Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Suedburgenland Winemaker Embraces Crowdfunding.

Uwe Schiefer, a rare and passionate combination of excellent winemaker and great businessman.

That old adage of: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. is true indeed. The last few years have brought forth disastrous weather conditions. Hail and frost, nature's henchmen and assassins for vines.

Winemakers love wine. Love the process and love the challenge of making great vintages. Walking as I do all year round, I often see them meandering about in their vineyards, inspecting, cajoling, imbibing and hoping for a great harvest. The few times that nature's henchmen drop by, it hits them hard. Vines and their grapes are not just a business to them, but a part of them.

Uwe Schiefer started off small sixteen years ago and has expanded ever since. His wines are sold locally and he also exports to various countries around the world. He didn't grow up on a wine estate but went to Hotel school and worked himself up to head Sommelier in one of Vienna's top restaurants.

He loves wine but wanted more then just to drink it, he yearned to make wine with his own individual nuances in each vintage, bottle and sip. He decided to enroll at the wine academy in Rust and afterwards started his vineyard with guts, determination and his passionate love of wines.

Eisenberg, our area, has a great combination of natural minerals and clay in the ground ( even the Romans made wine here ) which translates wonderfully into the various vintages. Ironically, those of us who have the privilege to live here forget how good the wines of our area are as opposed to those who've never had a chance to even taste a sip of them. Well, here is your chance. By the way, the short video clip gives you a glimpse of our beautiful wine growing region.

Crowdfunding Uwe Schiefer

Crowdfunding. Uwe has set up a crowdfunding account. On his side it helps him over the obvious business hurdles caused by the henchmen and on your side ( when you purchase a lot ) you will get a chance to drink his awesome wines. Delivered to your door. Easy, isn't it?

The various winemakers in our area not only make great wine, but also provide much needed local employment. So, imagine how great you'll feel when you sip Uwe's wine, knowing your help with crowdfunding might save someone's job.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Age Of Tannies And Ooms.

A sobering state of affairs.

South Africa has many official languages including Afrikaans. Yes, it is one of its official languages, mostly unknown in the rest of the world except perhaps in London. Quite a few South Africans try and do a gap year in London, sandwiched between the end of school and beginning of university.

Afrikaans has many aspects of respect in it and the main one being:

If you talk to somebody who ( appears ) is at least 10 years your senior, you address them as either Tannie ( aunt ) or Oom ( uncle )

A friend of mine, who was in his early 30's at the time met a pretty student and tried to chat her up. Suffice it to say that while he was expecting her phone number, he merely got a one liner with the word Oom at the end of it...

Even the acclimatized German spoken in South Africa has adopted this custom. Oh yes, there is a big German community in South Africa ( many German settlers arrived in the 19th century ) and when you have to juggle at least three languages ( English, Afrikaans & German ) in your daily life, you are forgiven the odd adapted phrase or custom.

It was rather fun to see the reaction of Germany tourists being addressed as Tante or Onkel during conversation or just while being helped with directions. Germans are sticklers for social etiquette and at times it takes years before one is allowed to use the first name of a person. Yes, silly, isn't it? Much easier with the English language and its universal you.

The German version of Oom & Tannie is the polite Sie, which is used in conversation with people who appear much older than you.

Yesterday I was having a long chat with a girl in her early twenties and honestly, in my mind I didn't feel that much older, yet I did almost stumble when she addressed me with Sie. It's the small things which make a big difference and when Tannie, Oom or Sie is used on you for the first time, you realize just how much!