There is nothing that scares me more about shopping in a wine store than the “German Wine” section. I am your average American wine consumer. I am used to seeing simple wine labels with images of animals, vineyards, people, art, etc. on domestic wine, with simple varietal information and maybe some regional information included on the label. German wine labels take a different approach…
I don’t speak German, but holy moly that’s a lot of words on a label. I feel like they are commanding me to buy the wine. I usually run out of the German wine section as quickly as possible due to the feeling of inferior wine knowledge.
Behind the wine and the labels is the German wine structure:
No, it’s not a new entry in the periodic table or plans to build a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a diagram to help understand German wine. Yikes. No wonder the labels are scary.
Germans never seem to do anything the easy way. I know, I’m German. My maternal Grandmother (Meta Goetz…now that’s German) and all our relatives of that generation spoke German more often with each other than English, so I got a good dose of German-ish culture growing up. I also got a close up view of the German mentality. Most of my uncles were farmers in the midwest. You have to be a physically and mentally tough person to succeed at that life. When I think about the family characters I have met throughout the years and taken my own behaviors into account, it’s not surprising to see why German growers decided to plant vineyards (yes, yes I know the Romans started it, but Germans took it to a ridiculous level) on the side of a steep hill. Leave it to Germans to figure out the hardest place to put a vineyard.
I mean, honestly, who puts a vineyard on the side of a steep river bank? Who else? Germans. Like all things German, the vineyards are very precise. I have only walked through a few of these riverside bank vineyards, but I can tell you they are as steep as they look in the picture. I am sure they are difficult to pick. Just the way the Germans like it.
Someday I will conquer my fear of German wine and not embarrass my German relatives. So to all the Goetz, Dittmer, Fuchs and Meinike family members out there, I apologize.
For right now, I’ll stick to the domestic wine isle and hope Meta Goetz isn’t looking down at me with disdain!