Karl Marx and Mosel wine

When I visited my hometown Trier recently, I also went to the place where Karl Marx, the most famous of our citizens, was born in 1818 (the Karl Marx Haus). What I did not know about him was his relationship to wine and the Mosel wine industry. From a leaflet collected at the tourist paraphernalia shop I learned that the parents of Karl Marx were vineyard owners along the Ruwer in Mertesdorf where they owned several parcels. It was quite common for bourgeois families of the times to acquire vineyards either for their own wine consumption and/or for investment and old age security reasons. The Marx family vineyard was found in the location “Viertelsberg” a medium quality terroir near the castle ‘Gruenhaus’. Today, the ‘Weingut Erben von Beulwitz’ produces a 2002 Spaetburgunder (Pinot Noir) wine with a Karl Marx label to commemorate this famous “son” of Trier. The wine is not exactly from the old Marx family vineyard but derived from vineyards nearby. Some time ago I had tasted this wine with some delicious venison (big horn sheep) which my mother had prepared for me.

karlmarxweb.jpg

The label with Karl Marx

Marx himself was fond of drinking wine and appreciated the value of it. More interesting is the fact that among others the misery of the Mosel wine producers inspired Marx to study and research economic issues in general. In various newspapers Marx reported about the problems of the Mosel vintners. He criticized the Prussian government for its lack of support which in the end brought him into conflict with the authorities in the 1840ies which in the end led to his exile first in Paris, later in Brussels and finally in London.

After Napoleon lost the war and with it the once occupied lands west of the Rhine river, these territories were given to the Kingdom of Prussia after the peace congress of Vienna in 1815 and administered as the Prussian Province of the Lower Rhine. This marked the beginning of a golden age for Mosel wine producers since they benefited from tax-free export of their wines to Prussia. Unfortunately, the phenomenon was short lived when, with the introduction of the German Customs Union (Zollverein) in 1834, vintners from the southern German states were in the position to successfully displace their competitors from the Mosel. This in turn brought wine prices down. An unfavourable Prussian tax policy coupled with bad harvests led to the pauperization of many vintners at the Mosel. Marx was appalled by their suffering, criticized the government, violated press censorship requirement and in the end had to leave into exile.

In 1857 the Marx family sold its vineyards in Mertesdorf. But due to the efforts of the Weiss family (the owners of the Weingut Erben von Beulwitz, www.hotel-weiss.de), we can enjoy today a Pinot Noir depicting the face of Karl Marx on the label. These bottles can also be bought at the aforementioned shop (7.5 €/0.75 l bottle).

mertesdorf-ruwer.jpg

Ruwer vineyards near Mertesdorf in spring

PS: I personally think that it is a pity that the wide adoption of his ideas in Eastern Europe, Vietnam and China for instance brought so much misery to mankind. Less emphasis on the collective and more on individual freedom would have gone a fair bit. Marx should have stayed with drinking and enjoying wine and give up writing in the first place, one is tempted to argue.

In a letter to the father-in-law of his daughter he mentioned that “a man who does not love wine will never achieve anything good for mankind”. Unfortunately, wine drinking is not a guaranty for such deeds as his own life showed.

Advertisements

18 Responses to Karl Marx and Mosel wine

  1. wolfgang says:

    Dear Rainer,
    very fine article!! But I don`t think you are right about wine and ideas. Till soon
    Your friend Wolfgang

  2. SSnake says:

    Marx had some incredible ideas about a truly perfect social society. The way in which his thoughts were interpreted and inserted into the real world created the so-called ‘misery’ of communist Russia under Stalin (whom is not Communist by any means)

  3. However, that may be. I personally prefer good ideas that bring tangible benefits to mankind. There is enough misery already and we do not need more of it. Nothing is perfect on mother earth, I guess.

    • Christopher Lloyd says:

      It was interesting to read your article about the Marx wine. What a pity you don’t know anything about Marx’s writings, which collected together with those of Engels fill 50 large volumes. Marx was one of the greatest thinkers of the 19th Century and was always concerned about human liberty and equality. His earliest writings were against Prussian censorship and about the sufferings of Mosel farmers and Silesian weavers and he always abhorred tyrrany. Towards the end of his life he was sure that socialism could be achieved democratically in the advanced western countries, such as Britain. The horrors of so-called Marxist regimes, such as the Soviet Union, would have disgusted him. To blame him for that is akin to blaming Christ for the Spanish inquisition or the Catholic paedophilia scandals.

      • I mentioned his good intentions and that he cared for Mosel farmers for instance. However, Marx was wrong as regards human nature. Therefore, socialism, even if democratically achieved, could never be the answer to human suffering. I doubt that a truly great philosopher could not have come to that conclusion. But we are all children of our time.

  4. Nick says:

    Interesting but you are totaly wrong about Marx IMHO. Balming him for Stalinism is like blaming Jesus for the Spanish Inquisition.

  5. Christina says:

    For the reason that the admin of this web page is working,
    no doubt very quickly it will be well-known, due to its quality
    contents.

  6. Reda says:

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I should check things out.
    I like whjat I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to looking over your web page yeet again.

  7. try here says:

    That one simple plan and goal will direct you to find out how SEO may improve
    traffic, and then to analyse the traffic you get to see which keywords work best,
    and maybe focus more on those. This was a stunning piece of Internet marketing on the half of the random Utah blender company.
    Once in a while the corner served might be slender the item focuses on one little gathering inside a
    business.

  8. Awesome blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user
    discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?

    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that
    share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me
    know. Kudos!

  9. Google says:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.

    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn lots of new
    stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  10. I’ll right away clutch your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me know in order that I could subscribe.
    Thanks.

  11. It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  12. I do not even know how I ended up here,
    but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but
    definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already
    😉 Cheers!

  13. domain says:

    I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody
    else encountering problems with your blog. It appears like some of the written text on your posts are running off the
    screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Cheers

  14. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for hoa cuoi

  15. forex says:

    forex

    Karl Marx and Mosel wine | The Man from Mosel River

  16. 83Edwina says:

    Hi blogger, i must say you have very interesting articles here.
    Your website should go viral. You need initial traffic only.
    How to get it? Search for: Mertiso’s tips go viral

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: