I’m not really one for beauty pageants, but I think Germany’s Wine Queen pageant is one I can get behind.
The Vinography blog met up with the 2012 German Wine Queen, Annika Strebel, at ProWein, Europe’s largest wine exhibition. Becoming the German Wine Queen is no joke.
”The wine queen program is a remarkably savvy idea that celebrates many of the best things about wine and culture without falling prey to the trashier aspects of many beauty pageants. By celebrating beautiful, intelligent young women that are passionate about wine, the program both serves to attract younger people to the culture of wine, while at the same time demystifying and glamorizing it.”
Wine queens not only have to be lovely and enchanting in evening gowns, but these women must also be serious wine connoisseurs. Wine Queen contenders must pass a series of tests to win the crown. Vinography reports that the hopeful Wine Queen must give an impromptu speech on a randomly chosen German wine region; she must be able to answer questions about the differences between wine regions and grape varieties; perform a blind sensory analysis of a sample of wines; describe winemaking techniques for any type of wine; and make a speech about German wine in English using key words provided by the jury. Phew. I’d stumble over that like a certain 2007 Miss Teen USA contender from South Carolina every single time.
The Wine Queen devotes an entire year to her reign, and according to Vinography, it’s a huge time commitment. Past queen Mandy Grossgarten told Vinography that being wine queen ”pretty much turns your world upside down.” Many wine queens are students who must take a year off from their studies to participate in hundreds of publicity engagements. Strebel recounted that she participated in an underwater wine tasting in SCUBA gear as part of her queenly duties.
Strebel, who is taking a year off from her studies at the prestigious viticulture and enology program at Geisenheim in Hessen, Germany, plans to eventually take over winemaking at her family’s Weingut Strebel winery.