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Wines with a difference at ProWein

ProWein 2015 has a new show feature called 'Same but Different' where ten exhibitors in turn throughout the day will explain why their wine is different to all others - what makes them stand out from the crowd. The product may be just another good wine but maybe the production method, story behind the wine, or marketing approach, is theirs alone.

At this first edition of the Same but Different special show (Hall 16, Stand H11), which includes projects from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Curacao, Spain and South Africa. What these participants have in common is that while they produce and/or sell wine like other ProWein exhibitors, the show organiser believes these wineries offer “something different” in the best sense of the word – be this in wine production or marketing.

ProWein executive director Michael Degen told that the exhibition wanted to “offer a platform for innovative ideas and approaches but also stimulate inspiration and creative exchange of ideas within the sector”. 

Here is a taste of what to expect:

Bodegas Langa – Wine but Soul

Bodegas Langa is the only historic wine estate in Northern Spain’s wine-growing region of Calatayud extending up to an altitude of over 1,000 m. Family owned since 1867, Bodegas Langa produce excellent wines from grapes of up to 100 years old. Their Pl tinto and Pl blanco wines are outstanding. Striking here is the innovative design of the wine bottles sporting the mathematical symbol Pi as a reference to the vineyard’s 3.1415 hectares – where the autochthonous grape variety Consejon has been cultivated for over 80 years now. This so rare grape variety is now being planted again to prevent its extinction.

Brauhaus Gusswerk – Beer but wine

Made it: as frothy as beer, as sparkling as Prosecco, as fiery as amber and as fruity as apple and peach. Brauhaus Gusswerk has created Cerevinum, an entirely new (summer) drink. Select grain varieties, fine natural hops and Zweigelt grape juice have been fermented together. Post-ripening with fine French Champagne yeast rounds off the taste. For Cerevinumonly raw materials from bio-dynamic cultivation are processed by hand as Brauhaus Gusswerk is the first Demeter-certified brewery.

Chanterêves – BurgundAsian

Chanterêves, a micro négociant-vinificateur run by two oenologists, was born in Burgundy in 2010. Tomoko Kuriyama comes from Japan and had been trained and worked in Germany, while Guillaume Bott is the Burgundy-born cellar master at Domaine Simon Bize et Fils in Savigny-les-Beaune. They source grapes to vinify their wines. Chanterêves wines are sold in France, but also in England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and from this year the United States.

The Côte d'Or region of Burgundy offers very little chance for an aspiring oenologist who does not come from a wine-growing family and consequentially has no vineyard in possession to establish a "domaine", and this is the case for both. The vineyards of this region being the most sought after and therefore the most expensive in the world, it is extremely difficult, even with economic means, to find a parcel to buy or even to rent. So they created a "négociant" to source grapes from competent grape-growers to make their own wines. They are a winery without vineyards.

Chanterêves is also unique in that it is a synergy of two oenologists from two very different wine regions and career backgrounds. It is the respect for Burgundy’s long-standing wine-growing tradition and culture combined with a progressive mindset that fuels the project.

Curacao Winery – Cool but Hot

CuracaoWine: wine cultivation in the Caribbean is a new project from two Dutchmen Roelof and Ilse Visscher who have been running a successful wine estate and winery in Holland for 15 years now. Three years ago the idea was born to develop a tropical wine-growing business in the southern-most and warmest part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After years of research early 2014 saw the first plants being planted at the Hato Plantation on the Caribbean island of Curacao. The project was financed by crowdfunding.

Howzit – South African but German

Howzit is a South-African-German co-production and the brainchild of four friends: entrepreneur Paul Barth, VDP vintners Alexander Jung and Mark Barth as well as South African winegrower Jacques Fourie. The pointed and consciously provocative positioning of Howzit as "The Wine by Men for Men” often causes slight indignation, especially amongst women, and is therefore getting talked about, as desired. On the website, for instance, they already send the ladies off shoe shopping at the age checking stage – only "real men" can enter the Howzit Website. The entire marketing and communication approach is very much tongue-in-cheek. Howzit is fun in a glass.

Lukas Krauß – Riesling but Silvaner

Lukas Krauß is exceptional on many counts. He is committed to unpopular grape varieties and uncomfortable political statements. He takes many decisions based on a gut reaction. This produces wonderful wines like the Pornfelder. Lukas Krauß is loud and honest and you will see him rarely if ever in a suit. He talks a different language to others in the wine sector and deals with the entire topic in a very down-to-earth manner. Lukas Krauß loves wine! He classifies his wines according to his own tastes: and you will never see him without a hat on his head. This is his trademark. And hats also categorise his wines. One hat stands for good and two for even better.

Siam Winery 

Siam Winery was established in 1986 by Chalerm Yoovidhya, creator and founder of Red Bull. His vision was to foster and promote Thai wine culture. The challenge was not only in viticulture at a 13° latitude, but in changing Thai perceptions and creating wines that would complement Asian cuisines. His passion and commitment, well aided by a team of global and local experts, have made Siam Winery the biggest winery in South-East Asia.

Siam Winery now produces more than 6.3 million litres of still wine per year, including over 300,000 bottles of its flagship brand Monsoon Valley. Over the years, Monsoon Valley wines have gained consistent recognition at international wine competitions. Robert Parker has rated the wines, and the 2012 Chenin Blanc Late Harvest vintage was awarded a gold medal by Decanter UK. With its dedication and conviction, Siam Winery continues to educate and inspire belief in new latitude wines.

Turns Good – Wine but Rock 'n' Roll! 

As the "No.1 in Rock 'n' Roll Drinks" Metal-and-Wine markets the wines, beers and spirits of the best-known rock bands round the world. The select portfolio includes the likes of Iron Maiden, Motörhead, AC/DC, The Police, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Slayer, Sting, Kreator, KISS and Rammstein. A particular focus lies on quality: the 92/100 points from Robert Parker and even 96/100 from James Suckling (formerly of Wine Spectator) for superstar Sting’s Tuscan wines speak for themselves. Even the Ribera del Duero of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish was selected together with a Master of Wine.

Weingut Meierer – Riesling but Not as We Know It.

Riesling is probably Germany’s most well-known grape variety. Changing anything about these long-standing cultivation techniques is for some tantamount to blasphemy. Precisely for this reason Matthias Meierer is exploring new avenues. “Meierer Projects” are also inspired by non-wine-growers. For instance, since 2011 Meierer has worked with the successful Danish brewer Mikkel Borg Berso (Mikkeller). Arising from this cooperation are a Riesling sour beer and a “beer geek Riesling”. In 2015 Mikkel Borg Berso will even become a vineyard owner in Kesten. Alongside individual projects Weingut Meierer also has an unconventional wine: its Riesling WTF!? shows how a very different type of Riesling can be produced merely by altering one stage in the vinification process.

uniWines – Not just Special Treatment but Fairtrade.

As a value based entity, uniWines Vineyards believes in Fairtrade and the difference it can make in a community. The triple bottom line applies and besides financial profitability uniWines is also concerned about the people and environment. Their Fairtrade brand, Palesa, was shaped to this belief and vision. It reflects the magnificent balance of qualities that characterise women: the softer virtues of compassion and empathy complimented by their stronger virtues of determination and will-power. Palesa embodies the richness and fullness of South Africa women, their unbreakable potential and their exceptional durability. Palesa delivers exceptional Fairtrade quality, made without special treatment just fair winemaking techniques and extraordinary belief in the brand.

9 February 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor