Culture of Wine

Wine without Dress Code.

It’s true that the term ‘wine culture’ always evokes the idea of something slightly vintage. Over the past 8,000 years, wine-drinking has become a pseudo-elite culture made up of age-old rituals for aloof people professing to be experts in the field. Wine consumption has always been associated with ‘posh folk’, white tablecloths, chandelier, expensive glasses – and lots and lots of chit-chat. Hardly any other grocery can boast such a wide product range and no other drink has led to as much writings, philosophising or religious debate as this one has. This means the whole world of wine is very vague and is, in the truest sense of the world, corked.

I myself worked in top restaurants until made me decide to make some changes, namely to liberate wine from the world of elitist connoisseurs. That may sound like trying to tilt against windmills, but we at really are trying to give wine a new image for a new generation. A generation that is open and places much more value on quality than on societal norms. This taste for quality is not just found at consumer level, of course. In Germany, we can thank the young generation of winegrowers for this: it is them who have drawn copious attention to themselves over recent years. This generation, whose names and diverse personalities are all known for the authenticity and quality of their wine, have succeeded in awakening Germany from its slumber, steering it away from corporate mass production and moving the focus instead onto independent growers.

This has been particularly notable in the Rhenish Hesse and Palatinate regions. Winemakers such as Katharina Wechsler, Alexander Pflüger, Lukas Krauß and Kai Schätzel are just as much at home in their vineyards as they would be in big clubs and restaurants in the cities.

Katharina Wechsler’s biography seems to have been written backwards: instead of a pursuit of happiness in big cities, she decided in 2009 to give up her successful profession as a television editor in Berlin and move back to her parents’ vineyard in the tranquil commune of Westhofen in the Rhenish Hesse. Her career as a winegrower took off immediately. In just a short space of time, her Riesling became a real insider tip, which now is even celebrated internationally. Her labels are as elegant, clear and timeless as the wine itself. The 2013 Riesling is very direct, not in the slightest bit fined, makes a clear statement and has a noticeable acidity. It is a very energetic wine that is great for drinking on a night out. Alexander Pflüger from the Palatinate region is firmly committed to organic and biodynamic winegrowing. Sustainability and great taste are not oxymoronic for his wines; on the contrary: soil, humans and climate combine here to form an incredible harmony that is immediately evident from the taste of his Blanc de Noir and white-wine cuvée, which is a blend of Riesling and biodynamic Gewürztraminer.

Another gentleman causing quite stir in the Palatinate is the young Lukas Krauß or, ‘the man with the hat’. His unconventional wines, such as the ‘Pornfelder‘, a red-wine cuvée made of the Portugieser and Dornfelder varieties, turned him into a true Palatinate celebrity overnight. A winegrower and real oddball who we will most likely be hearing quite a lot about in the future. Kai Schätzel, who is now one of the classics of the new generation, has once again made a name for himself with his excellent Riesling in places such as Nierstein in Rhenish Hesse. Kai Schätzel’s tireless efforts to produce perfect flavour have earned him numerous prizes and awards over the past few years from renowned specialist magazines. He cheekily sees himself as ‘ambassador for German Riesling expertise’.

All these winegrowers may just be the start of a new wine culture. A culture that stands for unconditional quality, openness and individuality.

These new winemakers are acting as representatives for the many new talents that we at offer and present with our range. At Weinladen, which is our wine bar at 29, Paul-Roosen-Strasse in Hamburg, all these talents can be experienced live – by the bottle, in a glass – and with no dress code.

For more information on events at Weinladen, go to: or email: is our wine partner for the Heimat Kitchen+Bar at the 25hours Hotel HafenCity Hamburg.

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