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Berlin is a city that is constantly reinventing itself. Anke Sademann lives there and knows the best wine addresses in the capital. Here, wine is celebrated as casually as it is expertly. The wines are allowed to rub shoulders - and don't always have to accompany.

Many people would like to have a suitcase in Berlin. The capital is also always worth a culinary trip: in the approximately 7,000 pubs, restaurants and bars, young wine hosts of the new generation as well as the pioneers of the first hour show what they have in the glass and on the pan. Berlin is a city of transformation that is constantly reinventing itself. Trends are made here without being vainly advertised. Our Berlin author tells us what this resilient and creatively performative capital city has to offer wine fans.

Wineflight through Berlin

Our tip: Take the S-Bahn or U-Bahn in style and let yourself be gondolaed to the vinophile addresses. Berlin's wine institutions incorporate the city as a space of the all-too-human, including the sometimes somewhat moody directness of its inhabitants, into their locations. The guests - Berliners and locals by choice - are now international, cosmopolitan, sociable and very active. The aura of many restored, transformed or newly built places after reunification thus flows into the glass. Although now rare, the culture of hundred-year-old pubs still exists in some places. They have survived wars and catastrophes, were almost never renovated and radiate a grandeur that in its patinated exoticism exerts an almost reverential attraction on tourists. Time has simply stood still here - at least it often seems that way.

This includes the warmly panelled "Kurpfalz Weinstuben", carved out of dark, dignified wood. In this pub on Adenauerplatz in Charlottenburg, which has remained unchanged since 1935, Berlin celebrities such as Hildegard Knef and Harald Juhnke have enjoyed their "cultivated" pint. In addition to 50 open wines, the cellar holds 800 bottled wine items, from "Kneipwein" - the name for uncomplicated everyday wines in Berlin - to rarities. The focus is on German, especially Palatinate wines "with great vintage depth and a wide range". Innkeeper and sommelier Vincenzo Berényi pairs his vinophile passion with down-to-earth German cuisine, which chef Sebastian Schmidt interprets in a casual and new way. The protagonists of the entire Berlin wine and gastronomy scene meet here for a regulars' table.

Wine Generation X

Berlin's new "wine places" are - just like the old ones - temporary homes, after-work petrol stations or unagitated, urban cosy-casual fine-dining pleasure spots in secluded backyards, former pharmacies, a harbour marina on the Spree bend or converted industrial buildings. The hippest wine hosts are around 30, full of verve and also like to be counter-current swimmers. They serve an eclectic playing field of grunge rock versus classical music, honouring and desocking traditions. Without incapacitating the guest, they meet him at eye level - authentically, empathetically and unpretentiously.

What they have in common is the high product quality, the commitment to sustainability and the close, personal, but also critical contact with their winemakers from the "new generation". These restaurateurs do not see wine dogmatically as a menu accompaniment, but also as a main player. They are willing to experiment and sometimes have exclusive signatures bottled by trendy young winemakers. And: They are in love with their wines - highly emotional they also master the encyclopaedic knowledge about their plants from the berry to the root. So natural, orange and unusual sparkling wines also get their stage.

Berlin drinks white

Can you sum up the taste of this big city with four million inhabitants in one sentence? Here's an attempt: Berlin likes it white and loves German and Austrian wines as well as good French and Italian in the glass. Berlin's self-appointed ambassador of German-speaking growths, wine lobbyist Serhat Aktas, pours Gutzler's Westhofener Steingrube Riesling 2021, filled for him, to accompany the herb oyster crème brûlée with apple red bull and brioche in a Mediterranean-style backyard in Schöneberg. For the artichoke cream soup with tom kha pumpkin seeds, black walnut and fennel, he recommends the Godramsteiner Chardonnay Kalkgestein 2017 by Münchberg.

In the "Bar & Weinwirtschaft Freundschaft" near the busy Friedrichstraße at the former "Nobelhart & Schmutzig" sommelier Johannes "Schelli" Schellhorn and Willi Schlögl, ex-operator of the iconic "Cordobar", the Gemischte Satz Satell 2021 by Jutta Ambrositsch meets Jausenbrot with Liptauer as well as leg ham from the Viennese butcher Thum. Schelli's favourite wine is a Sylvaner from old vines by Tement from Styria, bottled exclusively for "Freundschaft". It goes into the glass with the generously buttered spinach dumpling with tartan cheese. The unfiltered, barely sulphured Riesling Gelber Sandstein 2020 from Scheuermann accompanies the finely soured Lungau organic veal and liver cheese ceviche.

Berlin drinks colourfully

"I like wines with thought-provoking lengths and structures that are more mouth than nose, not just there for a moment and quickly gone again," Willi Schlögl lectures in his equally casual and wine-all-knowing manner. Named Sommelier of the Year 2022 for the second time by the gastronomic trade magazine Rolling Pin, Schlögl professes his "new Austrian identity" with his favourite wine: the Blaufränkisch Reihburg 2018 from Wachter-Wiesler, which really comes into its own with the house and farmhouse goulash.

