Text: Cordula Schulze

 

Well, have you already smelled the opulent, unmistakeable scent of roses? As soon as the name of the proverbial queen of flowers is mentioned, you can't help but think of how it feels to bring your nose up to a flower and take in its aroma. For thousands of years, roses have not just been famed for their intense scent, but also for their beauty. Red roses in particular symbolise love and appreciation. 

Rose oil adds a pleasant scent to cosmetics and roses also play a role in medicine, which is why they are specially cultivated in monastery gardens. Rose water is used in oriental cuisine as well as baking. The fruit, rosehip, is used to make jams and teas. Rose gardens-or rosariums- around the world captivate visitors. It is no exaggeration to state that roses give people a rich reward and a sense of pleasure.

Yet, the elegant flower traditionally has another task to perform. Winemakers use it as an indicator plant for pests or disease. This primarily concerns fungal infestations due to mildew, which can be seen on rose bushes at a much earlier stage than on vines. This gives winemakers a chance to react. Simply put, the roses act as an ecological early warning system at the end of the rows of grapevines. Today, plant protection products and weather warnings provide effective protection against mildew. Nevertheless, many winemakers still continue the tradition, because, firstly, the flowers are pleasing on the eyes of locals and visitors and, secondly, the roses provide shelter to a variety of beneficial insects. This is good for biodiversity in the vineyard. And that is why colourful rose bushes can be found in many regions of Palatinate, such as the oldest vineyard in Rhodt unter Rietburg. 

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In Bad Bergzabnern, many winemakers continue the tradition of growing roses in the vineyard. Each year, the "Rosenwochen" (Rose Weeks) are celebrated during early summer. Garden lovers, wine lovers and fans of art, culture and a flavourful lifestyle come together at the events to get their fill, such as at the rose market on the medieval mile of celebration and while wandering through the vineyard rose garden.