, I look up at the sky. This time I see one of the little puddle jumpers that fly from Innsbruck to Venice. I study the landscape. I am on a convex flank of the mountain; could it be an echo that amplifies the noise?

I approach a signpost and read, “Goldmühle, unterirdisches Wasserfall” and suddenly everything is clear. I am standing above a roaring underground waterfall!


The Golden Mill underground waterfall beneath the Lämpersberg

Have you ever smelled and tasted fresh spring water in the Tyrol? It is delicious! We are blessed with an abundance of fresh, clean water in this region. It is one of the world’s most precious resources and we often take it for granted.

For the next minutes on my hike, I am thinking about fresh water and its sources. And invariably, I think of our use of water in the wine industry. In Wine Buisness  Monthly Paul Franson wrote that during supervising the preparation of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook prepared by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers he found that wineries were using anywhere from 1.5 to 20 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of wine produced. While at Yalumba in Australia, I was able to discover that through various methods from choice of rootstock and deficiency irrigation in the vineyard to waste water recycling and CIP, Yalumba was able to reduce its water use to 0,75 litres for every 1 litre of wine produced. This is admirably low for the wine industry.

Finally, I find myself looking forward to this year’s European Wine Blogger’s Conference in Izmir, Turkey in November 2012. We have a fine, experienced group of participants and some of the top international leaders in the wine branch as speakers. Several interesting topics, including a discussion panel on natural wine, will be addressed under the conference’s theme “Sources”. The theme “Sources” is fitting and exciting, because we will be so close to the Caucasus and the source of wine.

View of the Grossvenediger from Lämpersberg

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