Get to know Marika and her winery Böhme & Töchter!
24. september 2019. late summer in Saale-Unstrut. the winegrowers are in the last stages of the grape harvest. the summer of 2019 was even drier than the year before. the climate change is not leaving its mark on the so-called tuscany of the north, the Saale-Unstrut region, and makes you fear. fear for yields and fear for the yield of quality wines from Saale-Unstrut.
Together with my cameraman Philip, I use this sunny day to visit Marika from the winery Böhme & Töchter, where wines are lovingly handmade in the third generation.
Marika runs the winery with the support of her family. her sister Toska takes care of all marketing and communication issues. Marika finally got the reins from her father in 2014. But the name 'Böhme & Töchter' says it all - it is and remains a family business! The four-hectare winery is located in Gleina, a small village not far from Freyburg.
even as children the sisters helped in the vineyard and on the farm. so they quickly learned how hard life is as a winegrower. the romantic idea in many people's minds has probably little to do with it. and yet Marika is beaming all over her face when she talks about work and life with her husband, Sandro, and the three-year-old twins. she has arrived.
It was by no means clear from the beginning that she would take over the business in Saale-Unstrut, but after she had studied viticulture and oenology in the famous wine stronghold - Geisenheim in the Rheingau - and also looked at the wine business on the other side of the Atlantic, in the USA, it was clear to her that the valley between the Saale and Unstrut is her home and that there is really only one way to go: to get her hands on it!
we met marika at the foot of the so-called "silent mountains", right at the Unstrut. these correspond to almost every cliché associated with viticulture. rosamunde pilcher couldn't have written it more beautifully. steep terraces covered with vines that seem almost unreal in the sunlight. the grapes taste wonderfully sweet and i wonder how good the wine made from these grapes will taste. however, we will have to wait another year or so until we find out. the hillside is dotted with vineyard cottages, one more beautiful than the other. the wine village of freyburg is famous for this scenery.
Marika leads us through the terraces, along the vines and tells me about her everyday life as a young winemaker and why it is more a vocation than a profession in the traditional sense for her. Every bottle of wine from the house of Böhme & Töchter is created by passionate and careful handwork, the quality of which culminates in the Breitengrad 51 classification. Latitude 51 is an initiative of eight friendly winegrowers of the Saale-Unstrut region, which guarantees the end consumer a product of the highest quality and can assert itself at a high national level.
the winegrowers of the region are not only colleagues, colleagues and competitors, they are friends. a kind of extended family, in which one exchanges, helps and supports each other. the latitude 51 winegrowers, for example, meet regularly to get the best out of the respective wines together. competition plays no relevant role.
Perhaps it is also this community, among others, that brings this satisfied smile back to Marika's face when I ask her what Saale-Unstrut means to her. Home!
and what does this homeland taste like? versatile, if you go to marika. germany's northernmost quality wine-growing region has a large number of grape varieties to offer and the wine in the glass is correspondingly versatile. Müller-Thurgau, for example, grows better in hardly any other region than between the rivers Saale and Unstrut. this is one of the reasons why this variety can often be read on the labels of wine from Saale-Unstrut.
once the grapes have been harvested, they are taken to the wine cellar. that's why we also accompany marika to the winery in gleina. once there, we can see directly how the juice comes out of the sweet fruit and where it is processed afterwards. in the cellar. that's where grape juice is turned into wine. with the help of yeasts, the alcohol comes into play. especially for us, marika once attached the fermentation tubes to the tanks to demonstrate what kind of concert awaits her every morning. when it bubbles properly, it proves that the yeasts are doing their job. and they are!
Afterwards we take a look at the red wine cellar with the wooden barrels. there a barrel with the label T&M catches my eye. since i can't make out anything with the name, i ask what kind of wine is behind it. and there follows a story about how marika's father created a red wine aged in barrique from the grapes cabernet dorio and cabernet dorsa. the grapes alone did not really convince him. together as a cuvée, however, all the more so, since both grapes complement each other to a great wine. this reminded the career changer in the wine business of his daughters and so he called the creation T&M - for Toska and Marika.
Recently Böhme & Töchter can also be found on the spirits shelf. The Leipzig spirits manufacturer produces a vermouth called Mystika from the base wines of the Böhme & Töchter winery. In this context Marika also reveals her current favourite drink.
Mystica on ice with tonic and rounded off with a slice of orange. You can buy the vermouth and the wines from the Böhme & Töchter winery in the market hall in Plagwitz (Leipzig) at Egenberger Food.
I would like to thank you for this wonderful day at the Böhme & Daughters Winery.
If you are now curious about how the wine I am talking about all the time tastes, come and see for yourself in Saale-Unstrut! More information and a few bottles of handmade wine for at home can be found on the homepage of Bohemia & Daughters.