Would You Drink a Nazi Wine???

Posted by: TomHill

Would You Drink a Nazi Wine??? - 09-25-2019 09:23:05

Very interesting article in Grape Collective on Zweigelt wine from Austria:
Zweigelt
Back in the early '30, Dr.Fritz Zweigelt headed the research institute at Kloster Neuburger, tasked to develop new grape varieties particularly suited to Austria. He developed a Blaufrankisch X St.Laurent cross that was particularly good and is now the most widely planted red grape in Austria. He named the grape Rotburger, not a very good marketing name. At the behest of LenzMoser, the name Rotburger was officially renamed to Zweigelt in 1975, in honor of the developer.
It turns out there was a dark side to Dr.Zweigelt. He was a fervent supporter of the National Socialist movement of Germany. When they took over Austria in 1938, he became member of the National Socialist party and espoused their views widely. He was responsible for the purges at Kloster Neuburger that destroyed the careers of many of his colleagues who did not support the Nazi cause. After the war, he was charged w/ treason & warmongering and convicted. His sentence for "warmongering" was subsequently reduced to "oratorical lapses". He returned to Graz & lived out his life quietly, dying in 1964.
As described in the article, there has been some recent detailed research into the wartime behavior of Dr.Zweigelt. There is now a move afoot in the Austrian wine community to remove the name Zweigelt and return it to Rotburger. In fact, some producers (Hannes Schuster, for one) have already renamed their Zweigelt to Rotburger. An official decision is to come in December.
Anyway, a rather interesting article, also touched upon in the "Godforsaken Grapes" book.
So....would you refuse to drink a Zweigelt, now knowing the background of its developer? Would you favor returning the official name of Zweigelt to Rotberger? Would you favor destroying all the memorials to Robert E. Lee in this country?
Tom
Posted by: BEB

Re: Would You Drink a Nazi Wine??? - 09-27-2019 13:55:18

If I were an Austrian, I might have an opinion. I'm not, so I don't. However the Austrians decide this issue is fine by me. It won't make any difference to me. I'll drink the occasional Zweigelt no more and no less. The name of the grape meant nothing to me before and means little more to me now.
(but I do appreciate you posting the back story, Tom.)