Update – long overdue

Apologies for languishing in a gloomy sulk for so long. There has been nothing hopeful to report over the past few months, the bridge site is being made ready for building to begin, and I couldn’t bring myself to extinguish the fervent hopes of others by documenting the progress of such monumental stupidity.

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Here you can see the prepared site for 7 of the piers, and in the second photo the ambitious reach of the bridge. Despite the depressing situation, the fight is not over. Campaigners, vintners and wine critics have not lost faith in the resurrection of a critical gaze that could ultimately prove capable of upturning the monstrous applecart, even though the current suspension of sanity by the politicians of Rheinland-Pfalz and the Federal German government shows no obvious route to political resolution.

Whilst existing infrastructure in Germany crumbles about our ears (especially, many road bridges are in dire need of reinforcement), and while residents of a nearby area clamour for the completion of a half-built motorway to relieve their put-upon villages, the money goes instead to the ruination of one of Germany’s greatest cultural assets. The celebrated ‘man-made cultural landscape’ of the Middle Mosel, where for more than 2000 years grapes have been farmed, Riesling developed, and the art of winemaking gradually exalted into creating what is often regarded by critics as the best white wine region of the world. On a visit to the bridge site, the esteemed and best selling wine writer Hugh Johnson said if he could save any vineyards from deliberate destruction it would be these.

To recap: A giant bridge in the worst possible location will destroy the look and feel of the region. The 6 miles of vineyards affected by the motorway (not called a motorway as such, to distract from objections) will suffer unfathomable consequences to their water provision as the the road destroys the water table above them. The noise and particulate pollution will further damage the image of the region and the perception of quality of its superlative wines. And for good measure, the steep slopes of the area offer a wholly unknowable (and mostly untested) building ground that is prone to slide, potentially risking disaster for vineyards and residents alike. Yet the government assures us this adds up to a boost for tourism, so what’s not to like?

Our campaign is a natural home for highly creative people. We can very easily conjure up a number of alternative plans, any one of which would enable most of the existing building works to remain and cost a fraction of any recompense needed to stop the project. This would prevent the somewhat expected nightmare scenario of the recklessness grinding to a halt with a few bridge legs already standing – due to a complete collapse in the project’s spiralling finances down the line. I would like to try to encourage support for the promotion of such a viable and wonderful alternate reality, so that (at least in my own mind) something fantastic can be brought into existence. I know it is only a dream, I have discovered how difficult it is to bring power to bear on politicians of every stripe. I have to do something. When you actually see this landscape, you know for certain that the bridge has no place here. The planners have only looked, they have never seen.

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3 thoughts on “Update – long overdue

  1. Dennis

    A lot of your statements are simply not true……such as "the road destroys the water table above them" it is simply not true, as studies have shown…..I would agree, that we do not need the bridge if the Mosel had the same initial situation as for example the Ahr with Cologne and Bonn directly next to the region…But that is not the situation…and this why the Mosel has to suffer from dying wine estates, because they can??t simple not make enough money to make a living from selling wine……you should keep that in mind! so why the bridge ….because people are lazy and want to sit in their car drive easy from A to B ….and the bridge will guarantee that!Something that you you and your friends never say is that Germany had signed years ago the European Transport Infrastructure Plan , which says that Germany has to build the bridge. No matter what!Pro mosel and the other protesters are only arguing against the bridge, but not making an alternative Plan …… also thank you for making this whole thing look like the bridge will paving the whole Mosel.we are talking here about what 1km ? and what about the other 240 km? due to the mosel ribbons you will not even see the bridge when you around the next ribbon!As for winegrowers like Loosen who are simply not in the need of more tourists, since they are selling most of their wines not in the region itself, they??ll call against the bridge.The people who are directly effected by the bridge, since more tourists will come to the region (just compare it to Winningen!) , these people are desperately waiting for the bridge!Please note that only a handful of around 500-1000 people in the region are against the bridge, the rest does not care or is pro-bridge.As thinking about all this, I really have to say that the protesters like you have harmed the image of Mosel worldwide even more, than the bridge could ever do…..

