Women in the wine industry

March 8, 2013

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Lucy and Charlotte Adam

Today is international women’s day. It is a very special day especially since exactly 25 years ago I have met my wife Margit for the first time (in an Italian language class in Rome). So we are celebrating today, and I will tell you what wine we will drink at this special occasion.

But before I come to this, let me also say that the next generation is getting ready. My two daughters Lucy and Charlotte are in the middle of their preparations for the IB examinations. They have big plans. Both want to study at Melbourne University.

At this, I admit, very preliminary point, both will have some connection with the land and country, it seems. Lucy intends to do an oenology course (but she will study politics), and Charlotte wants to get involved into environmental science for sustainable agriculture. If they stay course, we might welcome two new vintners at Two Hills Vineyard.

This is of course the future calling, but the two have not disappointed at no time.

By the way, my role has also been defined in advance: farm hand, is my destination.

OK back to the present. What will we be drinking tonight? Can you guess?

It will be a ‘2012 Maximin Grünhäuser Riesling trocken’ by Schlosskellerei Maximin Grünhaus C. von Schubert in Mertesdorf, Ruwer. I have written an entry of the earlier vintage of this wonderful wine from my beloved Mosel river.

PS: Thanks to another “Man from the Mosel”, my friend Thomas Weber, I am in the possession of the above bottle. Thank you Thomas for carrying this treasure more than 10,000 miles to the other end of the earth.

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Terroir Moselle – A marketing initiative for wine from the Mosel

December 27, 2012

The Mosel

Steep vineyards along the Mosel river

When I visited my home town Trier recently, I came across an article in the local newspaper about the joint marketing efforts of vintners of the Mosel river.

With the help of government (in this case the European Union), producers from three countries – France, Luxembourg and Germany – have united their efforts to promote their produce: wine from the Mosel river.

Terroir Moselle is the name of the undertaking. The project shall benefit about 4,000 vintners across the borders of the three countries. It includes about 229 villages and hamlets along the river Mosel which are involved in grape and wine production.

The project was started in 2010 for a duration of three years. About 20 associations, institutes and other bodies from the three countries had initiated it after preparatory work in 2009.

The total area under vines along the Mosel is about 10,500 ha, 180 ha of which in the Lorraine, France; 1,350 ha in Luxembourg, and the remainder in Germany (Saar 110 ha and Mosel 8,880 ha).

Map Vignobles Moselle

The Moselle

“River, terroir, grape production and wine making” are the unifying features of the project. Producers in the three countries face similar challenges. Many are small family units with insufficient “muscle” to raise awareness for their products: high quality wines from the Mosel river, in highly competitive markets.

Unfortunately, the website does not give an account of the achievements and the impact of the joint undertaking. The newspaper article mentioned ‘joint tasting across borders’ and ‘presentations in international wine shows’ as examples.

The members of “Terroir Moselle” have now to come up with a plan to sustain activities after the end of the funding period (December 2013). The total amount of EU support for the three years is 250,000 EURO.

I wish them well.


Red and white in the snow

December 21, 2012

R and W in snow

Without words!

Merry Christmas to all my readers


PB Valley: Sawasdee Khao Yai Shiraz 2011 – new release

December 3, 2012

Sawasdee Shiraz 2011

2011 Khao Yai Shiraz

On Sunday we had a bottle of the newly released ‘2011 Khao Yai Shiraz’ by PB Valley, Khao Yai, Thailand with our lunch.

This wine is from the newest collection of Khao Yai wines which was presented on November 30th to a group of wine critiques, journalists, trade representatives and marketing experts at the Great Hornbill Bistro in Bangkok.

This wine from the Sawasdee label is for easy drinking. It is fruity and dry with aromas of blackberry and a hint of chocolate, in short a wine easy to understand also for beginners.

I like if it is served slightly chilled. In the tropics “room temperature” is just a no go. Who wants to drink a red wine at 30 degrees Celsius?

I will report about the wine tasting of the newly released PB Valley wines at the Great Hornbill Bistro later this week.


First wine flash mob in Koblenz and Trier

October 29, 2012

My own flash mob in Bangkok

About a week ago history was made when the first “wine flash-mob” was conducted in Koblenz, and a much smaller one in my home town Trier. I learned it from facebook, and I wished I were there.

