The man who defied German wine laws

This morning, I read an article in the German daily FAZ about a German wine maker, who, 25 years ago, planted cabernet sauvignon grapes, and was initially sentenced to 72 days in jail or paying a fine of roughly 3,500 euros…seriously?

If you look at the German wine scene these days, you will find all sorts of grape varieties, not just the notorious riesling, silvaner or gewurztraminer. Especially the reds have grown global, with cabernets, merlots, and shirazes all over the place. Apparently, 25 years ago, wine laws in Germany were quite strict regarding what grapes could be grown. The “German” red varieties of Dornfelder or Trollinger were allowed, but not “foreign” grapes. It is insane what legislators think they should regulate in the field of wine. There are still numerous rules, but today, things have become better. The winemakers should be the ones deciding what to grow, and where to grow, and how to grow it. Not some administrator.

I have tried a number of German grown reds, and while I usually prefer Italian or Burgundy reds over them, I find a lot of the varieties great everyday wines. Some winemakers make exceptional reds, often from previously deemed “foreign” grapes…

The article is a timely reminder of what obstacles are put in winemakers’ ways, and still are being put there. But it also shows how things change, and common sense can prevail…

I have no clue whether Google translator turns out a decent translation, but the winemaker, Heinrich Vollmer, seems a hilarious guy and the article is a great read.  You can find more info on him and his winery here and German info on Facebook.

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