Besigheimer Winzerfest 2009

Capitalizing on recent press coverage that suggests Obama's great-grandfather's roots trace back to Besigheim, this local restaurant has set up an American grill/wine-tasting area

Capitalizing on recent press coverage that suggests Obama's great-grandfather's roots trace back to Besigheim, this local restaurant has set up an American grill/wine-tasting area

Winzerfest starts tonight, at 7 p.m. It will go on for four nights, and segments will be televised on German TV. This is a wine festival that occurs every two years, just here in Besigheim. They’ve been primping up the town all week, hanging lights and building tasting stations out of pine timber. There’s one for “sekt” about 25 meters from our front door.

Since my mom lives in the old part of town, we are fully exposed to the wonders and horrors of Winzerfest. This afternoon, I’ll be helping my mom secure valuables from outside, and lock them up in the barn. We’re not even allowed to park her car in her driveway – we had to move it – since we won’t be able to come down the street. It will be full of people, drinking. And because you have to pay to get into the town for the festival, my mom had to go to the Rathaüs earlier to get special badges for us, since we’re residents.

Commenting last night on German wine, Gilles says, “it’s not wine.” To paraphrase, he explained that the Germans extract three times more liquid from the grape than they should – or, there’s a third less actual grape in the wine. I find the wine is nice in general, but definitely tastes anemic. I guess you have to use more grapes to get more substance, and more character.

Gilles was in the wine business in the 80s and travelled about France collecting cases of samples, then exported them to other countries. He tried to convince the locals here to do things differently, or consider improving the quality of the wine. “I told them there’s a reason no one in South America, Australia, the states…will drink German wine,” he says. “I mean, you can drink it to get drunk, I suppose.”

The calm before the storm

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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