Throughout the Hallertau in the spring, farmers can be seen in their hop fields winding the young bines around leads. Once the hop plants have been pruned, wires have been staked in the rows and the vegetation has been cleared from around the rapidly growing plants, the first big step in hop cultivation occurs – they are trained around the wires. This is extremely strenuous work, since it cannot be performed by machines but must be done by hand. At the Hopcenter of Brenner come rain or shine, around 20 workers toil tirelessly to expertly train the hop bines onto a wire, which can be up to seven meters tall.
Two wires per plant are used as a climbing trellis for the young bines. There can be up to 200,000 wires in a single hop field! So that the hops flourish and mature, the workers select only the strongest young bines. Thus, up to three young bines are wound clockwise (as viewed from above) around the wire so that they reach the top of the trellis at a height of seven meters by the end of June in Germany. While they are still young, the remaining bines are removed by hand and later mechanically plowed into the soil. However, once the bines are trained onto the wire, the work is not yet done: the young plants must be monitored constantly to ensure that the bines have not been detached from the wire by a strong wind. If this is the case, the bines must be trained back onto the wire again.
Hops have been used medicinally and therapeutically for centuries.