Friday, October 18, 2019

40th Anniversary of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Pictures: 40th Anniversary of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

The Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim - of which Annette Schiller and I have been members right from day 1 - celebrated its 40th Anniversary a few days ago at Weingut Künstler in Hochheim, Rheingau.

The Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim is a wine brotherhood based in Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany.

The Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim was founded on October 9, 1979 in the Nassauer Hof in Hochheim. It grew out of a series of wine seminars that had been organized by Robert Thust and the Volkshochschule for two years. There, wine friends from the Wiesbaden/Mainz/Hochheim region had come together and had studied wine profoundly during weekly seminars that began with the basics of wine, using the example of Riesling wines from Hochheim, moved to other German grapes and wine regions, and ended with the wines of other European wine regions such as Bordeaux and Bourgogne. When we came to the end of the cycle, the question was: what should we do now? Some of the wine friends, including my wife Annette and myself, decided to stay together and create the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim. Annette was actually there when the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim was formally founded on October 9, 1979 in the Nassauer Hof in Hochheim.

Pictures: Founding Member Annette Schiller

At the time the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim was founded in 1979, Annette and I were living in Mainz, not far away from Hochheim. Our first daughter Katharina was borne in 1979. We had just finished our university studies and had our first jobs.

We were very active members of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim until 1983, when we moved to the USA because I joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC. Following a period of only loose contact with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, we have become again much more involved since 2009, when Christian retired from the IMF. In particular, Annette organized 3 major wine tours for the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim (to Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace).

Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Hochheim is at the eastern edge of the Rheingau, well know around the world for its Riesling wines. Moving from Hochheim to the west, the fairly flat, dimpled landscape evolves into progressively steep slopes. It is a quietly beautiful region, rich in tradition. Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for Hochheim's wines contributed to their popularity in England, where they, and ultimately, Rhine wines in general, were referred to as Hock.

Picture: The Rheingau

The third President of the USA - and notable bon viveur - Thomas Jefferson visited the Rheingau in 1788 and wrote that the wine of the "Abbaye of Johnsberg is the best made on the Rhine without comparison … That of the year 1775 is the best." He also referred to the Rheingau Riesling as the "small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim". Impressed by the quality of the Rheingau Riesling wines, he bought 100 grapevines in Hochheim to take back to his estate in Virginia.

The best winemaker in Hochheim now is with any doubt Weingut Kuenstler. Its founder, Franz Kuenstler, was a founding member of the Weinfrundeskreis Hochheim. Weingut Kuenstler is now being owned and run by Gunter Kuenstler.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Gunter Künstler

The 40th Anniversary Celebration

The 40th Anniversary Celebration consisted of three parts. First, the formal part, with a number of  speeches and including an interesting dialogue between the 2 presidents that have run the organization over the past 40 years: Holger Krimmel and Jürgen Lüttges; second, a tour of Weingut Künstler by Gunter Künstler; and third, dinner and wine tasting with a slide show of pictures covering the 40 years of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim.


The event started with a Sekt Reception.

Pictures: Sekt Reception


We then moved to the formal part with speeches. For over 35 years Holger Krimmel was the President of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim. He has been succeeded by Jürgen Lüttges. They used a kind of a TV Talk Show format to present the history of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim.

Pictures: Speeches

Tour of Weingut Künstler

After the formal part and before dinner, Gunter Künstler showed us his estate.

Pictures: Touring Weingut Künstler


For the remainder of the evening, we sat down for dinner. A slide-show reminded us of the many wonderful events we had during the past 40 years.

Picture: President Jürgen Lüttges and Hildegard Kyritz

Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Large Excursions to Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Alsace, Organized by Annette Schiller, ombiasy WineTours

In the past years, Annette has organized 3 major wine tours for the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, all pro bono. I have covered these tours extensively on my blog schiller-wine:

2012: Bordeaux

See: Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

Picture: Christian and Annette Schiller with Henri Lurton, Owner of Château Brane-Cantenac, Margaux

2015: Bourgogne

See: Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Picture: At the Hospices de Beaune in Beaune, Bourgogne

2019: Alsace

See: Alsace Tour 2019 with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, France

Picture: Alsace Tour 2019 with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim

schiller-wine: Related Postings

UPCOMING Tours/ Wine Dinners/ Tastings - Annette and Christian Schiller/ ombiasyPR & WineTours/ schiller-wine, Germany, France, USA (Issued: October 1, 2019)

Annual Riesling Party at the Schiller Residence in Washington DC, USA (2019)

Upcoming: American Wine Society (AWS) National Conference on October 31 to November 3, 2019, at St. Pete Beach in Florida, with 2 Events by Annette Schiller on "Renaissance of Terroir in Germany: Back to the Roots" and "Syrah and Shiraz: Is there any Difference, do they Taste the Same?", USA

Total Immersion in Bordeaux: World Class Wines and Exquisite French Gourmet Cuisine - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Rhône Valley Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Culture and History, France

Germany-East Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture, History - Berlin, Saale-Unstrut, Sachsen, Württemberg, Franken

The Sun-Kissed South: Germany’s Pinot Noir, the Other Whites, the Culinary Regions - Germany-South and Alsace 2018 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

Burgundy (and Champagne) Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours: From Lyon to Paris - Wine, Food, Culture and History, France

Germany-North Tour 2019 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential Riesling

Wine tasting: 30th Anniversary of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Christian G.E. Schiller Leads Tasting of US-American Wines in Hochheim, Germany

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