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Late Harvest Rider

Popular name for the statue of a horseman in the Rheingau castle of Johannisberg (Rheingau). The rider carries a large grape in his hand and symbolises the "invention" or origin of the Spätlese. However, there is no historical evidence of the figure. From 1718 onwards, the permission of the Prince Bishop of Fulda for the grape harvest in this area was delivered in written form by the so-called autumn courier. In 1775, this was delivered 14 days too late to the Benedictine Father Kellner of the Johannisberg Provostry, who was already desperately waiting for it. There are at least two versions of the reason for the delay. The first says that the prince-bishop was hunting and therefore could not be reached for permission. The other is that the courier was held by robbers. In the meantime, the grapes had turned rotten or shrivelled up. They were nevertheless harvested and, due to (the unexpected) excellent result, became the standard from that point on. It should be noted, however, that at that time Spätlese in today's terms meant a Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese produced from grapes affected by botrytis. The incident was also used in the comic series "Karl". It deals with incidents in the Rheingau in connection with wine. The work by illustrator Michael Apitz and authors Eberhard Kunkel and Patrick Kunkel comprises 12 volumes.

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Egon Mark

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Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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