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Wine world responds to Ahr disaster with overwhelming solidarity

08/03/2021

The flood disaster in the Ahr Valley has led to an unprecedented solidarity amongst the entire wine world with the winemakers affected. In order to communicate the numerous relief efforts as quickly and widely as possible, the German Wine Institute (DWI) immediately set up an overview page that lists all campaigns, offers of aid and accounts for donations.


As the central point of contact for media representatives and wine specialists from home and abroad, initially many inquiries specific to the viticulture situation in the Ahr were answered from the Institute’s headquarters in Bodenheim, as communication in the disaster zone had collapsed. DWI employees also went, together with countless winegrowers from other wine producing regions, to the devastated wine villages for several days to help those affected.

Global commitment

The German Wine Institute has called on its 14 foreign agencies to report on the devastating damage to the wine industry of the Ahr in their respective markets and to launch fundraising campaigns. For this purpose, an account was set up with Volksbank Mainz for money transfers from countries outside of Germany. They have generously agreed to waive all transaction fees, so that the donations reach those in need without any deductions. The USA representative of the DWI has also launched an appeal for donations via the GoFundMe platform, which has already brought in more than $22,000 and is being promoted under the motto “We Ahr One”.

Numerous wine merchants around the world have also launched fundraising campaigns, following on from the DWI initiative. These have often taken the form of wine auctions or donations from the proceeds of sales, all to aid the producers from the Ahr.

In the Netherlands and Russia, importers are working together with sommelier associations to organise tastings of German, and particularly Ahr, wines with the entrance fees being gathered as a donation.

The Russian DWI representative organized a flash mob under the hashtag “WeAhrTogether” in which 60 wine merchants and sommeliers from all over the country expressed their solidarity with the flood victims.

Many of the DWI's foreign agencies have also raised funds, bringing in a total of more than 20.000 euros.

SolidAHRity

One of the first and extremely successful relief campaigns in Germany was #solidAHRität, which Dirk Würtz from the St. Antony winery in Nierstein initiated via social networks. His call to winemakers to donate at least 60 bottles of wine for surprise packages was spontaneously answered by so many producers and people buying to contribute to the cause, that orders for 10,000 packages were placed within 48 hours and the campaign had to temporarily pause. From August 2nd, there will be more packages to order, because in the meantime, in addition to German producers, wine producers from all over Europe are now participating in the campaign, so that around 150,000 bottles are being pledged. They will be packed into 25,000 boxes and sold for 65 euros per six-pack. In order to cope with this logistical challenge, the DWI arranged a hall in Bodenheim and sought further sponsors, for example for the shipping cartons. Hundreds of volunteers are now working with the DWI employees to help package these wine donations. Messe Düsseldorf (organizer of the ProWein trade fairs), iC-Haus (manufacturer of integrated circuits based in Bodenheim) and the DWI have agreed to cover part of the shipping costs.

"Flutwein" campain

The “Flutwein” campaign is another outstanding relief effort for the Ahr wine producers. It was founded by the regional organisation Ahrwein e.V. and Linda Kleber (from Kleber's Kitchen and Garden in Neuenahr-Ahrweiler). It sells “original silted” bottles salvaged from the inundated cellars and storerooms. Over 8,000 packages and individual bottles have already generated around one million euros, which will be donated to the association "Ahr - A wineregion needs Help for Rebuilding e.V.". Their account is also cited by the DWI as an official donation account in Germany:

AHR- A wineregion needs Help for Rebuilding e.V.
IBAN: DE 94 5775 1310 0000 339507
KSK Ahrweiler MALADE51AHR

In addition to the above campaign, the Ahrwein association has also recently initiated the "#SOLIDAHRITÄT" wine project under the leadership of Dagernova Weinmanufaktur, with the support of Rotkäppchen-Mumm sparkling wine cellars and the Peter Mertes winery. From mid-August, 260,000 bottles of wine carrying the brand name "#SOLIDAHRITÄT" will go on sale in stores for € 7.49 per 0.75 litre bottle. The proceeds will flow into the reconstruction of the vineyards and wine-making businesses in the Ahr region.

Other selected relief operations

Der Adler hilft  (The eagle helps)

The Association of Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) has also opened a dedicated donation account to support all affected wine producers on the Ahr and organized help on site through its wine estate members. https://www.vdp.de/de/der-adler-hilft-ahr

SOMMs help Ahr winemakers

The publishing house Meininger Verlag has combined their efforts with the German Sommelier Union under the motto "SOMMs help Ahr winemakers". Sommeliers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have donated wine treasures that the publisher has sold for 200 euros per package. The CIVB, the bureau for the promotion of wines from the Bordeaux region, has also contributed with a donation of 1,000 bottles. The proceeds of the campaign will fund new barrels for damaged wineries. https://www.meininger.de/wine/sommeliers-helfen

100 for 100

The wine merchants Wein Wolf and Schlumberger provided the Masters of Wine Caro Maurer and Moritz Nikolaus Lüke with 100 cases of wine, which they brought to customers along with the Bonner Generalanzeiger (daily newspaper for Bonn region) for 100 euros a delivery (“of course we will happily accept more”). It was such a success, the packages sold out immediately, so another 150 packages are being put together.

There are also many other donation accounts and fundraising campaigns from wine producers who, for example, donate sales proceeds to the Ahr. As far as known, these are listed on the DWI donation overview page. Further aid campaigns can be registered at onlinekommunikation(at)deutscheweine.de.

Geisenheim helps!

In order to support wine businesses as well as those in gardening and landscaping to secure the source of their livelihood, the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences has organised a pool of expert students, graduates and university members who will actively help out in the Ahr over the next few months. Thanks to a donation from Sibylle Fraund and an endowment at Geisenheim University totalling 60,000 euros, a small wage, transport and accommodation for the helpers will be ensured.

More information: Dramatic situation in German wine region Ahr - help for wine producers

More news

Beginning of August a further 140,000 donated wine bottles are packed for the solidAHRity-campaign. Wine producers from all over Europe are participating.

The flood disaster on the Ahr has led to an unprecedented solidarity of the entire wine world with the affected winegrowers.

The DWI's USA representation has, among other things, launched an appeal for donations under the motto "We Ahr One" via the GoFundMe platform, which has already brought in almost 22,000 dollars.

Numerous colleagues from other wine growing regions and volunteers from all over Germany help the wine producers at the Ahr with their work in the vineyard.