Wines of Germany are as vast and varied as the country that makes them, with thirteen impressive regions producing the grapes that go into each bottle. With cooler temperatures and bountiful water flowing from rivers running through the countryside, Germany is ready to share their wines with the world, and at fairly chuggable prices, we’re dialed in to drink them. Well known for their Rieslings, Germany is responsible for half of the world’s consumption of that particular wine, but there’s so much more than just whites when it comes to Germany.
Wine events in Germany may get upstaged by a certain Bavarian beer soaked bacchanal that takes place every fall, but a closer lens reveals a steady wine culture steeped in years of tradition. To represent their unique heritages, each of the thirteen regions has a designated ambassador to speak on the terroir of their respective lands, educating wine lovers on the unique traits of their varietals. Charlotte Freiberger is an official German Wine Princess, a noble title befitting this wine enthusiast. Charlotte has been in the wine business since birth, her family owns and operates a winery that is almost 100 years old, making her a perfect fit for this royal vocation. On her recent travels she led a tasting at Montecito Restaurant to showcase German Wines and weigh in on what it takes to be a wine princess.
Libby Roach- What does a typical wine event look like in Germany?
Charlotte Freiberger- It’s totally different, we have some noble wine tasting, but also some fairs. A lot of young people meet up on the Rhine river and have nice music and enjoy the wines, it’s totally different. We have events where you walk a short distance, and then you have some food, and some wine, and then off to the next destination. Like a traveling wine event.
LR- So it’s more casual, not a seated affair?
CF- Yes, it’s smaller, and more intimate. But there’s a variety of events, some are larger.
LR- Is there a different etiquette to tastings then? As a wine princess are there official duties to oversee?
CF- We’re not at every one of these events. There’s 13 regional wine princesses, so we’re representing and promoting German wines in Germany, and abroad, but not just for our own regions. Every region has their own approach.
LR- And how did you become a wine princess? I feel like my school guidance counselor lied to me!!
CF- First you become regional wine queen, and then once a year there’s an election for the German wine queen, and each of the 13 regional wine queens is part of the election. Then you have to answer a lot of questions about German wines, you have to show you’re able to present about wines in front of a huge auditorium. There’s a jury of 70-80 people they vote in one German wine queen and the princesses. It’s not required to have a formal education, but you need to know a lot about German wines. If you can answer the questions and if you’re the right person for the jury, then you win.
LR- This sounds like it’s rich in history, how long has this been going on?
CF- Nearly 70 years. It was the wine industry’s search for an ambassador, the first queen came from the Pflaz region. The term is only one year long, and the search begins again for a new princess.
Interview may be edited for length & clarity.
Check out Wines of Germany’s behind the scenes video with the wine princesses! Thanks to Wines of Germany for the educational and engaging wine tasting!