GERMANY (St. Goar) - They do call themselves "Gipfelstürmer" (German - enthusiastic hikers), however, the five young vintagers do not necessarily mean that they want to climb up the wine-olymp real fast. Their goal is rather to market wines in a better way together and to play a part in the maintenance of the cultural landscape in their wine-growing region. This means above all the recultivation of old plantations, which are pretty messed up today and which stick out in a bad way when looking at the landscape as a whole.
There used to be 2000 hectares in the meadows along the Rhine, from Bingen to Königswinter in the North, close to Bonn. What is left now is only about 450 hectares, despite the reallocation of land in the 60s, 85 percent of that in steep slopes. In the past few years, the contraction process has ceased a little, maybe, because the upper Middle-Rhine area up to Koblenz received a little more recognition through as a UNESCO world heritage, since many people go against the trend and do not want forests and bushes to be where there could be perfectly fine vineyards. However, the work in these fields is hard and very sweat-inducing.
The 23-year-old Christina Wagner from Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein (currently a student in Geisenheim, at home six hectares), the 27-year-old Felix Pieper from Königswinter (nine hectares), Sebastian Schneider - graduated 1982 at the academy in Bad Hönningen (2,5 nicely spread hectares in the whole area) as well as the brothers Martin (23) and Thomas Philipps (27) from the Philipps-MÜhle in St. Goar want to take care of those fields. They already proved that they are good with the main wine type of the area, namely the Riesling, with their little taste sample. All four wines, among those a Cuvée Riesling with a spicy Traminer by Felix Pieper, were consistent. (r.knoll)