It was back in 1992 that German wine slowly made itself known among upper-class German restaurants. Seven German wineries from seven different wine-growing regions gathered to form a cooperation thanks to the initiative of Nahe-winemaker Michael Prince of Salm-Salm (who had just taken over Presidency of the German Quality Wine Association - VDP), Annegret Reh-Gartner von Reichgraf von Kesselstatt and the Rhinegau pioneer Bernhard Breuer.
The initial purpose was to build a strong organization that would offer a very impressive and growing German wine portfolio as well as try to position German wines much better on the German restaurant market. The seven wineries (besides the already mentioned ones, the Castell'sche domain office in Franconia, Dr. Bürklin-Wolf from Palatinate, Count Neipperg from Wuerttemberg as well as Villa Saxonia/today Count from Rhinehesse) found a great partner in the import house Schlumberger in Meckenheim, which already had a very strong agency network back then but which only offered international wines at that time.
Schlumberger realized that top restaurants were more and more interested in dry German wines. Furthermore, it was clear that many wineries had the same problem, namely their success on the local market but their rather diminishing national distribution efforts. Thus, a very intriguing and hopeful relationship started under an organizaton with the "key to success" symbol.
Not only was there a lot of comittment from all the partners, but also plenty of activities within the organization that offered a pretty impressive event calendar with a proud bundle of presentations as well as numerous workshops and trainings offered by the agency so that everyone can stay on top of his knowledge.
Success attracts: 20 years later, nine more family-run wineries have joined. Baron Glechenstein from Baden and Toni Nelles from the Ahr. According to the latest data, this organization ranks on top for many members: roughly 700,000 bottles were sold in 2010/11 from stock and another 200,000 bottles directly at the Schlumberger winery. About another 130 German wines are part of the Meckenheimer total supply (more than 2000 wines). Even small amounts can be ordered with no issues and delivered to the customer in time.
Twenty years after the organization was founded, Prince Salm-Salm, the association's first spokesperson, can only be positive: "All of us work with the highest quality standards in mind. Our success story goes along with that of German wine". There is only one goal that none of the organization's partners has reached yet, namely to become the best winery in the region. However, there is no doubt that most of them are already among the top producers in Germany. (r.knoll)