Very early on, Winzenberg attracted wine lovers as well as the Sélestat-born humanist Martin Ergersheim. In 1530 and 1531, he amassed wine annuities from Dambach-la-Ville and Blienschwiller. Among them at Saint-Matthieu in 1531 with two aumes of noble wine from two parcels in the Winzenberg.
The name Winzenberg derives from the Latin word vinētum translated into German as Weingarten: quite simply, the place where vines are planted. Vinetum was regularly shortened to win(t)z in German. So Winzenberg must date back to the Gallo-Roman period. The nuns who already appeared very early on in this village history from the abbeys of Sainte-Croix de Niedermünster, at the foot of the Mont Sainte-Odile or from Andlau, perpetuate this tradition.
The Winzenberg is a place, or perhaps THE place planted with vines, the best place to produce wine in Blienschwillerons and the surrounding area... The monks knew their terroirs and perfected the art of wine-making throughout the centuries – just like they transmitted their know-how to Blienschwiller wine-makers.
Either way, whether you take the Gallo-Roman theory or the medieval one, you have a beautifully simple, toponymical explanation for the Grand Cru designation. Winzenberg produces not only great wines but also a wide variety of flora, including the Star-of-Bethlehem and the St. Bernard's lily, to name just two examples. Enough to give some weight to this citation from a Dambach-la-Ville wine-maker:
"Looking towards Winzenberg, I cannot imagine there was ever anything else but vines there."
From Lieux-dits à Blienschwiller, Nothalten and Zell : Elements of micro-toponymy
By Jean-Christophe Meyer
Winzenberg, poem by Jean-Christophe Meyer, Blienschwiller:
At first glance the granite is cold. A radiant quartz glaze, black and white touches of mica, to which pinkish glimmers of feldspar are enthusiastically blended.
When touched it’s the same. Almost makes you shiver. The stone is rough. When touched, it’s the same. Rugged, resembling crystals hastily assembled by an unskilled blacksmith.
But it’s in this stone that the Winzenberg Grand Cru draws all its finesse and elegance. Prince-like, between the small village of Blienschwiller, prince-like throughout all the successive seasons and centuries.
The granite is cold. But helped by the slope, the rock almost surfaces. Yes, often even the parent rock emerges, and facing the south it soaks up all the sun, precious ally which generously unleashes its burning sunrays over the glimmering Winzenberg hillsides.
From this hillside, the Grand Cru.
Issued from the lineage of the mother rock and father sun,
the vineyard, the daughter with knotted vine stocks and arms filled of fruit…
From this perfect union, intensified by the wise patience of caring wine-growers,
from the budding to the silver-like trunk which wakes up for the ballet from the dead leaves of autumn...
Issued from all these mysteries accumulated on the Winzenberg hill,
From this very ancient alchemy hidden at the back of Blienschwiller cellars.
To unveil all its finesse, all its elegance,
Many years of sleeping.
To honour the wines,
And compensate the wait.
Beloved vineyards and land
The mineral and crystalline complexity of granite is expressed even more finely in the wines where the soil was respected. For several years now, most producers have been working with a deep sense of environmental respect for their terroir:
- no residual weedkillers,
- no anti-botrytis products,
- no conventional insecticides.