We have been following with some horror the failure so far of the campaign against the new motorway and bridge across the Mosel at Ürzig, flanking and almost certainly affecting some of Germany's greatest vineyards. Among wine commentators, Hugh Johnson, Stuart Pigott and I have all done our best to point out the futility and likely ill-effects of this vainglorious project. In the region itself, such winemaking luminaries as Erni Loosen and Katharina Prüm have been lobbying fiercely for a cessation of work on this exercise, a hangover from the Cold War, with the fight actively co-ordinated by Mosel resident Sarah Washington.
It was Sarah who alerted me to a way those of us who wish to express our disapproval of the disfiguring Mosel bridge can register our protest and distaste. A young American Jessica Pierce is embarking on The Mosel Shortcut, a documentary record of 'the globalisation of Germany's Mosel told through the voices of the valley, and the building of a mammoth bridge. The film looks through the eyes of local people as they experience seemingly unstoppable changes to their land, lives and communities. The Mosel Shortcut creates public awareness of the risks and challenges of globalisation on one of the few agricultural regions in the world that has managed to sustain a harmonious balance with nature.'
She is seeking funding for this project and you can donate, even as little as one US dollar, via the crowd-funding platform kickstarter.com here. What I really like about this online plea for funds is all of Jessica's historical background to the bridge project, which I heartily commend to you. It really spells out what a mess this project is.
Part of the reason she is seeking as much as £30,000 is to acquire some better equipment, and editing. She has posted on YouTube some of the interviews she has so far shot with a very basic camera. Her interviewees include Erni Loosen, Reinhard Löwenstein and Alexandra Künstler. I'm assured that the final film will show more of the countryside and work on, and the effects of, the bridge.
Jessica Pierce, a certified sommelier, who has been interning chez Loosen, told me, 'I'm really hoping to breathe some fresh air into this project. I don't believe the fight is over yet. I have been inspired by this place and its people, and I really feel like I have to give something back to the Mosel. I hope we can make something happen here.'
The computer-generated image of the proposed motorway and bridge, above and below, is the work of Philipp Pertermann with Georg Laska. On the right below the motorway is the world-famous Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard.
Crowd-funding such as this is really taking off. Wink Lorch used this method to raise backing for a book about Jura wine recently. The popular new London restaurant Clove Club was backed by no fewer than 50 interested individuals. I wish Jessica the very best of luck with this project.
You can read more about Jessica here and can contact her here.
But, most importantly, consider contributing to her project here.