On the fifth day of the CNU Wind Ensemble’s Germany tour, a few of the old fogeys cheated. The students were scheduled to attend a series of lectures at the Mannheim Musikschule. An alternative option for the older crowd was provided by Michael Schäfer, one of our hosts at Sembach. Turns out that a previous conductor of the Sembach Band runs a local winery, the Weinparadies Freinsheim, and Michael offered to take us there for a tour. You can guess which option we chose.
Frank, our guide, is president of the cooperative that owns the winery. He started us at the stainless-steel chute where fresh grapes are fed into the process. An augur at the bottom of the chute takes the place of the traditional foot-stomping. From there we traced the journey through the entire facility, from grape to glass, stopping at no less than five points along the route to enjoy a healthy-portioned tasting. Interesting fact: The cellars were used as a bomb shelter during WWII. The children were given a sparkling grape juice in their wine glasses, so don’t have a conniption when you see the pictures of them looking all suave with their beverages. We finished our tour with lunch in the attached restaurant. The food, the wine…everything was spot-on. Michael even brought some bottles along for the train-ride back to Sembach.
Back at Sembach, we were reunited with the students. They gave us the side-eye for skipping the lectures, but all that was quickly forgotten as our Sembach hosts feted us for a final time as a send-off. I’ll say again that their hospitality was staggering. After dinner and a few beverages, the students all headed home for a final night with their host families.
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