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The Roman Wine Press of Piesport: Where the Romans trod upon Moselfruits
In these basins the Romans once trod upon Mosel finest fruits – quite literally: In Piesport, a small community on the Mosel, in 1985 the biggest Roman wine press north of the Alpes was discovered. It was discovered during the land clearance right at the feet of the famous steep slope site of the "Piesporter Goldtröpfchen."
The structure, measuring 44 metres in length and 20 metres wide, was built in the 4th century after Christ. Up to 130 workers once pressed wine grapes within the six basins of the wine press, producing up to 60 000 liters of wine.
The complex is proof of the ages old viticultural tradition on the Mosel. Originally, even the Celts cultivated wine along the river, but it was the Romans with their big wine estates who brought professional viticulture to the Mosel region. None other than Gaius Julius Caesar himself conquered the valley around the year 50 before Christ, only decades later, Augusta Treverorum, the city of Trier, rose to become the center of Roman culture on the Mosel and later, even the capital of the Western Roman Empire. The Mosel Valley is therefore accounted for being the oldest wine growing region in all of Germany.
In 1992, a second wine press was found in Piesport, this one measuring 15 metres in length and five metres in width and containing four basins which were built in the 2nd century. Other antique wine press buildings were unearthed in Erden, Brauneberg und Maring-Noviand and preserved for the generations to come. The building in Erden had seven rooms altogether and was rebuilt several times between the 3rd century after Christ and the 7th century. Today the wine press building can be booked for events such as wine tastings or even cooking classes teaching antique Roman cuisine.
The wine press buiding in Piesport can be visited as well: it still shows the old maish basins, the fumarium and the smokehouse as well as the old tree wine press. All the parts are still in functioning order as can be watched (not only) at the Roman Wine Press Feast each year in the beginning of October. Then, in Piesport, wine grapes are trod upon again – just as in Roman times.