Seven years ago I traveled across the globe to study abroad for my MBA. I can’t believe how quickly time flew by! It feels like yesterday I was packing my bags giddy with anticipation to begin my studies in another country.
One of the places I studied was at WHU in Vallendar Germany. Vallendar is one of those cute little towns where the houses look like gingerbread homes and not many people speak English. I loved going to the local grocery store and picking up my fresh berries, Nutella, and vino for the week. It was literally my diet and I was happy as a clam!
My dorm was in a haunted mansion, no joke, for the first week my fellow Ghostbusters and I slept with the lights on until we asked for a dorm transfer! The University was situated at the bottom of the hill and each morning we would walk to campus and at night we would hang out at the local bar owned by an 70 year old couple.
One of my favorite things to do abroad was sample unique wines and Germany has a plethora of vines! As one of the most northerly viticulture areas of the world, Germany numbers among the “cool climate” wine growing countries.
People don’t typically think of Germany as a wine producing country… after all, Germans are known for engineering. But they are meticulously OCD and they take their wine just as seriously by incorporating centuries old traditions with modern technology to create unique and exciting wines. Many winegrowers are also committed to sustainable production and are demonstrating this commitment by using organic practices.
During my time in Germany we took a trip to a vineyard and we were able to meet a local merchant who walked us through the process of making a tasty Riesling. We toured the facility and had dinner inside one of the caves where the Riesling is stored for aging (which also made for fun photos!). In true Brickellista nerd fashion I asked many questions, so I whipped out my my travel journal and here are some bullet points I learned.
- Germany’s most noble grape, Riesling, is capable of producing a wider range of styles than any other grape varietal.
- Germany grows 60% of the world’s Riesling supply–more than 50,000 acres of vines.
- Germany is the world’s second largest producer of Pinot Gris.
- Germany ranks third worldwide after France and the USA in area devoted to Spätburgunder.
The diversity of grape varieties in Germany is impressive— there are over 140 grape varieties and 35 of these varieties are suitable for producing red wine and more than 100 are suitable for producing white wine. The most important varietals are Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).
2012 Schmitt’s Kinder Randersacker “Tradition” Pinot Noir Erste Lage, Franken
This Spätburgunder (aka Pinot Noir) is one of my favorite reds right now. This Pinot is drier with hints of cherry and plums. It’s perfect for sifting through old photos and reminiscing with friends.
2015 Robert Weil Riesling Trocken, Rheingau
This Riesling reminded me so much of the Rieslings I sampled in Germany. My university was situated on the Rhine River Valley which is exactly where the Robert Weil vineyard is located. This is a medium bodied dry riesling and it makes for a nice addition to a summer girls night in!
Anytime I drink a delicious Riesling it takes me back to my time in Germany. Right now Wines of Germany is working on a series of events across Florida called WeinCraft. This multi-city promotion highlights the modern culture of German winemaking to reinforce Germany as one of the world’s most important wine producers. In Miami specifically you can sample some of Germany’s finest wines at StripSteak Miami, Pizza and Burger, and FarmTable Kitchen. All of these restaurants are pouring 3 German wines by the glass through the end of September.
Thank you to Wines of Germany for sponsoring this post.