At the city-famous casual fine-wining sommelier Mathias Brandweiner's Rummelsburger "Hafenküche" in Treptow-Friedrichshain, the Haardter Spätburgunder 2020 by Andres accompanies the butter-tender filet of Holstein heifer. The baked apple with speculoos ice cream and vanilla sauce is served with Riesling Kabinett vom roten Schiefer 2020 from Clemens Busch - "really just for sprinkling on top", recommends Brandweiner.

Ancestral rock with a winery

The "Rotisserie Weingrün" is located directly on the Spree Canal in Berlin-Mitte, between Spittelmarkt and Nikolaiviertel, not far from the new Berlin Palace (Humboldt Forum). For the triad "location-grillfood-wine", the Berlin veteran restaurateur Herbert Beltle bought a vineyard in the Palatinate in 2005, where he and cellarmaster Wolfgang Grün produced his "Horcher wines" for many years. The name comes from a Berlin cult restaurant of the 1920s. It complemented the BBQ menu with cult classics like Paderborn broiler (chicken) and crusty braised belly of Havelland apple pork with hops-malt sauce. Beltle sold the estate in April 2022, and he still has 7,000 bottles in stock until about spring 2023. In the high wine rack, alongside new additions from "classic Europe", there are still the last bottles of his Horcher site wines: Riesling and Chardonnay from 2019. In the meantime, the "new" wines (80 positions) are already on the wine list on the iPad that displays the menu here: Reds from Priorat, rosé from France and Styrian Sauvignon Blanc.

Berlin sparkles

"Wine lobbyist" Serhat Aktas currently offers around 70 German vintners' sparkling wines. Sparkling wine is one of his "rebellious" breaks, where, for example, he serves Buhl's Rosé Brut 2019 in the middle of the menu with the beetroot course and white chocolate. At the end of 2023, he plans to host Berlin's first sparkling wine festival. Mathias Brandweiner would even prefer to drink only sparkling wine with his meal: "The bubbles cleanse the mouth and keep things light," he reveals, as he slides the Pet Nat by Schuh into his glass.

And at "Weinbau Berlin", Giacomo Mannucci serves delicious Tuscan specialities such as sage pesto di Chianti, arista in porchetta (stuffed herb roll roast) and bistecca panzanese from the cult Italian macelleria Dario Cecchini in the pleasantly bourgeois Acacia neighbourhood in Schöneberg. To start, the Quadra Franciacorta Rosé 2017 foams in the glass. Here you experience wine culture with 100 positions from Italy (60 percent) as well as France, Spain and Greece. They are stored in the stylised wine cellar against the wall on lattice shelves with an industrial look. For Mannucci, after wines from Sardinia or Emilia-Romagna, the Moselle and Palatinate come next in the emotional-taste ranking. Many of his purist Italians come from very small wineries, which he pours exclusively. Most of his wines are produced biodynamically - but please no, as Mannucci says, "trübi-funky" natural wines! In Berlin, life concept, space, wine and food belong inseparably together.

The best sites in Berlin's host terroir Anke Sademann's top tips for a great wine time in Berlin.

Nikolaiviertel (Mitte) Rotisserie Weingrün

Gertraudenstraße 10-12 I 10178 Berlin-Mitte
Daily except Sunday from 5 - 11 p.m.

The corner house with neo-Gothic gables sits enthroned on the historic Gertrauden Bridge on the Spree Canal, while the traffic roars next door. Herbert Beltle - a gastronomic great in Berlin for 30 years - invites you to table under the vaulted ceiling. The wine rack is ceiling-high, as is the French flame wall grill. The grill and wine restaurant is a Berlin "Fireplace" with many loyal regulars. 80 European wine positions.

Extra tip: BBQ classics are the Paderborn broiler and the Finnish "nailed" flame salmon.

Schöneberg The Wine Lobbyist

Kolonnenstraße 62 I 10827 Berlin
Sunday, Monday and Thursday, 5 - 11 p.m.,
Friday and Sunday 5 - 00 p.m.

In Schöneberg, sommelier Serhat Aktas has found the right place for his wine bar and fine-dining bistro concept. In summer, the backyard has something of a Mediterranean patio. Inside, you sit in an elongated, purist room lined with wine racks. Aktas has meanwhile expanded his range of mainly German and Austrian terroirs to include Switzerland, Alsace and Luxembourg. In addition to 600 items with single vineyards and matured vintages, there are also 70 German vintner's sparkling wines on the menu.

Extra tip: In 2023, Serhat Aktas will open a bread and wine shop next door. The first sparkling wine festival will take place at the end of 2023.

Schöneberg Viniculture - Osteria Moderna

Akazienstr. 3 in 10823 Berlin
Tuesday to Saturday from 6 p.m.

From small winemakers in Italy and Europe, bottles are stored in the room-encompassing lattice shelves in the wine shop. Giacomo Mannucci from Bologna and his chef Vincenzo Buccafusca serve authentic Tuscan food with finesse.

