Many thanks to Sarah Washington for this article. Sarah has been working relentlessly to marshall support for stopping the bridge construction project that threatens not only the beauty of the Mosel Valley, but some of the world’s oldest and most treasured vineyards.
Ürzig, Germany – April 26, 2011
On Easter Monday more than 80 members of 40 wineries gathered to answer a spontaneous photo call at Wehlen on the Mosel, to demonstrate their opposition to the building of a towering bridge across the Mosel river valley. They came from more than a dozen of the surrounding villages and towns, as well as the neighbouring wine-growing regions of the Saar, Rheinhessen and the Pfalz. All levels of the industry were represented in the photograph, as small-scale winegrowers stood alongside famous names from the global stage and Germany’s largest wine producer. Many winemakers brought along their families to show that for them this is about defending their children’s future.
They all turn to the new Rhineland-Palatinate government in Mainz with the request that the internationally known and infamous “Hochmoselübergang” should not be built. Their argument is simple: the benefits of the project are too small and the predicted damages too great. Egon Müller, premier winemaker and president of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany’s leading wine organization the VDP, made a special trip with his family from the Saar to lend weight to this demand.
Artist's rendition of the yet-to-be-constructed eyesore.
“How can I explain to my customers that this wine is worth something, when they see that the landscape it comes from is treated with utter contempt?” asked Ürzig winemaker Johannes Schmitz. Many others who were unable to attend the unique event sent messages of support. Peter Jacob Kühn commented on the meeting from the Rheingau with the words: “To create connections between people you do not need to build monumental bridges. This bridge would be a crucifixion of wine culture.”
Great understanding was shown by winegrowers for their colleagues whose vineyards will be directly affected by the planned road, which is set to continue above an 8km stretch of the world’s finest Riesling after crossing the river. “We all know that such massive movement of earth, especially above vineyards, can endanger the water distribution. Up to now it is perfect, as their wines prove,” explains winemaker Clemens Busch from Pünderich.
Michael Willkomm, head of Germany’s largest winery Peter Mertes KG, cannot understand the benefits of a street planned 50 years ago: “With building costs for the proposed route soaring to more than one billion Euros now being predicted by the press, for economic reasons alone this project has no validity.”
“We still have so much potential here at the Mosel with regards to wine-growing and tourism,” Wehlen winegrower Katharina Prüm is convinced, “but to develop this, we need an intact landscape and nature.” Photographer Andreas Durst confirms this: “The image of the Ürziger rock face is world-famous. If there would now be a gigantic concrete bridge standing in the way, that would be the worst marketing possible.”
So all eyes are directed to a new beginning in Mainz, in the expectation that there they also recognize and appreciate the value of a unique cultural landscape.
For further information contact:
Knut Aufermann or Sarah Washington, Tel: +49 6532 953269, +44 7967 329643
Citizens’ Initiative Pro-Mosel: http://stop-the-bridge.org
The Hochmoselübergang is a proposed 25 kilometre-long stretch of highway, also known as the B50neu, between the towns of Wittlich Longkamp. Part of this is the 1.7 km long and 160m high Mosel bridge between Rachtig and Ürzig. During the current coalition talks in Rhineland-Palatinate between the SPD and the Green party, no new building contracts can be awarded for the controversial project. A decision on whether to continue with the project will have to be reached by early May.
YOU CAN HELP STOP THE MONSTER MOSEL BRIDGE!
Sign the NEW petition here.