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When the Rhine-Hesse VDP vintner Dirk Würtz (St. Antony) posted a short appeal for wine donations to his colleagues in the Facebook group "Hauptsache Wein", he had no idea that this would develop into one of the largest relief campaigns in the wine industry in Europe. A few days later he knew. In an interview with Uwe Kauss, he reports on tens of thousands of bottles, hundreds of volunteers and a donation from South Africa.

How did you find out about the flood disaster on the Ahr?

Würtz: We produced podcasts for our series "Dieters Weinbar". Meike Näkel from the Ahr winery Meyer-Näkel was supposed to be a guest. We hadn't heard from her for two days, but I didn't think anything of it. We had only heard: there's a flood. I live and work on the Rhine, I know what that is. No drama. But we had no contact with her until the recording date. So my podcast partner Andreas Kunze wrote to her again, and suddenly the answer came: "There's flooding here. We have nothing left but our lives." We couldn't place it at first. Shortly afterwards, more and more bad news came from the Ahr. Then we realised that the situation must be dramatic. On Saturday morning, an acquaintance asked me if I had heard anything about fellow Ahr winemaker Benedikt Baltes. There were rumours that he had been reported missing. Later I found out that he was sitting on the roof of his house waiting for help.