Vineyard site surveys look back to a long tradition in Hesse, which begins in the middle of last century. In the 50s and 60s the survey mainly focused on primary site conditions in relation to viticulture such as the soil requirements of phyloxera resistant rootstocks and climatic conditions. The resulting large-scaled maps were summarized for regional planning purposes in the form of the “Vineyard Site Atlas of the Winegrowing Regions of Hesse”. The history of the survey is presented in the Introduction to this edition.
The current 2nd edition of the Vineyard Site Atlas contains a wider spectrum of subjects than the first edition, taking into account the wide variety of topics available today. The new edition deals with traditional viticultural key issues as well as environmental topics and issues concerning nature and groundwater protection. This broad spectrum of topics reflects the wider viewpoint required for vineyard-appropriate viticulture. The atlas presents the characteristic climate and soil conditions for vineyards and expresses these in form of vineyard potentials for example potential must weights. The current set of maps provide the winegrower with the basic information required to characterize his vineyards for marketing purposes. The interested wine-lover can use the Vineyard Atlas to learn more about the inherent natural potential of the vineyard locations.
In addition to an increase in contents, the data of the second edition is now available in electronic form. The integration of geo-data contained in the atlas in a geographic information system enables the dissemination of the maps in a variety of media including CD-ROM and internet and forms a cost-effective basis for further developments.
The thematic maps of the viticultural site atlas are the mainstay of the CD-ROM. The maps can be accessed via a web-based interface. The application can be started with a standard HTML-Browser. A brief set of instructions is available in the Help file. The CD-ROM also includes high resolution maps as Acrobat-PDF-files. These can be printed on any available printer using Acrobat-Reader available for free. Individual plots of the thematic maps of the atlas can also be ordered for each winegrowing region from the State Department for Environment and Geology of Hesse (Hessisches Landesamt für Umwelt und Geologie).
In addition to the set of maps, the CD-ROM also includes the accompanying atlas text as well as that of the out-of-print first edition.
The contents of the atlas are broadly divided into 4 thematic areas: winegrowing locations and protection areas, climate, soil and topography as well as risks and potential. Thus the following thematic maps are available: