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by Gisela Kirschstein
Wineglasses and snack are ready when I arrive at Pauser's vinothèque in the heart of Rheinhessen. Yet my eyes are busy travelling through the room, taking in the beautiful couchscape underneath the bright red-and-green painting, the warm colours of the counter, the view into the barrique cellar an through the windows into vineyards and rolling hills. "So sorry, you cannot caress wine" says the inscription on the side of the wine cellar. Well, they certainly come very close to, here.
"The first architect wanted to sell us turrets and lattice windows", Eva Pauser laughs, "I wanted more the straightforward, nothing with chichi." The result: an ensemble of highly modern architecture with rusted iron, modern interior and a wine cellar which works with the force of gravity from above to below. "It's built so that a woman can work it, without using a lot of force", Eva says. Pauser's Quartier they call it – it earned the Great Wine Capital Best of Wine Tourism Award in 2017 in the category of Architecture & Landscapes.
"This winery was actually always run by women", Eva says, shrugging her shoulders. It's one of this typical winemaker's stories from Rheinhessen that features exciting winemakers as hidden champions. Grandma Amanda Pauser was one of the first female winemakers in the area, in the 1960s she started selling wine directly to the customers instead of serving to the local cooperative. In 1978, her son Friedrich ranked among the top ten winemakers in Germany, but hardly anyone knows that.
Eva Pauser sitting in the vinothèque -photo credit Gisela Kirschstein
"He never advertised it", daughter Eva says, "and that's why I thought, when I was 16, 17 years old: We have to get a move and display our values more." Well, she did: Eva became Wine Queen of Rheinhessen and one of the first to revolutionize its function from meet & greet to a modern winemaker's presentation. "I wanted to show that I am no ornamentation, but that I had expertise in my head", Eva says, "I rather worked an hour longer on my speech than standing in front of the mirror." Her own head – Eva had it all from the start.
Being a winemaker was her choice from early on, nevertheless she became an industrial clerk in one of the area's big wineries first, and studied to become a wine technician afterwards. But what changed her life, was a trip to Napa Valley, California: "I came back a different Eva", Pauser says: "Much more confident – and with 'Redwinezest' in the nose."
Since then, her Syrahs, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons have collected prices and fame, although the heavy red wine varieties were rather strangers to the hills of Rheinhessen. "They're never going to grow here", the old said, but Eva wasn't to be diverted. "I knew we have the soil and the climate here", she stresses. Residual soils from heavy clay-loam-sandstone they have around Flonheim, and a lot of sunshine year round. "Bread-dry", Eva calls it.
Eva Cornelia and Friedrich Pauser in the Barrique Cellar - Foto Weingut Pauser.jpg
They are down-to-earth people here, yet also pioneers: Father Friedrich planted Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blancs with a special permit. Till today, father and daughter share the cellar-making – the father for the whites, the daughter for the reds. "I love that work", Eva says, "nothing can separate us." The knowledge from old about vineyards and winemaking is listened-to, and fused with modern ideas. What are her plans for the future, now that Eva is 33 years old and mother of toddler Vincent? Where is she to go?
"To the stars", Eva laughs, and points to the bottle's label. "There's going to be less golden glitter on the new labels", she says, "and we are going to call our different Wine quality levels after stars." Capella, Vega and Sirius, the brightest star in the sky for the highest level, combined with natural colors. "We work among the Good Lord, our workshop lies beneath the heavens - it fits", Eva says. Heaven and earth are having a meeting in Rheinhessen.