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Garmisch Partenkirchen. It's eight o'clock on Sunday morning. It's beastly cold, the gondola to the Zugspitze is ready for the descent to the summit. On board is the German wine queen Petra Zimmermann, almost ten young winemakers from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Rheinhessen and a total of eight Riesling vines over 50 years old.

Slowly, the gondola starts to move. Metre by metre it goes uphill. The air gets thinner, the view more breathtaking with increasing altitude. The mood is good, all the climbers speculate what awaits them at the top. Will the weather cooperate? Is the snow right? Will the wine taste good in sub-zero temperatures?

Will the wine also taste good at sub-zero temperatures?

German Wine Queen Petra Zimmermann adjusts her scarf and pulls the zip on her winter jacket to the top stop. Smiling, she says: "I hope everything goes smoothly today, as this is my first time standing on two boards. But it will be fine, we'll have a glass of champagne on the Zugspitze first." Everyone laughs.

A brief review. Two days ago, the young winemaker Alexander Lörsch was still standing in an overgrown vineyard on the edge of the Trittenheim pharmacy. His mission: to bring the vines for the Riesling slalom to the Zugspitze undamaged and in full bloom. The slope is steep, very steep, and it is difficult to dig out the vines with half a metre of roots. The plan: vines are to be used to mark out the course for the slalom in the snow. The vines are transported in a bag of wet peat by bus as close as possible to the Zugspitze.

Finally - a real wine trip

Now, two days later, everything has worked out. The summit is in sight, just a few more metres to Germany's highest point. From above, small pieces of ice patter onto the roof of the gondola. Finally arrived at 2692 metres above sea level. Now everything has to happen quickly. Everyone pitches in - the ski equipment has to go on the slope, the vines have to be planted in the deep fresh snow. In addition, the wine for the tasting and the meal afterwards has to go into the snow to cool. Included is a double magnum bottle of Mosel Riesling sparkling wine for the winners of the slalom.

Gerhard Eifel, initiator and idea giver of this unusual action stands on the edge of the Zugspitz plateau and says: "I have always dreamed of this. We were on the Eiffel Tower in Paris with our Riesling World Tour, we were in the Amber Room in St. Petersburg, we were at the Cape of Good Hope at the southernmost tip of Africa and today we are here." He pauses for a moment, then calls out, "All clear for take-off, we're off in three minutes."

A few rays of sunlight penetrate the somewhat hazy sky at over 2,700 metres. Imposingly, the first vines ever on a glacier stand firm in the snow.

The demanding course requires the utmost concentration

„3, 2, 1 ... Bang" - the starting signal is given. Young winemaker Stefan Sander from Mettenheim plunges down the slope. Left, right, left, right - he'll be at the finish line in a moment. A few leaves fall into the snow. He is at the finish. Best time. 1 minute 23 seconds. But where is Petra Zimmermann? Six starters and half an hour later Petra Zimmermann is at the start. The wine fans from all over Germany are cheering for her and keeping their fingers crossed. The tension rises. She shoots off. First vine, second vine - it still looks good - third vine, the most difficult part is done, but then suddenly, a wobble, an uncertainty and she falls. There she lies, the Queen of German Wines, in the middle of the snow.

Gerhard Eifel and the rest of the young winemakers rush to her. Excitedly, one asks, "Did something happen to you, did you hurt yourself?" With a smile on her face she replies, "I'm OK! I'd go back on the ice for the German Riesling any time."

And when will this discipline become Olympic?!

At the award ceremony, Petra respectfully hands over the trophies and then it's champagne showers for everyone. A group of Albhorn horn blowers, who happen to be passing by, join in the fanfare. In the middle of the champagne party on the Zugspitze, young winemaker Christian Spohr from Worms takes the floor and explains: "So that was just the start with the Riesling slalom. I'm already looking forward to the second one on the Matterhorn or in Sölden. Who knows, maybe in three years we'll be off to Salt Lake City in the USA. We will definitely work on that." A Riesling slalom as a permanent winter sport on the most beautiful mountains in the world, isn't that what every winemaker has been dreaming of for a long time?

Here is an excerpt from the live report:

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