Fall is here – we cannot deny it anymore and that is what we learned on our trip to Schloss Wackerbarth in Radebeul. After weeks of beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, today of all days our hiking day started with a lot of rain. We had to cancel our hike, but that did not stop us from getting to know the art of wine making at Schloss Wackerbarth. After a short walk from the railway station in Radebeul to our destination, we were welcomed by Fred our guide for this day. First of all he told us many interesting facts about the history of Schloss Wackerbarth and Augustus the Strong, duke of Saxony. He was a man who loved wine and celebration. It is said, that he drank up to five liter of wine a day! For all the work he had his minister August Wackerbarth whose castle nowadays is the home of excellent winegrowers in the northernmost wine region of Europe.
We were already curious about how the wine would taste because Fred was so convinced of its quality and did not miss a chance to tell us. But before that we got an interesting insight into the wine production process. Huge tanks of metal stood in a modern hall, the whole fermentation process was controlled by computers. Not exactly the romantic picture of wine makers in cellars with giant wooden casks. But as we were told, the computer is capable to control the process much more accurate than every human being. Only the tasting remains a job for the wine makers. In the next room some oak barrels were creating a more traditional atmosphere. In these handmade casks from France the wine is stored to create its final taste and quality.
Finally it was time for the tasting. For the beginning Fred picked a rosé wine and taught us the proper tasting technique including wine swirling, smelling and speaking a toast. Afterwards a white wine cuvée and a new wine, a so called “Federweisser” which was only eight days old, were tasted by us. All of them were excellent, so Fred did not promise too much. The time flew by and soon it was already time to take the train back home. We really enjoyed this trip and are now prepared for every wine tasting in the future. And maybe next year we can even hike. (H. Leonhardt)