The Staatlicher Hofkeller Winery is located on a square in the heart of the German city of Würzburg. Visitors are greeted by a clear, golden sign in the center of the entrance hall, stating in German and in Hebrew: “Twin Wineries – for mutual understanding, exchange of knowledge and brave friendship.”
The sign marks the moving connection between the 885-year-old German winery and its Israeli twin.
A special tasting of Teperberg 1870 wines was held last week in the fancy wine cellars of the Hofkeller Winery as part of the Twin Wineries project, which is marking its fifth anniversary.
The Twin Wineries project is one of the most fascinating initiatives in the wine industry in Israel. It aims to promote inter-cultural dialogue between high-quality wineries in Germany and Israel, and more importantly – strengthen the ties between the two countries.
The project has created collaborations between wineries in the two countries, shared technical knowledge (in Hofkeller, for example, pipettes were introduced into the vineyards after a visit to Israel), encouraged export and import of wine and promoted wine in the origin country of each of the wineries.
The project was initiated by Baruch and Renée Salzman, the owners of Zag Wines, an exporter of Israeli wines to Germany which is responsible for exporting the products of wineries such as Tulip, Vitkin and others. Sixteen wineries have joined the project so far, eight from each country.
The Margalit Winery was matched to the Heymann-Löwenstein Winery in the Mosel region, the Vitkin Winery to the Georg Mosbacher Winery in Pfalz, the Golan Heights Winery teamed up with the Kloster Eberbach Winery, and Teperberg 1870 – with Hofkeller.
The Hofkeller Winery was founded in 1128 and specializes in white wines in general and in the Silvaner and Riesling grape varieties in particular. Its wines, which originate in the famous Stein vineyard on the banks of the Main River, graced the tables of European royal families and were famous in Germany and elsewhere, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. During that period, German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe praised the winery’s wines, which he considered his favorite.