The beginning of the event was more than a success. It was a party-like but also very personal homage to the Silvaner, which was first planted on April 6th 1659 in Reitsteg, a vineyard of the royal family Castell, by their ancestors. Corresponding to the significance of this anniversary, the Bavarian minister president Horst Seehofer took over the sponsorship of the year of the Silvaner. Before, he had been represented by the Bavarian minister of state Dr. Söder.
After joint prayer and singing, an endless line of honorary guests wandered from the village church along the church hill to the symbolic Fechser-planting to the Reitsteg; all this with a pleasant sunshine and summer-like temperatures. Here it was that minister of state Dr. Markus Söder, the German wine queen Marlies Dumbsky and the president of the Franconian viniculture association Andreas Oestermer together with the Franconian wine queen Anna Saum planted a Fechser each, and drank a Castell wine, to symbolically commemorate the first planting exactly 350 years ago.
"Those two stocks, planted by our honorary guests and godfathers of the Silvaner, are part of our small show-vineyard" says Karl-Heinz Rebitzer, winery director of the royal Castell domain office.
He added: "Here it is that we show the play types of the Silvaner, the red, blue, green ones and the very old Castell clone, as well as their 'parents', the Traminer and Österreichisch-Weiß".
Afterwards, the almost 400 honorary guests met in the palace courtyard of the Castell baroque castle. Present were representatives of almost all Franconian viniculture communities, as well as their wine princess, local district administrators -among them- Tamara Bischof, district administrator of the wine county Kitzingen and the vice president of Lower Franconia, Dr. Andreas Metschke. Also present was the office director of the Bavarian state department for nutrition, agriculture and silviculture, ministerial director Josef Huber and Micheal Glos (Member of the Bundestag)
Vintagers like Horst Sauer, Paul Fürst, Karl Schmidt, Johann Ruck as well as Sonja Höferlin and Norbert Haller from the Bürgerspital Würzburg were also there. Also representatives of local institutions were there, from Hermann Mengler from the district Lower Franconia, to Anton Mergel as president of the LWG Veitshöchheim, to German viniculture associations, most importantly Monika Reule from the DWI (German Wine Institute) and Norbert Weber as president of the German viniculture association.
After Ferdinand Count of Castell Castell's opening speech, in which he spoke about his 9th grandfather, who -after a terrible time after the 30-year-long war had the courage, to try out a completely new and then unknown grape type and who was also prepared to invest the double amount of normal seeds. "350 years are a very long time but also a very proud number. This is definitely a nice occasion to celebrate this", says Count Castell in his opening speech. He pointed out: "However, way more important than celebrating is that we use this anniversary to form a successful future together".
A speech by minister of state Dr. Söder followed, who expressed how proud he was of being Franconian and told about his love for the Silvaner. He also talked about his active support of the Silvaner. The solemn opening was initiated by the president of the Franconian viniculture association, Andreas Oestemer. "Of course, this is a celebration for the Silvaner, however, this is not enough for us", says Oestermer in his furious opening speech, and he addressed all vintagers, associations and institutions: "We will have to further hold up the Silvaner, we will have to continue taking good care of the vineyards, we will have to ensure the continuing quality and we will have to promote the Silvaner all over the world and most importantly, we cannot allow ourselves to rest on our laurels. "
A surprise for the guests was initiated by Jesko Count of Dohna and director Sigrid Stegner, who performed a play by laymen about the happenings and the purchase of the Fechser, former "Österreicher", which took place in the Heilbad Castell then as well as the first planting in the courtyard, part of Reitsteg. Also surprising was the freshly composed Silvaner-Walzer of the Rüdenhausener Wengerts musicians, who gave the notes in a special printing to the royal family and played this Walzer in front of the guests.
Afterwards, Count Castell, together with minister of state Dr. Söder as well as the German wine queen Dumbsky and the Franconian wine queen Saum gave one Fechser Silvaner each to the representatives of the wine counties and the vintagers present. "The focus of this commemoration should not only be the historical past, but also looking into the future. That is why we are not giving out wines themselves, but a small plant, which is supposed to grow roots in the said home county and which is supposed to bring a fruit, just like it was the case 350 years ago", said Count Castell about this solemn and personal gift.
Afterwards, the guests gathered to have a group picture made at the balcony of the castle and then everyone went to have a drink in the courtyard around the riding hall, where many of the guests kept talking about the Silvaner on a pre-summer warm night.
The celebration was filmed by the Bayerischer Rundfunk, besides the 6-minute-long live-show, in order to turn it into a documentation and broadcast it. (aw.yoopress)