One of the benefits of working from home is that I am able to take quick walks into town during the work day to run errands. This week that meant I also had a chance to see signs around town for the “Nacht der Keller” (cellar night — which is actually two nights), and even to see some of the preparations on Friday afternoon. Seeing the preparations — and, more importantly, just how close to home two of the venues were — was enough to convince me that we had to go check it out. So, on Saturday night, we dragged our exhausted-from-shopping bodies out of the house to explore the wine culture of Weinstadt.
The event itself spans five small villages within the city of Weinstadt; there’s even a bus running between the various locations that picks up at 15 minute intervals and costs 3.50 EURO for the whole evening. Not a bad deal — but if you’re tired and just want to get a sense of the event, walking half a block for free is an even better deal.
First we stopped at “the blue house” around the corner, which I’d admired before for its old-style half-timbered architecture — and which I now know also hosts regular music and pottery classes. The spacious cellar of the house, built in the late 1600s, was teeming with Germans, all in various points along the tipsy-to-drunk scale. Various art exhibits lined the walls, and we were horrified at one point to see a couple of visitors cavalierly fling their coats on top of some mysterious ceramic vessel. At least what they lack in art appreciation, they made up for in appreciation of wine.
I didn’t feel like bringing a fancy camera for what promised to be a low-light situation, so the pics on this page are simply cell phone snaps.
An Irish band completed the ambiance; it was strange to have traveled all the way to Germany to find music that was so familiar to me — and stranger still to hear the plots of various Irish folksongs explained in German for the benefit of the audience.
Eventually, we finished our Rieslings — one dry, one sweet, both excellent — and moved on to the next cellar, where we found a saxophonist and keyboardist playing classic Jazz and Big Band songs. At one point, a couple got up and swing danced to “Chattanooga Choo Choo” — there were beautiful to watch. Then the band switched to “Sunny Side of the Street,” and I was astounded by the Satchmo-impersonation abilities of the sax player.
A further note on valuing “the experience”:
The other day, I was in the grocery store, and I noticed a carton of “sauerkraut saft” among the fruit juices. I was tempted, for a moment, to bring it home with me — for “the experience.” Then I contemplated the other groceries I was carrying and the schlep up the hill to get home. It’s amazing how quickly the value of “the experience” plummets when you have to carry it home up a hill with you.