It is confirmed - in February, I will be going to Germany with the company to taste the 2009 vintage in barrel/tank. It is the first preview of the new vintage, and we'll be there for 12 days to visit all the estates represented by Rudi Wiest Selections.
It will be my third time visiting this part of Germany, my second time there in the winter, and also my second time as a Rudi Wiest employee. It will be interesting. Interesting not in the way it would be if I were headed next month to a wine region I had never been to, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, or Tuscany, but interesting to see what else I can learn about German wine culture on a third visit. Last year, I learned how different a feel it is to go there in the winter. Being in the countryside gives me a definite feeling that these are the months Persephone spent with Hades in the underground. The ground is red-brown, the vines are brown sticks in the ground devoid of fruit and leaf, the air is frigid in that cold way that doesn't feel like the coldest I have ever experienced (no, that would be Edmonton, Alberta in Canada), but in a dormant, coolish way that means this is not the best time to visit the Mosel and the Rhein, unless you were doing the important work of finding out first hand how the vintage was.
It will be indeed interesting to find out what I can learn now that I will be going the second time in a row in the winter. I will know what to expect weather-wise and landscape wise; I won't be so shocked that the plump, gorgeous green vines with their heavy, juicy fruit will be mere shells of themselves, the river and the sky grey. The locals will be huddled in their homes and wineries with thick clothing and a layer of heavy cloth covering the doorway to block the draft, instead of outside inviting you for a walk or a climb through the vineyard.
I will keep my eyes, ears and mind open to the German vineyard and cellar in the wintertime. I look forward to good photos, great wines, and lively discourse.