The community forest in Wintrich is a part of the forest district of Hirzlei, belonging to the forestry commission office at Traben-Trarbach and represents one of the largest community forests in the forest district.
It is bordered in the south and south-east by the state forest of the forestry commission office Dhronecke (formerly Morbach) and in the east and north-east by the community forest of Brauneberg-Filzen. It is located in the forestation area “Middle Moselle Valley” and “Moselle-Hunsrück”.
The forestry area covers 585.1 ha of which 508 ha are woodland.
In the Wintrich district there are still about 85 ha of privately-owned forest which is still extensively farmed.
The forest lies between 200m and 500m above sea level. The climate ranges from the mild viticultural climate with an average temperature of 10° C and rainfall of< 600 mm, to the rough climate of the Hunsrück hills with an average temperature of < 6° C and rainfall of approx. 900 mm.
Geologically, the area consists mainly of Hunsrück slate of the lower Devon period with inlays of quartz and greywacke. The soils range from poor, stony soil to deep, fertile brown soils.
The woodlands above the vineyards are officially protected and serve to hold back cold air and prevent frosts from damaging the vines.
Trees fall into different categories:
Deciduous: oak 11 %, beech 34 %, others 5 %
Evergreens: spruce 39 %, fir 1 %, Douglas fir, 4 %, pine 1 %, larch 5 %
The ratio of evergreens to deciduous is thus 50:50.
Tree felling of all types amounts to 3,100 solid cubic metres/per annum. Felling and other forestry work such as reforestation, path maintenance, care of tree cultures and young trees, forest protection, branch removal, wood transport etc is performed by forest workers and subcontractors.
About 130 years ago the Wintrich forest consisted of purely deciduous trees mostly beech and oak.
These types of trees produced only unprofitable low forest (whereby the oaks where felled in a 20-30 year rotation system for firewood and leather tanning). About 90 – 100 years ago they began to reforest the woodlands with evergreens, mostly firs, to make the woods more profitable.
However, today the forest is treated naturally. This means that mass felling is no longer practised and the forest is allowed to take its own natural course of growth and development.
Apart from the practical use and conservation function of cleaning the air, the woods provide water retention, noise reduction and minimization of extreme temperatures. The community forest of Wintrich also offers an area for recreation. In recent years, many kilometres of walking paths have been made up and signposted.
A particularly nice attraction is the “Wintrich Chestnut Wood”: a 133-year old chestnut wood covering about 2 ha. The people from near and far come and collect chestnuts, which are a real delicacy.
Every year in October the motto is: “Only chestnuts can be taken out of the fire” and this is a long walk to the chestnut wood. The chestnuts can be collected, roasted and eaten. The Wintrich community offers some good Moselle wine to accompany the chestnuts.
There are three hunting districts which have been leased and mostly deer, wild boar and mufflons are to be found in this area.