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From a Cellar Baptism to a Cellar Master


So how do you recover from a terribly embarrassing mistake in the middle of a terribly important test? How about when you're a winegrower-in-training? And it's your practical examination on cellar technique? No problem. You simply go on to take the reins in your estate's cellar. Only makes sense, right? I was really well prepared for that exam — but also super nervous. The real fun and games began when I was asked to activate the pump to rinse the wine tank. And that's when it happened: I pulled the wrong lever, releasing a geyser of water that soaked me to the bone. And not just me, mind you. The pair of examiners had been standing right behind me and were also now dripping wet and befuddled. Thank goodness they took it with grace and humor, and I actually ended up with a mark of 1.5 (an "A") in cellar management.

After that unexpected 'baptism', I'd never have thought that I'd end up being responsible for a wine cellar. Yet that's precisely where fate took me. For the past year and a half I've been running the cellar at my boyfriend's estate. There have been plenty of different hurdles to master over those 18 months. Partially of my own doing, because I was determined not just to maintain the status quo, but to ring in a few much-needed changes. Especially in terms of the wines, which I wanted to bring in line with my vision of winemaking. That bit certainly earned me more than a few odd stares and skeptical comments from my father-in-law, at least at the start. But give it your everything and good things will follow, they say. And my wines are like my children. You raise them, nurture them as they grow and develop and, when they're finally ready, send them out into the world. Seeing them succeed is the part I always enjoy the most.

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Ulrich Sturm und Sabrina Sandt. Foto: Weingut Sturm

Growing Area Pfalz

More information about the growing area Pfalz are available here.