From 24 to 26 April, students from agricultural schools in twelve European countries battled it out at the 14th Europea Wine Championship which was held in the Moselle. Growing vines, winemaking and wine tasting: they had to have an answer for everything!
Supported by a European exchange programme, the Europea Wine Championship takes place every year and this year it was in the Luxembourg Moselle where the students met. The epicentre of their tests was in Remerschen, in Domaines Vinsmoselle’s cellars, the Caves du Sud.
No specific training course for viticulture is available in the Grand Duchy. So two mixed teams were created: with pupils from the Hotel and Tourism School of Luxembourg (École d’hôtellerie et de toourisme de Luxembourg, formerly Diekirch Catering College), Georges Albert (22) and Philippe Kaempff (24), and Ettelbruck Agricultural and Technical School (Lycée technique agricole d’Ettelbruck), Claire Pletgen (19) and Lynn Vanden Bergh (20). Their academic education didn’t mark them out as firm favourites; however, by dint of some hard training, the four young people managed to make serious progress.
At the Remich Wine Institute (Institut viti-vinicole) they were able to learn about growing vines, taking care of cellar equipment and winemaking techniques, as well as the essentials of wine tasting. They also worked on organoleptic analysis of wines with Anne-Catherine Mondloch (from the Ehnen Museum of Wine) and during visits to estates (Pundel Vins Purs) and at events (Wäikues in Ettelbruck).
When the competition was over, Georges Albert came 33rd, just in front of Philippe Kaempff (36th), Claire Pletgen (47th) and Lynn Vanden Bergh (58th out of 64). Both Diekirch pupils performed well in the tasting tests: coming in around the top 15. This is no great surprise as Georges Albert’s family runs the Écluse hotel restaurant in Stadtbredimus, which has almost 140 Luxembourg wines on its wine list. As for Philippe Kaempff, he is Guill’s son, the owner of Kaempff-Kohler delicatessens and restaurants. “I’m particularly interested in wine,” Philippe confirms. “If you want to work in the restaurant business, you have to know your stuff so you can really talk about wines.” Georges Albert also admits to having a real taste for wine: “My father talks to me about many different wines, and we have a very well-stocked cellar so it’s possible to taste them properly,” he says with a smile.
Georges Albert and Philippe Kaempff also won the Luxembourg Moselle Challenge, a new type of test which brought all the Europea Wine Challenge competitors together with the general public for an evening at the Wormeldange Cultural Centre. There were around twenty stands with winemakers and institutions who set questions to answer about wines and the Luxembourg Moselle. Scoring a total of 199.2 points out of 200, Georges and Philippe didn’t give the competition a chance!