There was a time in Germany…
…when wine was a rather painful subject matter. That was in part due to the youthful carelessness with which people indulged, without much inhibition, in highly commercial sparkling wines like »Keller Geister« or simple reds like »Dornfelder«. But also at fault was the poor quality of the wine. The 1970s and 1980s are today seen as the darkest chapter in German wine history, marked by overproduction and the antifreeze scandal. A nasty hangover was guaranteed – and the fact that »Keller Geister« had been advertised as a »Witziger Wein« (»funny wine«) – well, nobody was laughing anymore.
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The wine market has changed enormously since then – thanks in part to the EU’s quantity regulations, which forced German winemakers to a renewed focus on quality instead of quantity, but also
because of a changed awareness. A new generation of winemakers came along, people who had put it in their heads to do things better. One of them is Juliane Eller. Under the label »III Freunde« (»III Friends«), she and actors Joko Winterscheidt and Matthias Schweighöfer produce a Pinot gris and a rosé that have resonated well even with connoisseurs. And no wonder: after all, Juliane Eller is in possession of some profound winemaking knowledge, having studied Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Geisenheim and having worked one year in Flörsheim-Dalsheim for Klaus Peter Keller, Rheinhessen’s most renowned winemaker.
“The new generation of winemakers can do more than just press grapes – they make some really good wines.”
Eller founded her own winery, Weingut Juwel, where she switched to organic agriculture and parted with things like machine harvesting, artificial fertilizers and single-strain yeasts. A somewhat different sort of viticultural star is Markus Schneider from the Palatinate wine region. He’s been called a »pop vintner«, opinion about him is divided, but his success speaks for itself, with German red wines like »Black Print« and »Ursprung« or his New Zealand-inspired Sauvignon blanc »Kaitui«. The Gault Millau Guide to German Wines has this to say: »Markus Schneider has succeeded in not only being noticed for individual wines or terroir but in establishing himself as a brand – only few have been able to do that.« With this in mind, time to pop open a good bottle with some friends and cheer the fact that the rotgut era of »headache wines« is finally over.
Check further articles in the EXPLORE|R MAGAZINE 🙂
GERMANY’S NUMBER ONE WINE COUNTRY
Rhineland-Palatinate is famous for its top-notch
wine regions. An especially long tradition of
winegrowing can be found in the Mosel wine
region. So if you ever visit Trier, you should definitely
try some of the legendary Mosel wine.