Michael Prince Salm, proprietor-vintner of Schloss Wallhausen in the Nahe and president of the VDP for nearly 17 years announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down from the latter post early next summer.
Salm expressed his satisfaction at the "forward looking" state in which he has been able to leave the VDP's classificatory statute and at the high level of worldwide recognition and esteem accorded the VDP. (See Germany 2005 – my second report for some reflections on the VDP and its current classificatory achievements and ambitions.)
In consideration of the planning that must go into the celebration of the VDP's centenary in 2010, and believing it important for the president of this association of top German growers to be actively involved as a vintner in the vineyards and cellar - tasks which are already undertaken by Salm's son Constantin at Schloss Wallhausen - the Prince concluded that the time was propitious to pass the reins to a leader from the next generation.
The VDP presidium has unanimously recommended the choice of renowned Pfalz vintner Steffen Christmann as Salm's successor.
Salm's long tenure as VDP president has almost surely been unprecedented for the vigour and vision with which he pursued his duties and the long-ranging influence of decisions that have been taken under his tenure and with his direct involvement.
In addition to spending more time with his wife, six children and enormous extended family, the Prince pointed out that he looks forward to continued active management and other involvement in several foundations - unrelated to wine - with which he is associated.