The record rainfall – two months’ worth of rain in the course of two days – that caused devastating floods in western Germany last week has thus far claimed some 170 lives, with hundreds more injured and over 150 people still missing. Around 40,000 people are said to be affected by the floods, with thousands currently without access to drinking water, gas and/or electricity. Others have been left with nothing, their homes devastated completely. The damage to the infrastructure in the affected regions, from gas pipelines to medical practices to train tracks and railway stations, will take months, if not in some cases years, to fully rebuild.
In the Ahr Valley, a small wine-growing region well known for its excellent Spätburgunder (pinot noir), winemakers have also been affected terribly. Vineyards have been devastated; cellars flooded, barrels, machines and bottles washed away. Entire livelihoods have been lost. If you would like to learn more about the situation in this winemaking area specifically, Valerie Kathawala, co-founder and co-editor of Trink magazine, has reported very sensitively on the damage to wineries and vineyards in the Ahr.
No-one knows quite where to start with recovering and rebuilding the region, or how long it will take. Many vineyards will remain inaccessible indefinitely, and those that can be reached will be difficult, if impossible to navigate during the fast-approaching harvest period. Winemakers from other regions have been incredibly quick to help, both on the ground, pitching in with forklifts, pumps and tractors to try and salvage whatever they can, and also in raising money to help their colleagues in the Ahr. If you would like to support the Ahr winemakers financially, several organisations have set up ways for people to donate money, both in Germany and from overseas. (Further places to donate to that are not specific to winemaking can be found on the SWR website, in German.)
How you can support winemakers in the Ahr Valley
Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates (VDP)
The VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) is a German wine association that promotes the country’s top wines and estates. They have set up an initiative called Der Adler hilft e.V. in order to create a financial aid package to help the reconstruction of the Ahr wine-growing region. If you include your postal address when you donate, they will send you a print of a photograph of the Ahr taken only three weeks before the floods devastated the region.
Donations via bank transfer:
Account: Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V.
IBAN: DE 21 5109 1500 0000 2045 28
Reference: Solidarity Ahr Viticulture
Donations via PayPal:
Reference: Solidarity Ahr Viticulture
The German Wine Institute (DWI)
The German Wine Institute has provided its own bank details, ensuring that overseas donations will not incur fees.
Donation account details:
Beneficary (field 59)
Account: DE14 5519 0000 0619 7860 15
Beneficary: Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH
Beneficary Bank (field 57a)
BIC: GENO DE FF
Bank Name: DZ Bank AG, Frankfurt / Germany
Bank-to-Bank-Information (field 72)
/acc/ Mainzer Volksbank eG, Mainz / Germany
Reference: Donation Ahr Flooding
SOLIDA(H)RITÄT wine offer from St. Antony
The St. Antony winery in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, has started a relief campaign involving fellow winemakers from Germany and further afield. The SOLIDA(H)RITÄT wine package (65,00€) contains six bottles all donated by winegrowers and wine merchants from wine-growing regions in Germany, South Tyrol and Austria. All proceeds will be donated to Der VDP.Adler hilft e.V. (see above).
UPDATE 21.07.21 This campaign is currently paused as St. Antony have sold 10,000 boxes (that’s 60,000 bottles of wine) in 48 hours. Please check the webshop for restocks.
Go Fund Me
Wine writer David Jaeger has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money; all proceeds will be donated directly to the VDP account (see above). A useful alternative way to donate for those based outside of Germany.