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Old, Local, Wine


April 12 , 2008

Written April 13, 2008

Dear Friends and Families,


We live in the Franconia region of the state of Bavaria, here in Germany. Locals consider themselves Franken first and Bavarian and German after that. Franconia is an old region, one of the delights for us after coming from California where places are called old as soon as the paint dries. Franconia is also a wine region, like our original home back in Northern California. Today, we discovered a connection between old, California, and wine.

A couple of days ago, we were driving back from a day-trip to Frankfurt and,as we neared home, off to the right of the A3 autobahn, Marianne spotted a picturesque vineyard, set in a forested hill, with a grand building at the top. It struck us to be a location just like the French vineyard restaurants we have enjoyed, so we resolved to do a little research.

Research nowadays means some form of Google. We chose Google Earth, "flew" over the autobahn until we saw a likely location, and then zoomed down and discovered it was indeed a vineyard restaurant and hotel: "Behringer, Das Winegut und Restaurant". Of course, there was a website so we continued our research.

Here is where dyslexic typing intervened. Instead of "Behringer", I typed "Beringer", and was led to an entirely different wine world, the Napa Valley back in our other home country. The Beringer website proudly describes the California family winery's 130 year history, "the oldest continuously operated family winery in the Napa Valley". In California, 130 years is old, real old. The site describes how Jacob Beringer left home in the German Rhine wine region and, eventually, he and brother Frederick made their mark in the New World.

Meanwhile, a half hour from our Pommersfelden home, we found out what "old" means to a German branch of the Be(h)ringer family. This winery was established in 1634, almost 250 years before the planting of the cousins' farm in the New World.

Today, the Franken wine Behringer vineyard may be more humble than their rich American relatives, and the websites are hardly comparable, but it is a wonderful stop for a Saturday lunch. The menu is typical for the Franconia region and we each had "Scheufele und Klöse", one of the traditional Franken meals. I suppose the Beringers in California might call it pork shoulder and potato dumplings , but I can't imagine anyone in Napa Valley serving such old-time home cooking; definitely not Kalifornia Kuisine.

The Behringer setting was delightful, even on a gray spring day. We can imagine how nice it will be later in the year, when Bavarian summer gets a little more California-like. A little.

You should come and visit! In the meantime, here are our April pictures.

Restaurant Entrance

Views into the valley and up the vine-covered hills
A wine-press, built in 1695 and a barrel end, commemorating the winery's 350th anniversary.
We forgot to take a picture of the Scheufele, but the table was well set. And, of course, one can not visit a winery without a purchase.

So, see us in the summer, and we'll go back to our own little piece of the Napa Valley.


John and Marianne.

Das Winegut


The Winery


The Local Village, Near the Winegut


The Local Valley, Near the Winery



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