Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


The past does not always have to be so distant. Let us go only 12 years back in time.


In Viktoriapark The Mayor of the Borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (the two were merged into one in 2001 when former Berlin East and West met and wed across Oberbaumbrücke) is busy. Franz Schulz, who still happens to be holding the post today, treats the people of the borough to small glasses of “home-made” Kreuzberg wine.

Known as “Kreuz-Neroberger”, the wine has been made in the park and at the Bezirksgärtnerei (the borough plant nursery) in Methfesselstrasse since 1970 (in the first year only 11 bottles were produced!). But wine was produced  on the sides of today´s Kreuzberg (the hill) as early as in 1450 and that, meine Damen und Herren, makes Kreuzberg vineyards older than those of California, Australia or South Africa (cheers, Stellenbosch and Napa Valley!)

However, looking for the bottles at your local wine shop or the nearest supermarket will prove fruitless.

The good news it´s cheaper than Penfolds 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet, which, Google tells me, will cost you at least one healthy kidney. And at 109,000 Quid or 135,000 Euros per bottle it´s meant literally. Unless your name is Rockerfeller. “Kreuz-Neroberger” will cost you nothing. But that´s where the good news end.

The local wine Made in Kreuzberg is produced in truly minute amounts (some 200 bottles per year these days) and will be presented as a gift to the VIPs (for example, to Kreuzbergers celebrating their 100th birthday) and the guests of the borough. And as such it cannot be procured for hard currency, thank you. Unless…

Unless you were prepared to make a donation of at least 10 Euros to the borough´s Kasse. In return you would be treated to a small amount of the local drink.

For example, to the 2007 Spätburgunder (pinot noir) whose taste –  according to the cellar master, Peter Scheib – “is dominated by absolutely splendid, dark fruit aromas. Most notably by raspberries and blackberries but there is also a touch of smoked bacon in it. The taste is fresh and very wild on the roof of your mouth. One could say typical Kreuzberg.”

One could. I guess you know where to find me next Friday evening. Charmed by raspberries, blackberries and smoked bacon, my pocket money goes to charity then.


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