Funny is that the word flash of the term “flash-mob” sounds like “Flasche” which translates into German as “bottle”. So it is a “bottle mob”. Indeed about 200 wine lovers followed the invitation in Koblenz and congregated at the “German corner” (Deutsches Eck), a public square, where Rhine and Mosel river merge.

It was maybe the last warm autumn’s day (according to the organizers 21 Celsius) with blues sky, coloured leaves on trees, soft air with the hint that winter was not far away. Jan Wilhelm Buhrmann and Marco Pusceddu from the wine bar “Gavino” in Koblenz had invited to this un-usual event.

The event was part of an initiative by the German Wine Institute (DWI) to promote German wine. The title of the campaign was “become a wine spotter” (or discoverer) and it was conducted in the third week of October. In more than 400 restaurants all over Germany various events were held to promote German wine.

The bottle flash mob in Koblenz, planned for only 20 minutes, muted into a two hour public tasting and wine sharing where German “Gemuetlichkeit” reigned. Great stuff. I hope I can be there when they do it next time.


The Mosel river

October 10, 2012

The Mosel river near Schweich

I am rapping things up here in Bangkok. Only two more days to go. Friday night I will be on the midnight flight to Germany. After about 11 hours on the plane, I will land in Frankfurt early in the morning. I might have a coffee and breakfast at the train station.

Then I will catch a train to Tier, my home town to see my parents. The train ride will be wonderful regardless of the weather. Autumn might extend its magic with colourful leaves in red, brown and yellow.

First, my trip will lead me along the Rhine river, then I’ll change trains in Koblenz. The next leg of the journey will be along the Mosel river. Some of the views will be spectacular.

I will admire the vineyards of both valleys, the Rhine and the Mosel. On the hilltops will be castles here and there. The slopes are steep, and I will think of all the hard work the vintners put into their vineyards. How can one work these terrible steep slopes? Backbreaking work, done for generations.

Vineyards and wine production have been a feature of the place for more than 2.000 years, incredible. I will have only about 24 hours there before I will move on for a business trip to Berlin.

Saturday night I will patronize my favourite wine bar, Weinsinnig. It will be my cellar door so to speak since I plan to pick up a few bottles of my favourite Mosel wines. There will be certainly a crisp Riesling among them.

I very much look forward to going home.


Urban farming and the gardening movement: Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin

December 4, 2011

A dear old friend of mine introduced me this year to “Prinzessinnengarten”, an urban garden community in the middle of Berlin.

A couple of days ago I read in the Bangkok Post, my daily newspaper, about the re-emergence of the urban gardening movement with a reference to the “Prinzessinnengarten”, and I thought, great, I have seen them in July with my own eyes.

During my student days at Bonn University, I always had a garden or was involved in some gardening venture. Usually together with some friends, we would rent a vacant plot of land in a deserted gardening colony or other public land designated for urban gardening.

We took issue with the older movement of “Schrebergaerten”, an earlier tradition of urban gardening in Germany, which we considered parochial, dull and boring. Instead we sympathised more with the tradition of the hippy and flower-power movements.

In fact our gardens were also always places for extensive garden parties with lots of alcohol and loud music.

But my gardening roots are much older than that. In fact my paternal grandfather, Hans Schuessler was the one who introduced me to gardening at the tender age of 5 or so.

Working for the railways he always maintained various gardens usually near to the rails where he grew vegetables and all kinds of fruit. He also made delicious fruit wines, and all kinds of marmalade and gelées/jellies.

“Prinzenssinnengarten” is an oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of Germany’s biggest mega-city. It offers food and drink and a wide range of entertainment as well.

The garden was set up in 2009 and it took just two years to make it into an urban paradise.

All kinds of boxes can be used to create opportunities for growing stuff

More boxes and..

..also plastic sacks to grow potatoes

…and cabbages

Crates to grow zucchini and rhubarb

Tomatoes are grown under plastic roofs

Nurseries are also included in Prinzessinnengarten

Prices are modest and the revenue generated is for a good cause

Enjoy

It is worth to visit “Prinzessinnengarten”, that’s for sure.