27 August On Thursday 25 August Dr Carl von Schubert from the the Maximin Grünhaus estate was elected new president of the VDP Mosel. The vice-president is now Dorothee Zilliken from the Geltz-Zilliken estate. Egon Müller and Nik Weis who, as explained below, resigned over the botched membership approval for Markus Molitor and the Lubentiushof, remain on the committee. This picture from the VDP website shows Carl with his son Maximin on the estate, whose origins go back to Roman times.
Over the next few days Jancis and I will be hard at work in Wiesbaden tasting the keenly anticipated 2015 Grosses Gewächs in Wiesbaden. We will of course be publishing a full report.
14 July At the beginning of this month a number of German papers reported the resignation of the executive of the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The president of the Federal VDP (Association of German Predicate Wine Estates) released a statement in which he declared that the disagreement that had emerged between the executive and the rank and file members of the branch was unfortunate, and he urged both parties to get back to the negotiating table and resolve their differences.
From the first press releases it was not quite clear what these differences were, but they appeared to relate to a vote taken on the possible admission of some new members. A proposal for the acceptance of new members may come either from the federal executive or from the respective regional executive. The proposal has to be accepted by a majority of two-thirds of the voting members. If accepted, the respective estate(s) will then be contacted to find out whether they accept the invitation to join. The next step consists of a formal inspection of the estate to establish whether it meets all the standards and objectives the VDP has set in its constitution. If the result is positive, there will be another vote and this time only a simple majority is required to award member status.
On Monday 4 July I was able at the prestigious Veritable tasting at St Martin in the Pfalz to obtain the details of this acrimonious split from a very reliable source. It appears that a majority of members of the VDP Mosel rejected the two estates of Markus Molitor (pictured below) and Lubentiushof as prospective fellow members. I could not quite establish why, but the possibility that they were rejected on the grounds of wine quality can be completely dismissed. Both estates have proven over more than a decade that they belong to the absolute elite of Mosel producers. President Egon Müller of the Scharzhofberg estate and his deputy Nik Weis from St Urbans-Hof, who had backed the proposal, felt compromised by the refusal of these new members and instantly announced their resignation.
It is hard to understand why a majority of members would vote against the acceptance of two estates that would have added nothing but prestige to the reputation of the Mosel VDP. There were whispers that some feared competition. The only acceptable solution would be a re-think by some of those who declined the proposal. If they insist, it would not only cause friction with the federal executive, but more importantly within the regional branch itself. If Müller and Weis do not return, whoever puts themselves up for election are certain to be suspected as the instigators of the negative vote. This would lead their branch into relative isolation at a federal level and with other regional branches. In this case, standing still means being left behind!