GERMANY (Bad Hindelang) – Recently, when Josefine Schlumberger from Markgräflerland was elected the new German Wine Queen in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, the election was followed by protests from Franconia. Hermann Schmitt, managing director of the local wine growers association, expressed his anger because Kristin Langmann, his candidate, was sort out already in the round before and was not found good enough for the final one week later. He demanded a wild card, and after it was rejected by the organizer, the German Wine Institute, he wondered out loud about a boycott of the election of the Wine Queen in the future.
This would open the change for a wine growing area, which currently is not really considered by the official organizations of German wine!
There is a little, fine region, also located in Bavaria, which can even adorn itself with a title: Germany’s highest situated wine growing area. It can be found in Bad Hindelang, in the Allgäu, where in 2008 the first vines of the solaris variety were planted. In Bad Hindelang, there is the Hotel Prinz Luitpoldbad, which in 2014 was allowed to celebrate its 150th anniversary. It is situated at an altitude of 860 meters and has been being frequented by people from the region around Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, among them repeatedly vintners, like the Aldingers from Fellbach. On the wine list of Armin Gross, the head of the house, German wine plays an important role.
He had the idea to lay out a little vineyard in the “site” Luitpolder Ochsenberg, for the moment with a dozen vines. After that, he announced that Germany’s highest situated vineyard was located in the Allgäu, an authority in Veitshöchheim, Franconia, responsible for new vineyards, mobilized against Gross and even threatened him with a fine or even with a prison term in case he did not hoe everything up again fast enough. Of course, the hotelier knew his rights. On an area of 100 square meters, a hobby vintner is allowed to do whatever he wants. So the bureaucrats in Franconia got (justifiably) pulled their leg publically. Even the Süddeutsche Zeitung glossed the hasty Veitshöchheimers, who failed to inform themselves about the “dimension” of the Allgäu vineyard before they threatened Gross with a punishment.
Meanwhile the issue has developed. Another hotelier became a vintner: Markus Rainalter from the Hanusel farm in Hellengerst, who noticeably outdistanced Bad Hindelang with his vineyard located at an altitude of 950 meters and even can boast with two “sites: Langenwies and Mittlerer Strie. So, there are now two vineyards with 100 square meters each in the Allgäu. The first harvests were no danger for the other 13 growing areas, the yield amounted to no more than a few liters each, despite the sunny southern exposure, but located in a “hard microclimate” – as Gross said. The must weight would have been sufficient for the wines being acknowledged as quality wines. But they spared themselves a submission for a test because the number of bottles was not sufficient. Moreover, so far the Allgäu is a region for a country wine, if at all.
There is the Oberallgäu Vintners’ Association, which is not a registered association, has no income, and is only volunteering. With a wink, they demand the Allgäu to be acknowledged as Germany’s wine growing area no. 14. The Allgäu has already a wine queen, too, since as early as 2011. The first wine queen was Katharina I., followed in 2013 by Hanna I., since a short while ago, Katharina II. is the Allgäu Wine Queen, who is actually a saleswoman in her parents’ butchery Endrass, Bad Oberdorf. She had already applied four years ago, but at that time, she was still too young for the high office. Meanwhile she is 22, and her favorite wines are fruity white wines.
However, on November 21, she has to abandon her preference because then a seasonal highlight will take place for Hotel Prinz Luitpoldpark. For the meanwhile fifth Allgäu WineNight, only high quality German red wine is served together with a six-course dinner, the red wines representing the extract of the German Red Wine Award of the VINUM wine magazine. Some producers from Baden and Wurttemberg will also be present there. Katharina Probst will deliver a speech that evening and may prove herself as a Bavarian candidate-to-be for the election of German Wine Queen. (r.knoll)