Monday, October 4, 2010

Schloss Salem at Lake Constance in Germany: A Museum, a School and a Wine Estate

Picture: Schloss Salem

Schloss Salem: A Museum, a School and a Wine Estate

I have visited Schloss Salem - not too far away from Meersburg - at Lake Constance many times in the past, for one or more of the following 3 reasons: (1) to tour the castle – Schloss Salem is one of the finest cultural monuments in the region; (2) to buy wine – Schloss Salem is a top producer of wine; or (3) to visit my children - Schloss Salem is a boarding school.

Picture: Lake Constance

Salem Castle is a Cultural Monument

Salem Castle is one of the finest cultural monuments in the region around Lake Constance in southern Baden-Württemberg.

Founded in 1134 by Cistercian monks, the gigantic monastery complex with its agricultural estates passed into the hands of the ruler of Baden, the Margrave of Baden, during secularization in 1803.

Picture: A Tile in Schloss Salem

After 200 years, it again changed hands a few years ago, when the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg bought it, as the family of the Margrave of Baden was unable to maintain it.

Picture: Schloss Salem, Church

The treasures of Salem: The High Gothic Cathedral with unique classical alabaster; the 17 hectare castle park, art and architecture from 700 years; fire brigade museum; distillery museum; cooperage museum; historical smiths, stables and prelature cellar; varied cultural and activity program; craftsmen village; restaurants and cafeteria.

Salem Castle is a Boarding School

Schule Schloss Salem is Germany's best-known boarding school. In 1920, it was founded by Kurt Hahn.

The School consists of three divisions on separate campuses for pupils of different ages. These are Hohenfels Castle (Lower School, approximately 90 pupils aged 10-12), Salem Castle (Middle School, approximately 290 pupils aged 13-17), and Salem International College (Spetzgart Castle and the Haerlen Campus, Upper School, approximately 320 students aged 16-19).

Notable alumnae include – in addition to my 4 children:
• Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (b. 1921) (He later attended the British Salem School at Gordonstoun, as did his sons)
• Queen Sofia of Spain (as Princess of Greece)
• Golo Mann(1909–1994), writer and son of Thomas Mann
• Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (b. 1916), German political scientist (though she earned her Abitur in Göttingen)
• Ferdinand, Prince of Bismarck (born 1930), head of the princely house of Bismarck
• Patrice Bart-Williams (b. 1979), reggae singer
• Rudolf August Oetker — grandson of the inventor of baking powder, and billionaire German entrepreneur.

Salem Castle is a Wine Estate

Following the monastic and aristocratic traditions, wine is also made in Salem. Today as in the past, fine wines from grapes grown on the estates of the Margraves of Baden are fermented and aged in the abbey's baroque cellars.

Picture: Schloss Salem, Torkel - See also the Posting about the Torkel of Hagnau here.

When the Margrave of Baden sold Schloss Salem to the State of Baden Wuerttemberg a few years ago, he retained all vineyards. The cellars and other parts of the Schloss Salem he uses, are long-term leased from the State of Baden Wuerttemberg.

Picture: Birnau Church with the Vineyard Birnauer Kirchhalde. I like the Birnauer Krchhalde Grauburgunder very much.

The House of Baden is deeply rooted into wine making. It owns estates in two different wine districts of Baden: In the Ortenau and in the Lake Constance regions.

Picture: Wineglass of Schloss Salem

The vineyard area of Schloss Salem totals 110 hectares in Bermatingen, Birnau and Schloss Kirchberg.Varieties planted here are mainly Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Noir (for Weißherbst/blanc de Noir). The wines are produced at Schloss Salem. Also, bottle-fermented sparkling wines, perlé wines and spirits are also produced. In addition, there are about 10 hectares of vineyard area along the Rhein river, close to the Swiss border.

The von Baden family had a decisive influence on viticulture in Baden. Großherzog (grand duke) Carl-Friedrich von Baden (1738-1811) is regarded as the creator of quality wine production in Baden. In 1782, he brought in 3.500 Riesling vines from the Rheingau region. These were planted as a single variety for the first time at the Grossherzog’s Klingelberg property. In the 1920s, the Margrave of Baden was the first estate in Baden to show faith in the new variety Müller-Thurgau. Since 1998, Bernhard Prinz von Baden has continued the viticultural tradition and manages the Schloss Salem Estate. He also lives there.

The original base of the von Baden family is Schloss Staufenberg in the Ortenau, with 25 hectares of vineyard land. This were the only vineyards of the von Baden family until they received the Lake Constanze vineyards as part of Napoleon’s secularization.

Schloss Salem, Germany
Owner: S.K.H. Bernhard Prinz von Baden
Managers: Sebastian Beemelmans and Volker Faust
Managing director: S.K.H. Bernhard Prinz von Baden
Cellar master: Martin Kölble

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