Extra tip: Twice a month there's a "To Beef or Not to Beef" menu with meat from Antica Macelleria Cecchini.

Mitte-Kreuzberg Bar Friendship

Mittelstraße 1, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
Wednesday - Friday from 6pm, no reservations.

Casual basement bar with 26-metre-long wooden counter and a "wine bible" with 800 positions (focus on Austria and Germany). Willi Schlögl and Johannes Schellhorn mix wine with vinyl here. Small snack menu with high product quality.

Extra tip: Podcast "Terroir & Adiletten": Willi Schlögl philosophises about wine with hip-hopper Curly (on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music).

Kreuzberg Wine bar and restaurant Ora

Oranienplatz 14, 10999 Berlin
Daily from 6.30 p.m.

You feel like you're in a hybrid of Viennese coffee house and Parisian brasserie here. The wooden shelves of the former 19th-century Oranien Apotheke still hold the old pharmaceutical porcelain amphorae. Around 200 natural and organic wines meet an uncompromisingly regional "farm to table" menu at Ora. The wines come from Germany, Italy, Spain and France, but sommelière Amyna's range also includes sustainably produced wines from Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, South Africa and Australia.

Kreuzberg Wine bar Ottorink

Dresdener Str. 124, 10999 Berlin
Tuesday to Thursday 6 p.m. - midnight,
Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Winemaker and chef Andreas Rink has dedicated his wine bar of the same name to his grandfather Otto as a tribute. Here you'll find wines from Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Baden, the Palatinate and the Nahe. They can be tasted in advance. The cosily modulated interior is consistently furnished as a wine cosmos. The treasures are displayed on shelves made of wine crates, and the bar is clad in Moselle slate. In addition to classic snacks, there's regional cuisine as the basis for stylish intoxication.

Charlottenburg Kurpfalz-Weinstuben

Wilmersdorfer Str. 93, 10629 Berlin
Open when the lights are on.

In "old West Berlin", people have been drinking wines from Germany here since 1935. The menu includes wines from the Palatinate, Rheinhessen, Franconia and the Moselle, as well as natural wines and sparkling wines. They go well with fine, hearty snacks and many regional specialities. Once you've discovered this somewhat hidden place with its secluded backyard and warmly paneled rooms complete with sacred stained-glass window ornamentation, you'll want to come back.

Neukölln Natural wine bar Jaja

Weichselstraße 7, 12043 Berlin

At Jaja in Berlin's trendy Neukölln district, only organically produced wines from France and Europe are served by the glass. The owners Julia and Etienne have put together around 200 purist drops on their forays from small wineries, unknown vineyards and almost forgotten grape varieties. Naked Wine is accompanied by a cheese platter and seasonal food to share.

Extra tip: in summer there's a small terrace.

Rummelsburg, Treptow-Friedrichshain Hafenküche (Kante and Hafenkantine)

Zur alten Flussbadeanstalt 5, 10317 Berlin
Wednesday - Friday 9 a.m. - 3 p .m.,
Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. onwards
Wednesday - Friday from 6 p.m.,
Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m.

Located in the City-Marina Berlin-Rummelsburg, this casual fine dining restaurant in a minimalist glass cube has a unique atmosphere. Berlin's wine and food lovers are drawn to the (wine)-culinary home port of sommelier Mathias Brandweiner and chef de cuisine Frederik Grieb. 160 Austrian-German and international items are on the menu, along with many sparkling wines. Outside, you can sit in the marina beer garden "Hafenkante" with mobile cube wine bar during the day.

Extra tip: Culinary excursion to the Müggel and Sedlin lakes with Vulcano ham and fish from the Müritz fishermen, including wine tasting.

Prenzlauer Berg Wine bar Kink

Schönhauser Allee 176, 10119 Berlin
Daily from 6 p.m. onwards

Hip and avant-garde, Kink's location on the Pfefferberg grounds is a true wine authority. Berlin's second-oldest beer garden is lined with old lime trees and chestnut trees. Inside the historic factory building, a 100-metre-long light installation exudes surreal red light. The wine list - from classics to natural wines - is as comprehensive from Europe to the New World as the design of this thoroughly styled and undogmatic industrial location. The urban flair is also reflected in the international menu.

Extra tip: In the adjacent bar with in-house distillates, you can drink wine at the bar in an urban design universe of wood, steel and metal.

Prenzlauer Berg Restaurant Bricole with Lorem Ipsum

Senefelderstraße 30 I 10437 Berlin
Monday to Friday from 7 pm

At the Michelin-starred restaurant Bricole, the menu offers around 200 items mainly from France, but also from Germany and Austria with a focus on Riesling.Fabian Fischer has just been named best host by Berlin's master chefs. In his elegant dining room with stylised firewood logs, sommelière Anaïs Bourg from Bordeaux celebrates the wines in a way that is as enchanting as it is expert. The flavours of the finely elaborated five-course menu are the supporting underscore.

Extra tip: Wine seminars are held at the Bricole at weekends. Next door is the in-house wine shop "Lorem Ipsum" with excellent advice.

Photos: © Anke Sademann

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