Thursday, 8 November 2012

An Indescribable Folly

This may not be the finest piece of writing on my blog, primarily because I haven't written most of it, but even voices as eloquent as those of Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson OBE barely begin to convey the concentration of narrow minded, short sighted and thoughtless decision making involved in the €270 million folly that is the Hochmoselübergang (Upper Mosel Crossing).

The concept of forcing a highway, a tunnel and a 1.7km, 160m high bridge through what are unquestionably the world’s finest Riesling vineyards is surely the apogee of cultural vandalism. There would be an international outcry if a similar road building project were suggested to cross the Gironde and plough right through Pauillac, but, because the enjoyment of German Riesling tends to be the preserve of the wine enthusiast, its imminent plight has barely raised a murmur in the media.

I’ve been following this saga for the last couple of years, feeling ever more impotent and angry as time has progressed. Setting aside selfish motives to protect what are amongst my favourite vineyards anywhere, I cannot comprehend how such environmental brutality can be imposed upon so fragile and unique an ecosystem that has been carefully tended and nurtured for well over one thousand years.

My apologies, but rather than rehash the work of others, I’m going to provide links to concise and well-written pieces from other authors and wine makers listed chronologically.

The background:

From Rebecca Gibb:

From Ernst Loosen:

From Hugh Johnson:

A stirringly poignant criticism of the project in a speech given by Hugh Johnson:

From the highly informative website of the Pro-Mosel Action Group (, this webpage displays series of pictures showing the affected areas before and after the construction of the bridge, just roll your cursor over the arrows below each image:

A map showing the route of the B50 Neu road and
bridge, showing the vineyards which will be affected
by the pollution and by the inevitable, irreversible
damage to their hydrology and geology.

From the articles listed below, you can clearly see the on again, off again nature of the project over the last two years (with thanks to, Jancis Robinson and Sarah Washington):

And then came the news of the last few days:

As I wrote in my recent post (Prüm And Proper), wines from this exact area are some of the finest produced anywhere; this latest news makes my heart feel leaden and makes my stomach churn. I really wish I knew of some meaningful action to take to counter this shameful violation of winemaking history.