The Philosophy of Wine

One of my favorite excursions was the Institute’s trip to Josef’s wine cellars and vineyards in a smaller area just outside of Vienna. Hermann has taken many groups to tour the area over the years, and even at AAIE reunions, it stays as a favorite  activity to past program participants of AAIE.

The entrance of a wine celler
The entrance of one of the MANY cellars in Austria

Josef’s philosophy of wine is very down to earth; humans do not need wine to survive, but they need it to live. To have good wine, one must take care of the land that grows the plants as happy grapes make good wine.

Wine is used to bring people together, and when you prost (cheers) with people over a glasses of wine it is a very special moment because no matter what or where life has taken every person, for a moment, they can all share in the virtues that the wine brings.

Hermann stands near a wine barrel while Kara stands and listens next to him
Hermann describes the wines before we taste them

Josef first took us to one of his fields where he told us about different stories about wine grapes. We even learned that every wine grape plant is half European and half American.

We then had the opportunity to try some wines straight from the barrel.  Delanie, a Wine Studies minor, did the honors of sucking the wine out of the barrels with a special tool.

Delaine posing with the tool she used to take wine out of metal barrels
Delaine’s minor definitely came in handy; Josef is in the back

After all the wine tasting we all sat together and shared bread, cheese, meats, and more wine in a room in one of joseph’s cellars.

Meat and cheese plate on a table in front of four candles
We managed to finish two of these plates and lots of bread!

It was amazing to see all the Austrian culture surrounding the wine industry. Josef’s cellars itself were an interesting experience and it was a great time learning about not only the process of producing wine but also the philosophy behind it.