An overwhelming result of the fundraising campaign #deradlerhilft thanks to solidarity and numerous relief actions of more than 4,000 donors and companies from all over the world that feel committed to the winegrowers in the Ahr valley.
Fortitude and countless conversations were necessary, now, 18 months after the Ahr flood the disbursement of the collected donations finally takes place. Thus, the funds are now reaching the winegrowers in the Ahr Valley, where they are still urgently needed. "We are glad to finally be able to take this long-awaited step of allocating donations - knowing that financial resources are only one part of the help. Of course, time is needed to process what has happened and to rebuild," said Steffen Christmann, president of the VDP and chairman of the non-profit association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V.," which initiated the fundraising campaign.
A look back: During the devastating flood in July 2021, almost all wineries in the Ahr region were damaged. The enormous extent of the flood disaster prompted the VDP.Prädikatsweingüter and their non-profit association to call for aid campaigns under #deradlerhilft. The goal was and is to help all wineries in the Ahr region that were damaged by the flood - regardless of their type and structure, and regardless of whether they are VDP members or not. From the beginning, the aim was to be a support for the local winegrowers in the reconstruction and to give hope for the future of Ahr viticulture.
Thanks to the solidarity of numerous people and the help of more than 4,000 donors, a considerable sum of 3.8 million euros was raised. A wide variety of campaigns such as wine auctions, charity dinners, or the sale of (treasury) wine packages by many colleagues from the wineries, gastronomy, and wine trade deserve special mention, above all the big "SolidAHRity campaign" around Dirk Würtz from Nierstein. They all contributed to the success of the fundraising campaign. An expression of standing together as a profession full of solidarity.
Already in 2021, the first emergency aid was disbursed from the funds. Likewise, crop protection applications by helicopter were financed to safeguard the 2021 harvest. The disbursement of further funds proved difficult due to legal regulations. Numerous discussions were necessary to enable the most targeted and sensible disbursement possible. Now, however, the way is finally paved. "If one considers the 5-6-digit sums benefiting each of the damaged wineries and nearly 800.000€ for one of the three cooperatives, the scope of the fundraising campaign becomes particularly clear. Thus, it was possible to sweep out sums with which something can really be moved, and which can hopefully give confidence after the long period of suffering", Steffen Christmann sums up.
All grants are based on a distribution key that considers the size of the winery in terms of hectares cultivated on the one hand and the uncovered residual damage on the other. The aim is to promote the preservation of the cultural landscape by directly supporting the winegrowing enterprises in their reconstruction, but also by closing gaps caused by consequential damage, such as the drop in sales due to a lack of tourism. The survey of the individual needs of those affected was carried out in cooperation and thankful exchange with the Rhineland-Nassau Farmers' and Winegrowers' Association, the Ahr Winegrowers' Association, and the aid association "Ahr - A Wineregion needs help for Rebuilding". Likewise, a distribution solution was found in good discussions with the three cooperatives Mayschoss-Altenahr, Dagernova and Ahrweiler-Winzerverein. These are entrusted with the passing on of the funds at the cooperative level and will pay out a part of the funds to their members (with special consideration of full-fledged businesses) on the one hand and use it for the reconstruction of vinotheques as well as business premises on the other hand.
The express thanks of the entire VDP go to all those who made a lasting contribution to the success of the fundraising campaign with their donation. Because what remains, despite all the tragedy, is the enormous solidarity of an entire profession and the proof of what a strong community is capable of. But such an action would simply not be possible without the many people in the background who take care of the administration, correspondence, and processing: thanks to their commitment over the past year and a half, this final step could now be taken. Finally, it should be mentioned that thanks to the individual extra commitment of these people, the legal, administrative, and consulting costs have been kept extremely low at only about 1%.
Where do we go from here? Since it can be assumed that the aid for Ahr viticulture will continue to be needed in the future, the fundraising campaign will be continued. All relevant information for supporters can be found at www.vdp.de.
Donation account: Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V.
IBAN: DE 21 5109 1500 0000 2045 28
Subject: Solidarität Ahr Weinbau