July 26, 2021

The flood disaster that took place in mid-July in western Germany, Belgium, the southern tip of the Netherlands and Luxembourg has taken the lives of more than 200 people, with another 150 still unaccounted for.

As well as the human tragedy that is still unfolding, the swollen waters of Germany’s Ahr River have had a devastating impact on the wine producers in the valley through which it flows.

According to the German Wine Institute (DWI), which promotes the country’s wine-growing regions at home and abroad, the near-unprecedented deluge of water – a month’s rainfall in 24 hours – has impacted several important areas of wine production.

The institute pointed to the stretch of Ahrweiler in particular, but also the surrounding villages of Mayschoss and Dernau, where flood waters have carried away barrels, wine bottles and machinery. “This has destroyed entire wine-producing businesses and livelihoods,” the DWI said in a statement.

As yet the exact number of businesses affected is not known – and neither is the severity, or the extent to which the disaster will affect the entire Ahr region with its 563 hectares of vineyards. DWI believes this will probably take several weeks to quantify.

German wine region Ahr
The Ahr wine-growing region has been heavily impacted by flooding.

German industry shows solidarity

The institute’s managing director Monika Reule commented: “We immediately offered our help to the wine industry organisations in the Ahr region.” In general, she says she is very impressed and also very grateful for the solidarity that has come from the entire wine industry and its overwhelming willingness to provide help.

The DWI says that many growers from different regions are already on site with forklifts, vineyard tractors or pumps to salvage what they can. External helpers are also on duty for any urgently needed vineyard work in order to secure the upcoming vintage.

Well known producer Julia Bertram, the owner at Weingut Bertram-Baltes, said: “Unfortunately, both the bottle store and the cellar are completely destroyed and everything is gone or broken. Houses are also uninhabitable and partly inaccessible because the bridges over the Ahr were destroyed. We will probably only be able to assess the full extent in the coming days. At the moment we have no electricity, no telephone and only sporadic cell phone reception. We are overwhelmed by all the kind messages and offers of help.”

Appeal goes international

Numerous wine donations have been made already, the sales of which will benefit the affected producers of the Ahr. The DWI is currently gathering the many aid and donation offers on its website as well as generating its own donations in collaboration with its agencies abroad.

For international aid, the DWI has provided the following bank details for donations that will go can directly to the Ahr winegrowers without transfer fees.

Beneficiary (field 59)

Account: DE14 5519 0000 0619 7860 15

Beneficiary: Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH

Beneficiary Bank (field 57a)


Bank Name: DZ Bank AG, Frankfurt / Germany

Bank-to-Bank-Information (field 72)

Account: Mainzer Volksbank eG, Mainz / Germany

Purpose: Donation Ahr Flooding

The disaster in the Ahr Valley came just as German wines had a record year at the 18th Decanter World Wine Awards. As well as expected wins in Riesling, world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay came through from the Ahr and Baden areas. In the tasting notes of the jury it was said that Germany’s wine landscape was beginning to present itself a little more ‘Burgundy’.

The jury made the judgement because a Chardonnay from Baden and a Pinot Noir from the Ahr made it into the top 50 wines in the competition. Both Devonschiefer R Reserve Spätburgunder 2018 (Pinot Noir) from Weingut Kreuzberg (Ahr), and Schlossberg Staufen Chardonnay 2018 from Weingut Fritz Wassmer (Baden) received 97 out of 100 points,

Five other German wines were also received 97 points and were awarded platinum, mainly thanks to Rieslings from Rheingau, Pfalz, Franconia, and Nahe.

The scale of the flood damage in the Ahr Valley as reported by The Associated Press

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