The evolution of wine for a better and tasteful future – Valentin Blattner, Jürgen Graf and Martin Buchholtz – FMS22

Graf von Weyher

Wine experts – Valentin Blattner, Jürgen Graf, and Martin Buchholtz also visited us during Food Meets Science 2022. Martin Buchholtz (Harte Liebe) dedicates his energy and a whole lot of craziness to the food, wine & event industry. Jürgen manages the vineyard Graf von Weyher, which his family has been running since 1788. Jürgen is the driving force behind re-inventing the vineyard in the 21st century. Valentin started his search to find disease-resistant grapes in viniculture in the 1980s and is best known for developing the grape variety Cabernet Blanc in his Soyhières nursery in 1991. These gentlemen together on stage were a real explosive mixture and their talk was bursting with wine knowledge.

The speakers began their speech with a short toast, and Martin acted as the moderator of the entire discussion. The topic of the speech was: “The evolution of wine for a better & tasteful future”. The discussion began by contemplating the age of Cabernet Sauvignon. The audience made various suggestions but no one guessed it: the wine stain turned out to be older than they thought.

In 1982, Valentin decided to stop poisoning the environment and plants with plant protection products. The thought came to him to start genetically modifying plants to make them resistant to disease. Valentin did not think of it as a world revolution but something he would do for himself. His first success came in 1991, after 9 years. The first plants survived and the taste of the wine turned out to be good. Valentin joked during his speech that taste is something very personal, but he was not proud of the first results. Valentin talked about how laborious it is to multiply wine. He said the results were not always satisfactory. The final cross-breeding was in 1998, and approval in a test vineyard was in 2001. Many of his grapes have not yet been launched and are still in the tasting and testing phase.

More sustainable way

Jürgen, during his part of the speech, briefly told the story of his family and its wine traditions. He said that he could see how climate changes based on his grandfather’s story about the wine harvest. Jürgen and his brother jointly developed new vine-growing variations and became the first vineyard officially growing the newly developed Cabernet Blanc, a grapevine that requires 80% fewer pesticides. The first drinkable wine was established in his vineyard in 2008. In 2012, the vineyard’s wine finally received an official European certificate.

During The Best Chef 2022 events, we had many opportunities to taste the wine from this Graf vineyard. The advantages of wine that has been grown include stable acidity, adaptation to climate change, and 80% fewer pesticides. Despite their success, the men did not stop working. Climate change is not easy for growing wine, and life presents them with constant challenges. The presentation also ended with a beautiful sound – the clatter of wine glasses and another toast to new challenges.

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