Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meeting the Queen

Queen Laura Waltner, Weinkönigin for Zell an der Mosel
(all photos are copyright to Eventful Woman, 2011)

Zell's Weinkönigin Laura Waltner 
It's not often you meet a Queen, but in the Mosel region, there is a good chance you will see one. Like many other towns on the Mosel River, Zell has a Wine Queen (Weinkönigin) and also a Wine Princess (Weinprinzessin).

The role has moved on from being merely decorative. The Wine Queen has a key part to play in promoting the area and its wine, and she makes a significant time committment to attending a large number of events for the town during her reign.

I met with Weinkönigin Laura Waltner recently to pose a few questions. She spoke good English, which she had learned on a school exchange visit to Florida, USA.

What does a Wine Queen do? 
Laura making a speech at an event
When there are guests to the town I greet them. I represent the town, the wine, the wineries and the wine growers. When there are wine festivals in different towns I go there and I represent our own wines.  I'm also invited to wine tastings.

How do you become a wine queen?
You usually have to be the daughter of a wine maker as you need to know a lot about wine making. In the past, there were many girls who wanted to become a wine queen. But, it's a big job in Zell with a lot of appointments [commitments] so it's becoming less that other girls want to do this. I do nearly 80 appointments per year.
Wine Princess (left) and Wine Queen Laura
My father is not a wine maker, although my uncle is. A friend of mine had this idea about becoming a wine princess first, like being an apprentice. There were three of us. We asked the mayor and he agreed to the idea. One of us became the Queen, as she was the daughter of a wine grower and she had a lot of experience and she knew a lot about wine. So, my friend and I became the princesses and 2 years later I became the Queen. Next year in summer it will be 2 years since I became a Queen.

Note the tiara design with the Zell cat logo
How long can you be the holder of the crown? 
Usually the Wine Queen title is for 2 years, but it can be up to 3.  After that, I could try to become the Queen of the whole Mosel area. I am not sure about that because I am going to university and I first want to graduate. I study art and philosophy and I want to become a teacher

In the 2 weeks I have been in Zell, I am aware of at least 3 events that Laura has attended and made speeches at. There have probably been other commitments that I'm not aware of. She accompanies the mayor to many events and helps him with translating (German into English, as well as English into German). I interviewed two wine makers from Zell and each spoke highly of Laura and the importance of her role as wine ambassador for Zell an der Mosel.

Laura's work as Zell's Weinkönigin is unpaid.

Eventful Woman (back to the camera) meeting Wine Queen Laura and two other guests at Zell's new wine festival (federweissenfest)

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