by Markus Stolz

Wine networking

byMarkus Stolz
August 27, 2009, 7 Comments

I recently spent a week in Frankfurt and Hamburg on business where I met quite a few extremely interesting people. Jan Mangold is the passionate owner of a wine shop in the heart of Frankfurt who started this year to present some of the wines he offers through entertaining videos. Dirk Wuertz is a winemaker, and without any doubt the current star of the web 2.0 wine community in Germany. He has a polarizing personality and is never afraid to voice his opinion. Before he started his own venture, he worked as the winemaker for over 6 years at the acclaimed Robert Weil winery. Uli Kutting is reporting on wines on his blog and is full of interesting ideas. In Hamburg, I met with Hendrik Thoma, who is a very well known Master Sommelier. He his also the host of tvino, an internet based wine show that some describe as the German version of Gary Vaynerchuck’s wine library tv. I was delighted to meet with Tara Q. Thomas, the Senior Editor and wine critic of the Mediterranean at Wine & Spirits Magazine. Tara has an extensive knowledge on Greek wines, and has a super down to earth personality. Mario Scheuermann is a famous wine critic and journalist who embraced web 2.0 from the start. The Internet wine scene is certainly buzzing in Germany. I also went to the Weinlounge which is a fantastic, modern wine shop in Hamburg, and the owners are full with energy. It is fun to shop for wines there.

I also had the chance to present a large selection of Greek wines at a German importer. The importer works jointly with thirty members from all over the country, who all own wine shops. Once a year, they all meet over a 4-day period, taste 600 wines and decide on which wines to import and distribute to the members. I was invited for one day to show wines from Greece. I had a separate table at the company’s warehouse where the event took place. The reaction from the people that tasted the wines was one of disbelieve about the high quality. It amazed me once again how bad the reputation of Greek wines still seems to be in Germany. I heard more than once that there is a now the need to rethink the position on Greek wines – currently, not one of the 30 members has a Greek wine on offer. Literally every taster agreed that the complete line of wines shown was superb and consistent, not a single wine needed to hide.

There still are many deeply rooted prejudices out there when it comes to Greek wines. I had the feeling that in the current economic environment, shop owners are more interested in selling wines from better-known regions, even if this means compromising on the quality. As one gentleman put it, my line-up was certainly of higher quality than many of the other wines offered by the importer. That kind of praise certainly made my day.

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About Markus Stolz

Over the last years, I have come to really appreciate Greek wines. There are many grape varieties that exist only in Greece and I have the good fortune of being able to try them all. I wish to share my enthusiasm with wine lovers around the world, who often limit themselves to maybe four red and four white grape varieties for most of their life.

  1. Yangos MetaxasAugust 27, 2009, 11:52 pm

    Dear Markus

    It feels very reassuring to discover someone who treats Greek wine with love and respect. As a small Greek wine producer from Kefalonia, I am fed up with the snobbish approach several foreign wine authors, experts, wine writers etc… maintain (if they do at all) about Greek wine.

    Your articles are fresh, enlightening and to the point. Perhaps the fact that you’re married to a Greek lady and you’ve been living and working in Greece, has helped you obtaining a more profound understanding of things Greek in general.

    Although we’ve never met, I appreciate a lot your efforts in promoting quality Greek wine. If you ever consider a visit to the island of Kefalonia, I would be glad to help you broaden your experience about Kefalonian varieties and wines.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. adminAugust 28, 2009, 12:10 am

    Dear Yango,

    thank you very much for your comment, it is a great advantage to hear the voices of the Greek winemakers firsthand. The wines of Kefalonia are a priority for me, I believe strongly that the grape variety Robola produces terrific terroir wines. I want to visit your island soon to educate myself more about the wine culture there and certainly would love to take you up on your offer. Top Greek wines deserve to be appreciated abroad. Being married to a Greek certainly helps a lot to appreciate the Greek culture. My four children are very much being raised the traditional Greek way, where family above all is the centre of life itself.

    Markus

  3. MartinAugust 29, 2009, 8:28 pm

    Dear Markus and others,

    Maybe you should visit my website http://www.grieksewijnen.com

    I am ther owner of an internet wineshop specialised in Greek wines. My passion for Greece, its products and especially the wines has brough me to start with it in 2008. Indeed, I agree, there is a lot of snobbism in the international winebusiness, but I also have found out that once people have tasted Greek wines, the are convinced! Nowadays we sell about 1200 bottles each month in Holland, and a little in Belgium, and it’s increasing still.

    Several Greek wineproducers have asked me to start the same in Germany…….who knows……if I can find the right person………

    Kind regards

    Martin

  4. adminAugust 29, 2009, 8:48 pm

    Dear Martin,

    thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is inspiring that you have succeeded in building up your business over such a short period of time, and I it is really great to learn about other people being convinced about the quality available in Greek wines today. You are welcome to tell us more about your professional experiences in this matter. Keep up the good work!

    Warm regards

    Markus

  5. […] phase in my quest to promote Greek wines abroad. Up until then, I had presented wines solely to wine merchants and wine critics. The feedback received so far on the quality has been extremely positive. The time […]

  6. Wine Planet Greece | ELLOINOSMarch 16, 2010, 5:51 pm

    […] importers, sommeliers, and wine journalists present. I was delighted to bump several times into Tara Q Thomas (US Wine & Spirits Magazine) and Julia Harding, MW (UK Jancis Robinson). Another great factor is […]

  1. […] phase in my quest to promote Greek wines abroad. Up until then, I had presented wines solely to wine merchants and wine critics. The feedback received so far on the quality has been extremely positive. The time […]

  2. Wine Planet Greece | ELLOINOSMarch 16, 2010, 5:51 pm

    […] importers, sommeliers, and wine journalists present. I was delighted to bump several times into Tara Q Thomas (US Wine & Spirits Magazine) and Julia Harding, MW (UK Jancis Robinson). Another great factor is […]