No one could have imagined it like this a few weeks ago: Working in the vineyards instead of serving, chopping instead of wine cellars, sorting wine cellars and visiting wineries instead of receiving guests themselves. In an industry like gastronomy, which often has little free time, the forced break suddenly made time. On the wineries, however, there was a lack of helping hands in the vineyard and cellar.
The bond between the VDP.wineries and their gastronomy partners has always been a very close one. After all, they share a formative passion: good food and good wine. It is all the more clear that friendships can develop on this basis. In the following lines we will tell you about three examples that show how great mutual support can be in times like these.
"We have long been fans of their wines. But to experience the perfectionism of the Rings brothers and Julian Huber so closely is very special."
In Munich Markus Hirschler and Stefan Grabler run the wine bar GRAPES. When they were not allowed to receive any more guests overnight, the call to their friends Andi and Steffen Rings from the VDP Winery Rings and Julian Huber from the VDP Winery Bernhard Huber was a logical consequence for them - after all, the connection and cooperation has always been very close. At the same time, they knew that every hand was needed at the wineries. A short time later, the two sommeliers were ready to break out in the Rings brothers' young fields. A few days later, 2500 Chardonnay vines were replanted by hand in Malterdingen, Baden. "I would never have thought that bending down to break out the double shoots would be harder grafting than chopping the holes for the young vines" laughs Stefan Grabler when he talks about his experiences on the phone. But what will be remembered much more than the sore muscles is the "absolute perfectionism" of the young winemakers. "We have an incredible respect for the work the guys do on the wineries - now even more than before". And the reward? A beer in the Schlossberg after work, sushi to go and various wines to go with it, before you fall into the boarding house room tired and broken and start work the next day all over again. For the two Munich hosts probably no substitute for their real passion, but certainly just as fulfilling.
"This is the perfect practical addition to the theory during sommelier training."
Plants and new plants, spreading biodynamic preparations, preparing and burying horn pebbles, hoeing young fields, first excavation work, spreading compost and and and and... Also the work on the Würzburg VDP.Weingut am Stein does not stop. No fewer than five sommeliers and restaurateurs have joined forces in the course of the "Side by side in the vineyard" campaign, a joint venture between Sommelier-Union Deutschland and the VDP, and supported the Knoll family in this work. It is a kind of practical training to become a winegrower, which includes professional supervision on the one hand and the corresponding remuneration on the other. "Of course, it costs us more time to train the five new "apprentices", but they are very interested and learn really fast" says Antonia Knoll, who supervises the five trainees* during this time with her father Ludwig Knoll. He is sure that this special cooperation will help both sides: "I think what has really burned in is that wine must have its price in such steep vineyards with up to 80% gradients". At the same time, the practice could not be better: You take your time, everything is explained in detail and questions can be asked at any time. A real win-win situation for both sides.
"Sommeliers have a very different connection to our work."
The VDP wineries Heitlinger and Burg Ravensburg have also been strengthened in recent weeks. For while the restaurants were closed, the vineyard continued with the 2020 vintage. "The sommeliers help us with bottling, sit on the tractor with our people and support us in spreading valerian against the danger of frost", reports Ulrike Burmeister. They were one of the first wineries to implement such a cooperation. Here, too, the experiences are positive throughout "Sommeliers have a completely different relationship to our work than when you hire any other helper". So we were more than satisfied with Adrian Imm from the star restaurant "No 4" in the Navigare Hotel in Buxtehude, Marco Feger from the restaurant "Maki:'dan" in the Hotel Ritter in Durbach and Christoph Gerischer from the two-star restaurant "Le Cheval" in the Hotel Hirzer in Hafling/South Tyrol. Because one thing is also certain at the end of these crazy times: the experiences and the joint work will unite - also in the long term.