The Saxon Elbland is one of the smallest wine growing areas in Germany and one of the northernmost in Europe. On about 460 hectares, wine is grown there - only the Hessische Bergstraße has even less area. The vines are located in the region around Dresden, mostly on land northwest of the city with the Zwinger and Semper Opera House north of the 51st parallel. The winegrowing culture is centuries old, but was only resurrected after the fall of communism in 1989. In their book "Winzer und Weine im sächsischen Elbland" (Winegrowers and Wines in Saxony's Elbland), the well-known wine journalist Rudolf Knoll (Vinum, Gault Millau) and the ZDF editor Britta Binzer portray this exciting region in an entertaining and clear way.
After a loosely written review of the history between the Elector and the VEB, the authors present the impressive number of grape varieties grown, including the Saxon specialties Elbling and Goldriesling, and this is followed by 22 sensitively written portraits of the most interesting vintners. The culture of leisure vintners, which has continued since GDR times until today, is also given adequate space, and finally Knoll and Binzer look behind the scenes of Saxon viticulture. They introduce associations, their work and past, tell about people and their art of improvisation. Besides the sometimes freezing, often unsteady weather, this heritage of the GDR shapes viticulture like in hardly any other growing region. There are no wineries here that can look back on an unbroken, centuries-old tradition. They are, according to the authors, mainly enthusiasts, convinced, stubborn and artists, who tackle their problems sometimes in painstaking work, with courage to the gap, intelligence and pragmatism. The lack of necessities for many years and the new beginning with the turn of the century has shaped many years of their lives, and thus they have now established a new wine-growing tradition. Knoll and Binzer describe this with many examples.
Besides the knowledgeable and nice to read texts, the good photos of the people and landscapes really make you want to organize the next wine tasting near Dresden. After all, there's plenty to discover. Sometimes only at second glance - but the book allows the reader in advance. So, sitting relaxed in an armchair, you can go on an exciting wine discovery tour to Saxony. It is a beautiful and instructive journey.
Rudolf Knoll, Britta Binzer
Wines and vintners in the Saxon Elbland
Edition Sächsische Zeitung