7 years in Hamburg
What do you think about so-called “wine etiquette”?
I have a very clear position on wine: there is no “right” and “wrong”. The key is your taste – beyond the story of the product. No other beverage has such a long cultural history as wine: over the past 8000 years it has been produced in so many ways. But it’s also the product of a whole lot of unnecessary rituals. On one hand they speak for the emotional value of the product, but on the other hand they make access to wine more difficult. The product’s glorification can leads to “knowing it better” and disputes over a bottle of wine. Everyone has to give his two cents and it seems the most complicated thing in the world to find the right wine and even more difficult to adequately drink it. I would like to solve this and show these crusted nodes that it is not about rituals, superficial knowledge and rules, but about your taste! The curiosity to try out new drinks and to have fun – and not the “decoration” and the chatter around it are what we want to express. Wine is not nearly as complicated as many people think. “Wine without dress code” expresses a part of our brand philosophy: that we get rid of degenerate conventions that have made drinking wine so top-heavy and stuffy-elitist.
How do you personally recognise a good wine? Does the “story” behind a wine make a difference, too?
The environment in which you drink it often has a great influence on the taste experience. You bring back a favourite wine from vacation and at home it no longer tastes the way it did before. In our industry we call it the “Tuscany” effect – although of course some of the best wines of Italy come from this region. So does my current favorite wine “Juno”, a red wine from there, a very typical Sangiovese. Granted, I was not entirely uninvolved in the development, since “Juno” is the first private label which we have published in collaboration with the Affenfaust Gallery Hamburg and the artist Björn Holzweg. As idyllic and impressive the landscape and the winery during our Tuscany tour were, so sober and merciless shielded from all external factors, our work took. Tastings in sterile rooms, from neutral numbered bottles and bright, neutral artificial light channeled the focus on the pure quality of the wine – and our work. The result is a wine which in our range is now entirely indispensable. One of my favorites!
How did you make the connection Hamburg and wine? Isn’t this traditionally a beer city? Was it difficult or easy to get into the “wine world”?
Although Hamburg is not a growing region for wine, people tend to drink a lot of it here. As in London, Amsterdam, Berlin or Stockholm there are millions of people living here who are value-conscious and who always have been open to “imported goods”. Hamburg is by tradition a city of merchants and trading products from around the world is an everyday business. So is wine. However, consumption still occurs mostly in the middle-class parlors or upscale restaurants. In our wine shop at St. Pauli we show the city for the first time how wine goes without etiquette. Fun and great wines are our top priority.
Photo Credit: Klaas Twietmeer
Drink a glass of wine with Stephanie Döring @ TVino: Paul-Rossen-Straße 29, Hamburg