Four organizations from the winegrowing sector pool their donations to coordinate the reconstruction of viticulture in the Ahr region and the donations
3.8 million euro for viticulture in the Ahr region
- Fundraising campaign "#deradlerhilft"

Mainz, 2023

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   





Mainz, 2021

After the devastating flood disaster in the Ahr Valley, the VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter has called for the fundraising campaign #deradlerhilft to help all affected wineries in the Ahr - regardless of type and structure - whether VDP or not. In the meantime, the 2021 vintage could be saved by a harvest characterized by improvisation and makeshift situations, but also by a great support with machines, barrels and manpower. Nevertheless, quite a few wineries continue to face existential threats.


The overwhelming cohesion of an entire profession and the solidarity of countless people and companies from all over the world contributed to the success of the fundraising campaign. Thanks to a wide range of relief activities and the individual commitment of almost 4,000 donors, a donation total of over 3.3 million euros has already been achieved. A result that exceeds all expectations, gives hope and for which all those involved would like to say "thank you" from the bottom of their hearts. Now it is time to distribute the donations to the wineries.


While the willingness to donate was overwhelming and uncomplicated, the use of donations for the intended purpose holds many unimagined, legal hurdles from the tax authorities. As a charitable non-profit association, the Ministry of Finance only provides for aid to private individuals and not businesses, which poses intense, though not insurmountable, challenges - but an enormous amount of effort. However, the donation purpose of the association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V." also envisages supporting winegrowing businesses that are committed to preserving the cultural landscape along the Ahr and closing any gaps in coverage that are not borne by the state or insurance companies.


In close cooperation with the Ahr Winegrowers' Association, the Ahr-Wein e.V., the Ahr Winegrowers' Aid Association, the Rhineland-Nassau Farmers' Association, the Schorlemer Foundation of the German Farmers' Association, and the Farmers' Aid Fund, the association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V." has since been working on a coordinated allocation of the donations collected, also in order to spare those affected multiple applications. At the moment, the first emergency aid, which is possible due to the disaster decree, is already being paid out to identified damaged persons, who are connected to viticulture, differentiated according to the extent to which they have been affected.


The full extent of the hardship will probably only become visible in the context of the repairs, the necessary purchases and the sales that will be lost due to the wine loss. All aid associations are primarily concerned with absorbing losses that fall through the cracks in state aid or cannot be fully settled.


Where do we go from here? In order to do justice to the motivation and objective of countless donations and to enable a targeted disbursement, a variety of benevolent but complicated discussions continue to be held with the politicians of the federal states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, which will hopefully resolve the existing challenges. However, it is already clear that the processing - and thus also the issuing of the donation receipts - will still require some time, for which the VDP already politely asks for your indulgence.


To the call for donations

Mainz, August 13, 2021

After the catastrophic flood, many winegrowing businesses in the Ahr region are left with nothing. In the winegrowing sector alone, the damage is estimated at over 150 million euros. A whole 36 hectares of vineyards have been destroyed, and further hectares have been so badly affected that a high loss of yield can be assumed there for the next 2-3 years. However, the hardest hit are the people as well as the houses, vinotheque buildings and wine press halls. All this shows that the reconstruction will be an immense task and challenge for the next years.


Last week, representatives of the association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V.", various representatives of the Ahr Winegrowers' Association, the Ahr-Wein e.V. and the Rhineland-Nassau Farmers' Association met to discuss the aid strategy and the coordinated allocation of the donations collected. "Here, too, we can only achieve something together, use our respective strengths and thus bundle the aid to give viticulture in the Ahr region a future," says Steffen Christmann. In the first step, a concept was discussed that prepares the vineyards in the best possible way for the harvest coming up in six weeks and ensures the 2021 grape harvest. This requires shears, buckets and vats, cellar equipment and tools, as well as the procurement of harvest workers and their accommodation in residential containers. In the long term, partnerships are to be established between individual wineries in the Ahr region and sponsor wineries or villages from all wine-growing regions in order to be able to offer a perspective for the future over the next few years.


It is a mammoth task to coordinate the aid and responsibilities. Therefore, in the next few weeks, every winery in the Ahr region will be visited personally by experts from the industry in order to categorize who is affected, who is in need, who is insured, etc., so that initial monetary assistance can be paid out. At the same time, a platform is being set up or adapted to bring together the needs of the winegrowers with the offers of help in the form of donations in kind and loans.


The VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter has called for the fundraising campaign #deradlerhilft (the eagle helps) in order to help all affected winegrowing businesses in the Ahr region - regardless of their type and structure - whether VDP or not. The campaign will continue in the coming weeks. "I am overwhelmed by the willingness to help in the wine industry, which is great. The industry is standing together. This help will remain permanently necessary in the reconstruction," says Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm, chairman of the association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V.".


To the call for donations 

Now it's about securing the 2021 wine harvest
- Fundraising campaign "#deradlerhilftt"

Mainz, August 4, 2021

The floods have hit the Ahr Valley hard, and with it an entire winegrowing region. Within a very short time, colleagues, winegrowers and every free helping hand of the wineries have made their way to the Ahr in a remarkable solidarity. With pumps, emergency generators, shovels, fresh water, caterpillars and forklifts - with food in their luggage and a lot of (wo)manpower. The immediate readiness to drop everything in one's own company is not a matter of course, which makes the helpfulness of an entire profession and beyond all the more impressive. It quickly became clear that, in addition to coordinated help on the ground, financial resources were needed above all in order to be able to rebuild viticulture in the Ahr region - also as an important branch of the economy, employer and tourist destination - in a way that is fit for the future.


The VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter has called for the fundraising campaign #deradlerhilft (the eagle helps) in order to help all affected winegrowing businesses on the Ahr - regardless of their type and structure - whether VDP or not. In the meantime, a wide variety of great campaigns (e.g. charity dinners, wine packages and auctions) have been formed to draw attention to this relief initiative and to donate the corresponding proceeds. Particularly noteworthy is the campaign "SolidAHRität" by Dirk Würtz, in favor of which wineries from all over Germany and far beyond have donated wines that are sold as wine packages in the online store of the VDP.Weingut St. Antony. These total proceeds will also benefit #deradlerhilft. The cohesion of an entire industry is thus particularly tangible in the past few days and sets an extraordinary example in this difficult time, for which the VDP is very grateful.


Where do we go from here? The association "Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V." will help those affected who work in the wine industry and are in acute need to an appropriate extent and without bureaucracy. As a first measure, two acute plant protection treatments of the entire cultivation area by helicopter could be financed, which the winegrowing enterprises could not carry out themselves also due to the destroyed machines and infrastructure. Still this week, the association will consult with other committed organizations on the ground at the Ahr about the use of the donations together, in order to be able to offer the best possible help. An initial focus of the use of funds will be on bringing in the upcoming wine harvest to ensure the 2021 vintage. The reconstruction of viticulture and wineries in the Ahr region will involve financial needs that are unimaginable today, so initiatives like #deradlerhilft can only be a start. Even though the willingness to donate so far is remarkable, the VDP calls for a joint effort to have "staying power" so as not to let the wineries down with the long-term scale of the disaster.


To the call of donations