Julia Klöckner CDU candidate for leader of Rheinland-Pfalz came to a meeting yesterday at the esteemed wine estate Joh. Jos. Prüm, to find out details of the concerns of the top Mosel vintners about the B50neu / HMÜ. It is hard to ascertain her precise motives, nevertheless she demonstrated an interest and offered to help uncover some withheld information and try to further the much-needed cause of sourcing a proper assessment of the water drainage situation for the world-class vineyards. Not that she will admit to them being world-class – in her opinion they are no different to any other vineyard. That could be because she comes from the neighbouring Nahe region, who also have great wine, but have a tendancy to tend to think of themselves as a touch superior and (like every other neighbouring region) resent the Mosel because of its ‘effortless’ success. (This resentment has been passed down generations for 100 years – today the Mosel is fighting for its life which some even see as cause for celebration.) What she and most other politicians, local people, winemakers, you name it, fail to realise is this: if we can turn around the flagging fortunes of the Mosel region it will be absolutely great news for every tiny winemaker that makes decent wine, and fruitful for all German wine regions across the board. Germany is painfully clawing back its reputation as a serious wine producing nation at the same time as demonstrating it has no feeling whatsoever for its superlative wines. And by the way, don’t go thinking you are allowed to take an interest in this issue as an outsider – Klöckner and her colleagues make it crystal clear that your opinion does not count a toffee. Not even if your name is Hugh Johnson or Jancis Robinson and you are honoured for your expertise by the rest of the wine-speaking world.
After the meeting, Klöckner had to dash off to an election rally by Angie Baby herself in our tiny county town of Wittlich. My, the CDU must think it can muster some votes here. Of course we rushed off there too to join the other protesters, and hoards of young people who reacted as if Merkel was a favourite pop star before rediscovering their boredom level. (She had special dispensation to electioneer in a school, seeing as no other building was large enough.)
Yes, it does say in the small print: Unsere Heimat, Unsere Zukunft. Instead these hollow words offer us only homesickness through backward thinking (Heimweh durch Hinterwäldlertum). Growth, growTH and more darn GROWTH, that’s what we need! (Vines, not roads, silly! Angie, haven’t you heard about sustainable development yet?)
One section of the protest after Angela Merkel had passed by, huffing in surprise: “A demo! What’s it about?” To be sheepishly informed by Klöckner: “The Hochmoselübergang”. CORRECT!
You do realise we are fighting in a time-honoured tradition don’t you? Karl Marx began his political career sticking up for the Mosel winemakers…