Wednesday, October 19, 2022

45th Anniversary of the German Wine Society at the German Embassy in Washington DC, October 7, 2022, Germany/ USA

The 45th Anniversary Celebration of the German Wine Society in the USA took place at the German Embassy in Washington DC on October 7, 2022, organized by the German Wine Society/ Washington DC Chapter, with 13 wines from all 13 German wine regions. 

Embassy chef Daniel Labonne provided a menu of delicious German-style foods in several courses chosen to accompany the wines.
We had the following wines, covering all 13 German wine regions, including Sachsen, Saale Unstrut and Hessische Bergstrasse. The wines from these 3 regions Annette and I had to bring ourselves to the USA, as wines from these regions are not (yet) available in the US market.
nv Hild Elbling Brut Sekt 
First Flight: Trocken Duo from the East
2021 Pawis Riesling Quarzit trocken, Saale-Unstrut
2020 Tim Strasser Rotling trocken, Sachsen
Second Flight: Trocken Duo from the West
2021 Kloster Eberbach Chardonnay trocken, Hessische Bergstrasse
2020 Donnhoff Weissburgunder trocken, Nahe
Third Flight: Whites Beyond Riesling
2020 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Kalb Silvaner trocken, Franken
2020 Wörner “Steillage Weiss” (blend of Riesling and Müller-Thurgau, trocken), Baden
Fourth Flight: The Trend Toward Reds
2019 Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder (trocken), Ahr
2021 Beurer Trollinger (trocken), Württemberg
Fifth Flight: A Pair of Spectacular Spätlese
2020 J.J. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese, Mosel
2018 Spreitzer Winkeler Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese, Rheingau
Sixth Flight: Auslese Grand Finale
2019 Müller-Catoir Haardter Herzog Rieslaner Auslese, Pfalz
2018 K.P. Keller Rieslaner Auslese, Rheinhessen
2004 Ratzenberger Bacharacher Wolfshöhle Riesling Auslese, Mittelrhein

Report by Carl Willner (President and Secretary/ German Wine Society - Washington DC Chapter and First Vice President and Secretary/ German Wine Society - USA): On the evening of October 7, 2022, starting at 6 pm and running until about 10 pm, the German Wine Society celebrated its 45th Anniversary as an Oktober Weinfest tasting and dinner event at the German Embassy House in Washington, DC., a very fitting location since the GWS began at the German Embassy in 1977.  

The event was organized by the Capital Chapter of the GWS, and was the best attended GWS event since it has been possible to reopen to in-person events following the covid pandemic; indeed, attendance was higher than almost all GWS events in the several years preceding the pandemic as well.  We had 70 people registered to come, and 72 people actually present, since not only did all the people registered come, but two longtime members showed up without a recorded registration and were admitted since they said they had sent in a check before registration closed, which was unfortunately never received.  

This incredibly popular event was sold out within a week of being announced, unparalleled in my experience. We had in attendance 55 Capital Chapter members, including all current board members, as well as 6 Delaware Valley Chapter members including National President Beth Sheligo, 8 non-members, and 3 Embassy guests including Minister-Counselor Astrid Jakobs de Padua and Consul General Dr. Niels von Redeker, who delivered very entertaining welcoming remarks during the reception at the start of the event.

During the patio reception at the start of the meeting, while sekt and salmon canapes were being served, the GWS conducted its election to the National Board of Directors.  Beth Sheligo and I delivered reports on the state of the Delaware Valley and Capital Chapters, and the meeting dispensed with a reading of the previous meeting minutes, as well as reports from the Secretary and Treasurer in Hanne Caraher’s absence (Beth did report that the state of the GWS finance was solvent).  The slate of directors proposed was unanimously elected.  Three longtime directors, Executive Chair George Marling, Secretary/Treasurer Hanne Caraher, and Alice Fitz, have now stepped down, and have been replaced with three new directors, Christian Schiller (Vice Chair of the Capital Chapter), Ken Belsley (Treasurer of the Capital Chapter), and wine writer Jason Wilson of the Delaware Valley Chapter, so that the National Board remains at full strength.  The three remaining directors from the prior board, Beth Sheligo, Barry Boothe of the San Francisco Chapter (who could not be present), and I, were all re-elected as well.  

The National Board subsequently met on Zoom to choose officers on October 9, and reelected Beth Sheligo as National President, myself as 1st Vice President, and Barry Boothe as 2nd Vice President, while also selecting Ken Belsley as Treasurer and myself as Secretary to replace Hanne Caraher in her two roles.   Jason Wilson agreed to take on the webmaster role and work to restore and update the National website, together with myself and Ken on a website committee.  George Marling was awarded the honorary title of Emeritus Chair to enable him to have a continuing role in the Society at the National level, even though he is no longer an elected member of the Board.

The dinner commenced about 7 pm in the Embassy House, and guests enjoyed the traditional tasting of 13 wines from each of the 13 German wine regions, including 2 Spatlese and 3 Auslese wines, with 10 whites, 2 reds and a Rotling white/red blend being served.  Several of the wines were from single vineyards, and there was a good mixture of dry and sweet wines. I am attaching to this report the menu from the event, so as to provide full details on all of the wines.  

Chef Daniel Labonne and his staff provided a very tasty four-course menu that paired well with the wines (and the Capital Chapter Board had played a major role in choosing), including a first course of potato and leek soup, a second fish course of Branzini with spinach, a third course of pork medallions wrapped in bacon with red cabbage, spaetzle, and lingonberry sauce, and a selection of three mini-desserts. 

During the dinner, Annette Schiller provided very informative remarks on the flights of wines (unfortunately difficult for many to hear due to the size of the group in the Embassy House and ongoing conversations, leading us to think that an investment in a portable microphone would be worthwhile), and at the end Jeff Wheeler of the Friends of the Goethe Society also provided some remarks about his group.   

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