Sunday, June 6, 2010

Weinfeder Awards 2010 go to Frank & Frei (Franken) and Gipfelstuermer (Mittelrhein)

Picture: Artur Steinmann Receiving the 2010 German Wine Critique Award from Wolfgang Junglas in Mainz


Weinfeder (Wine Feather), the Association of German Wine Publicists, had invited for the Mainz Days of Wine Critique on June 1, 2010 in Mainz, Rheinhessen. Wolfgang Junglas , President, ably led through the evening. Weinfeder was established in 2004. It is the German branch of the Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Écrivains de Vins et Spiritueux (FIJEV).

Picture: Wolfgang Junglas

German Wine Critique Award

For the 6th time, Weinfeder awarded the German Wine Critique Prize (Preis der Deutschen Weinkritik) for outstanding achievement in the wine industry. The 2010 award went to Frank & Frei, a group of 17 winemakers from Franken. Last year, the Message in a Bottle Group from Rheinhessen received the award. Harry George, Frankfurt am Main, delivered the laudatio.

Picture: Harry George

Frank & Frei

The Frank & Frei concept was created in 1996 by 17 winemakers from Franken with the view of promoting the grape variety Mueller-Thurgau and the typical Bocksbeutel bottle. The distinctive Bocksbeutel (literally, "Ram's Sack") is often described as "an over-sized perfume bottle" rather than what it really is - a part of a Ram that served as a wine container prior to the invention of glass bottles.

Under the same label, with the Frank & Frei logo, all 17 winemakers produce Mueller Thurgau wines in the same style, the Frank & Frei style and sell it in Bocksbeutel. The Initiative has turned out to be very successful and the winemakers have included now a rose sparkler and a red wine in the Frank & Frei portfolio.

The Frank & Frei winemakers include worlds stars like Horst Sauer. Here is a complete list.

FRIEDER BURRLEIN • Mainstockheim
KLAUS GIEGERICH • Großwallstadt
MAX MARKERT • Eibelstadt
RUDOLF MAY • Retzstadt
HORST SAUER • Escherndorf
RAINER SAUER • Escherndorf
ARTUR STEINMANN • Sommerhausen

Young Winemakers Award

The Young Winemakers Award (Foerderpreis der Deutschen Weinkritik) went to a group of 5 youngsters – Gipfelstuermer Mittelrhein (Summit Stormers) - from the relatively unknown wine region Mittelrhein. Steffen Maus, Frankfurt am Main, delivered the laudatio.

Picture: Steffen Maus

Gipfelstuermer Mittelrhein

The group was created just about a year ago. Mittelrhein is a small wine region. It is characterized by steep slopes on both site of the very picturesque Rhein Valley, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage. A trip on the Rhein river from Bingen to Koblenz is breathtaking. And this is the area where these young folks grow their wines. It was also noted that their web site is very clever.

The overwhelming part of the Mittelrhein vineyards are on steep slopes, which implies the only very limited use of machines and the heavy reliance on manual work in the vineyard. This is costly and deters many young folks from pursuing winemaking in the Mittelrhein. Indeed, the vineyard area has shrunk to only 1/4 of what it was 100 years ago. Gipfelstuermer want to stop and reverse this downward trend.

Picture: The Gipfelstuermer, Steffen Maus and Wolfgang Junglas

The Gipfelstuermer are:

Felix Pieper, Weingut Pieper, Koenigswinter
Thomas Philipps, Weingut Philipps-Muehle, St. Goar
Sebastian Schneider, Schneider - Das Weingut, Bad Hoenningen
Christina Wagner, Weingut Weinhaus Wagner, Koblenz (not present in Mainz)
Martin Philipps, Weingut Philipss-Muehle, St. Goar

Talk Show

The official part of this very entertaining evening was concluded by a very interesting, yet inconclusive talk show. Prof. Dieter Hoffmann (Geisenheim), Artur Steinmann (Frank & Frei Winemaker), Steffen Schindler (DWI) and Sandra Kantwerk (Sommelier, Mainz) discussed what kind of wine the consumer will demand in five years down the road – will their taste move towards sweet and fruity wines or to dry wines. Interesting views were expressed, but no consensus view emerged. We will watch what is going to happen!

Picture: (from left to right) Artur Steinmann, Werner Eckert, Dieter Hoffmann, Sandra Kantwerk and Steffen Schindler, and Wolfgang Junglas


Frank & Frei

Gipfelstuermer Mittelrhein

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