For Valentine's Day, how a chocolate and wine pairing made for a meet-cute that is now writing a new wine narrative in the Nahe.
Volume 18, Shake It Up
Like you, everywhere we turn in wine, we hear of downturns and softening markets, anti-alcohol campaigns and pro-wellness initiatives. Data suggests that all but the most moderate alcohol consumption should be taboo. Every day drinkers are getting that message. In Germany, for instance, per-capita consumption dipped from 19.9 liters to 19.2 — the equivalent of a full bottle of wine — in 2023 versus the previous year.
But there is plenty of ground for optimism in the pieces we offer here in Volume 18. It comes from people and places who are shaking things up, like Matthias Aldinger in our cover photo. Whether it’s the revival of a long-maligned grape (see Rainer Schäfer in “What You’re Still Getting Wrong About Trollinger”) or the transcendence of a celebrated one (Simon J. Woolf on a new wave of Spätburgunder in the Ahr) these are points of development, not regression. Speaking of development, Lauren Johnson-Wünscher returns with a follow-up to her essay on the realpolitik of Rudolph Steiner inspired by a visit to an experimental farm in rural Austria. Aleks Zecevic looks at where new energy is emerging from Südtirol-Alto Adige; Bart de Vries explores the “Ziereisen effect” at work in Swiss wines; and our senior contributing writer, Christoph Raffelt, returns to pull back the curtain on Germany’s exceptional Sekts sourced from Burgundian varieties.
This is, to be sure, a moment to examine what wine means to each of us. Is it merely a delicious channel to relaxation at the end of a long day? Something to reserve for rare moments in high temples of cuisine? Or is there something much deeper at work: the transmission of culture, values — and above all pleasure? Paula explores these questions and more in her examination of how Austrian wine fits into the canon of global greats and whether the time for such a canon is over.
We hope this volume will challenge you to think harder about what you’re putting in your glass — and why. As you weigh your own decisions around wine consumption, consider going beyond a.b.v. Evaluate for yourself wine in its larger context. Wine labels show finite volume, while the understanding we ourselves bring is infinite. Embrace the uncountable. And enjoy!
Paula and Valerie