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Next Week: My First Wine Trip to Germany and Austria

prowein.pngI've always wondered just how many Rieslings I could taste in a single day before my teeth cracked and fell out of my face. I'm about to find out. In a couple of weeks I'll be headed to the frigid banks of the Rhine to engage in what can only be called an endurance sport: tasting as much German wine as possible in four days at the international wine expo known as ProWein.

Italians have their VinItaly. The Bordelais have their VinExpo. And the Germans and Austrians have ProWein. Held in a massive convention center in Düsseldorf over several days, ProWein offers a massive Teutonic tasting opportunity for anyone wanting to submerge their tonsils in everything from Grüner Veltliner to Zweigelt.

The website says "only visitors are allowed that have legitimized themselves." I don't know who decided I was legitimized, or whether this is a formal process I will be subjected to when I get there, but I got an invite to attend this year, complete with a plane ticket, courtesy of the folks who put on the event, Messe Düsseldorf.

Interestingly enough, the event is both focused on import and export. 3,600 exhibitors show up, many of which are German and Austrian producers, but this isn't just a German wine tradeshow, it's a massive international wine trade show. Of course, I won't be spending time tasting New Zealand Pinot Noir while I'm there, but I suppose it's good to know I could if I wanted to. Instead I'll be attending seminars, and plowing my way through the German section of the massive "Tasting Zone" to try a lot of wines I might not get a chance to taste here in the States.

If any of you readers have ever been to this event, and have any tips for me (other than to bring along a spare batch of tooth enamel) I'd love to hear them. And if you're planning on being there, please let me know! I might need someone to huddle together with to avoid getting frostbite.

Since I was headed to this region of the world. I decided I might as well make the most of it. So after ProWein, I'm headed to Austria for six days to brave hypothermia and visit some of my favorite producers there and a few more that I've heard great things about. I'll be spending a day or two in Vienna on either end of the trip, so Vienna tips are also welcome, especially if anyone knows a good wine shop where I might buy some older vintages to drag back with me on the plane.

Comments (9)

02.22.12 at 5:49 AM

Have a great trip to the cool climate appellations in Europe. After my return from a visit to freezing Austria and Hungary I can report that the cold spell is over and spring is on the horizon.
I've been a regular at ProWein and lived in Vienna. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Wine Harlots wrote:
02.22.12 at 8:26 AM

I haven't been either, so I can't wait to hear all about it.
I'm a weather wimp (Seattle native and San Diego transplant) so I swear by shearling boots and a scarf around your neck.
Safe travels and stay warm!

All the best,

Nannette Eaton

John Trnidad wrote:
02.22.12 at 11:37 PM

Alder -

Some of my favorite Mosel wineries will be at the Pro Wein event, including Weiser Kunstler, Peter Lauer, and Clemens Busch. Immich Batterieberg and Gunther Steinmetz are not on the Pro Wein exhibitors list, but it looks like at the very least they will be at at a seperate tasting in Dusseldorf on March 5 - http://www.facebook.com/events/333284180036874/

I visited these wineries last summer, was impressed by the wines, and greatly enjoyed meeting the winemakers. I would love to hear your thoughts on these wines.


Valerian Khouboulava wrote:
02.24.12 at 11:58 AM

This is the largest wine exhibition in the world. Although many German and Austrian winemakers would be there, one could find all kind of interesting wines. Even the Georgian wines made in clay Amphorae. So you would not be disappointed if you find a time to get at Hall 3 Stand G 08 at Georgian Wine Association.On the 4th and 5th of March they will run tasting sessions with wine and cheese at 12:30. On the 5th they will run an event in NRW Forum in the evening.

02.25.12 at 6:38 AM

As soon as I get here, you run away to Europe. :D I know Andre from Adegga will be attending prowein and he is similarly unused to the cold. Lots of my neighbors will be there as winemakers too, but it sounds like you've already got your hands full with the masterclasses and german wines.

Tom Ingold wrote:
02.26.12 at 3:07 PM

We have had some wonderful red wines from Fellbach in restaurants in and around Stuttgart but have not found any in the US (DC area). and have rarely seen any even in Berlin.

Joanie wrote:
02.27.12 at 8:19 AM

I think you're totally legit. Looking forward to your reports back!

Karen wrote:
02.28.12 at 9:56 AM

Maybe you'll see some pinot noirs from the Kaiserstuhl, a grape growing area in Baden-Wurtemberg, in way south Germany. The grapes there grow in soil that includes ancient volcanic ash, I believe, and we've enjoyed visiting the winery Franz Keller on several occasions.

Brian wrote:
03.16.12 at 11:35 PM

I bought a great unoaked Pinot Noir (Spatburgunder, as the Germans call it) from Frederick Becker in the Weingut. You are probably more knowledgeable than me in the wild work of wine, but it was the first time I've had an unoaked PN and it was pretty damn good. Although at something like that I'd be pretty focused on the sweets from ice wines to Spatleses.



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