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  2. Anonymous

    Thanks Dennis for your disinformation. Please show me the precise studies you quote that demonstrate there will be no damage to the water table. In fact, please show me any study that relates to the water distribution, because from RLP I have only seen one about the water situation which was laughable, woefully inadequate and did not address the pertinent issue "Will the vineyards below be affected?" Nor did it even have accurate data on where the water table actually lies, let alone bother to assess how it functions! Yes sure, there is a ‘study’ for every colour of willful ignorance.There are many reasons for wine estates not thriving as they should, and could, and these can be laid firmly at the foot of the German Wine Laws and the inability of the winemakers to rally together and support effective marketing of the amazing wines many of them produce. Every single person who newly discovers this area is astounded that they have never heard of this region – within Germany or without. Many have expressed gratitude for their new discovery through our awareness raising campaign: as is shown by the recent increase in tourism and wine sales in the affected villages. International newspapers are sending correspondents here to write about the wonders of the region – why oh why can those responsible within the region not get the kind of positive press coverage we have so far generated? Is it laziness? Ignorance of the tourism and wine markets? Lack of appreciation for what surrounds them? A poor assessment of the value of the region, which if promoted correctly (and without much cash) could revive the fortunes of the region almost overnight? (Did you know that this region is the current hot destination being pushed by every estate agent for British house buyers looking for a bargain home and better quality of life? Wonder how they discovered it, oh yes in all our British press stories and BBC coverage! DUH!)Our campaign has put the Mosel on the map in London, New York, Tokyo and Beijing, to name a few of the bigger fish. We get emails from all over the world urging us to save this region for the benefit of humankind. We have tens of thousands of supporters, but they are spread around the globe so cannot help us on the ground.Wake up Dennis! Do you really think this bridge promotes tourism? We alternative plans coming out of our ears, but do you really think anyone in government wants their profitable-for-someone (certainly not the taxpayer) schemes undermined by the likes of us? This is an ideological battle pure and simple. Same old politics of false hope and quick profit.For the record, which politician came up with the ‘paving the whole Mosel’ metaphor? It is not even worth the time it takes you to type. Read any press story and they even show you a map of the location. Those who swallow the propaganda wholesale don’t win any arguments. 230 Km of standard vineyards. 10km of the best in the world to be entirely paved overhead. The road is to run above them, but I guess those who don’t bother with even basic research are doomed to remain ignorant.Growers like Loosen fight the bridge because it may affect the quality of their wines. Plus the bridge will put off visitors and is an insult to the beautiful wine landscape, which is quite spectacular at that particular spot. Do you think Loosen does no marketing for the region and brings no clients here? You have zero knowledge of the customer base for the best Mosel Riesling. They love this landscape, more, they ADORE it! As does each and every Pro-Mosel campaigner. Which is far more than the majority of locals do, as you are admirably demonstrating. If the bridge is built, you are welcome to your shortsightedness. If on the other hand you realise what a jewel we have here that could easily turn the valley’s fortunes around to the benefit of ALL, and you decide you want to further its cause just remember: a little positivity goes a reeeeeeally long way.

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  3. Matthieu G

    So much nonsense!Dennis, you don’t understand a word about what you are writing. Not a single true study has been made on the impact of roads on the environment. And you know why? because the preliminary results are catastrophic. Big roads are crossing trough every single agricultural zone in Europe so if we would release true studies, guess what would happen? All the studies done in France at the INRA for example, concerning the impact of road on wine has been cancelled… all of them. So don’t speak nonsense. Then, you are just stupid speaking like this about wine estate and again you don’t know a word of what you are saying. Wine is the most value producing agricultural product and it is 100% impossible to move to an other area. It is an asset, the most valuable one. Many estates have no problem living from they work ESPECIALLY in this area of the Mosel. This area offers the highest quality for Riesling, in the world! and the prospectives are big. Take into consideration that the best moselan wines (not auction) are sold around 30??? the bottle (for Auslese). In Burgundy (equivalent level of quality), the best wines are sold around 160??? the bottle. All the wines coming from ??rziger W??rzgarten, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Gaacher Domprobst, Berncasteler Doctor… could easily reach 100???/bottle, especially with the development of Chinese market where they fit perfectly the food.All of these perfect terroir will be impacted by this stupid and useless road. So this is mere stupidity. You put in jeopardy a terroir that existed 1000 years buy a bridge and a highway that have no use (or at best very very little use)… truly that is just stupid.

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