Back in 1975 I finished the program at the wine making and viticultural school in Neustatdt, Germany. In Germany the class goes through the course of study as one group. We all are in the same class and the teachers come around to us rather than each of us going from class to class, like here. You can imagine that the bonds between me and my class mates become very strong. Upon graduation, all of us along with our Professors did a 10 day bus trip through the wine regions of France. To this day, they get together at least once a year. They also schedule a big trip each year. Over the years my class has gone to Alps skiing, visited New Zealand winemaking regions, etc. Often when I go back to Germany they will schedule a class gathering. Now everyone comes with their families and the gatherings can be quite large and fun. It seems in Europe, friendships are slow to be made, but once made are for life. I’m very fortunate for the ongoing class friendships I have. This year we will be employing the son of one of my class mates (Weingut Kurt Wolf from Grosskarlbach in the Rheinland Pfalz) as an apprentice to work in our California winery much the same as I did in Germany 37 years ago.
After their visit to the UC Davis experimental station I invited them all over to our place in St. Helena and we did a second tasting through our wines from our Napa Valley Riesling to our Amador Zinfandels and Barberas finishing with our Forte and Angel Eis. It was great to be able to give back some the wonderful hospitality I experienced while I learned how to make wine in Germany. Luckily, I have still held onto my German speaking skills. They left Jana and me with a bottle wine produced by them at the school. it was a 2010 White Blend produced from Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Kerner. Jana and I opened it last night. It was fabulous with our Chicken Marsala.