Category Archives: Mosel Bridge

New York Riesling Diary: Day 67 – Another Nail in the Coffin of the Absurd and Disastrous Mosel Bridge?

The shit is hitting the fan because the absurd and disastrous Mosel Bridge under construction close to Ürzig and Zeltingen-Rachtig on the Mosel Valley is finally being questioned. A week ago I reported how Der Spiegel, Germany’s equivalent of TIME magazine, had obtained internal papers from the economics ministry of the German state of Rheinland that cast serious doubt on the feasibility of the bridge due to the geological instability of the steep slope on the Ürzig side of the river (left bank). Their article published on December 20th landed like a bombshell in the state capital of Mainz.

Today came the next hammer blow for the dumb politicians and civil servants in Mainz who have repeatedly refused to face up to the facts on this project. The major regional newspaper for the Mosel, the Trierischer Volksfreund printed three serious articles about the literally fundamental problems affecting this project. On the front page Harald Ehses, the director of the state office for geology and mining was quoted as saying of the site for the supporting pillar of the planned bridge on the Ürzig side of the river, “more than a decade ago we pointed out that this is an unstable slope“. What he means is that the foundations of that pillar are planned to go down to a depth of 47 meters, but the bed rock doesn’t begin until 70 meters below the surface, and above it is mix of small rocks and boulders bigger than a house. And sometimes all that stuff moves about! For these reasons Ehses considers a detailed study of the site absolutely essential, but this study was only very recently ordered and there’s good reason to think it will be rushed or even fudged. The most important of the three stories was the editorial by Katharina Hammerman who asked several of the questions that we in the opposition have been posing for years (and been laughed at by the politicians and media for asking), “Why did construction start before these questions were answered? That’s completely incomprehensible, yes absolutely mindless. That the government is trying to keep this information from becoming public says everything.” 

The photos here show how far construction has advanced without the stability or safety of the bridge being guaranteed. That’s totally mad when you consider that planning began during the 1960s! Since then the political justification for the bridge has changed many times, and the federal transport ministry’s calculation of the benefit-cost relation has been revised down to below the acceptable minimum for major new construction projects. However, the Mosel Bridge still went ahead. By the way, if the benefit-cost relation were recalculated today it would be revised down again. And none of the politicians ever took the damage to the wine and tourism industries from which the region lives seriously. Shame on them!

WHEN WILL ALL THIS MADNESS STOP? HOPEFULLY SOON (i.e. 2014)! Thank you Katharina Hammerman and the Trierischer Volksfreund for putting one more nail in the coffin of the Mosel Bridge! Here are the links to the German language stories in Trierischer Volksfreund:;art671,3748185;art158795,3748426;art742,3748601


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New York Riesling Diary: Day 60 – Finally, Hope for the Mosel and the End for the Mosel Bridge?

Sarah and Knut are hopeful for the first time in almost three years, and that makes me hopeful too. In fact, this is my second reason for feeling hopeful this Christmas (for the first scroll down to the previous post). Maybe it isn’t too late for the terrible monster threatening the Mosel to be stopped. Read on to find out why.

Pictured above are Sarah Washington (left) and Knut Aufermann (right), central figures in the campaign to stop the Hochmoselübergang or “Mosel Bridge”, the largest bridge under construction in Europe that is planned to span the middle section of the Mosel Valley at its widest point close to the famous wine towns of Ürzig, Erden, Zeltingen, Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel. If ever completed the concrete white elephant would be over a mile long and 525 feet high, but would carry an absurdly small amount of traffic for the expense – planned 130 million Euros, but probably impossible to build for even triple this. More importantly, it would have an unquantifiable but seriously negative impact upon some of the most famous vineyards in the Mosel and on Planet Riesling. This photo dates from the high point of the international campaign against the Mosel Bridge in 2010 when the Green Party of the state of Rheinland Pfalz (RLP) were committed to stopping the project. Their surprising success in the state elections in the spring of 2011 made that look like a very real possibility, then when they entered the present coalition government with the socialist SDP party they immediately caved in, dropping their opposition. Not only were Sarah and Knut shocked, also Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson and untold thousands of supporters of this cause around the globe were too. I will never forget how the news reached me on New York’s Fifth Avenue just yards from where I write these lines. As I read the text message from Sarah I almost fainted, because at that point I’d already been active in the campaign for 8 years. Now, finally, after more than a decade after I joined in 2003, there finally seems to be some positive movement and that gives us hope. Here’s the news and Sarah’s comment upon it:

On December 20th 2013 Der Spiegel, Germany’s equivalent of TIME magazine reported that there are serious risks in the construction of the High Mosel Bridge. Here is a summary of the initial SPIEGEL report (translated by Sarah Washington):

According to information received by SPIEGEL, experts for the
government of Rheinland Pfalz say the building of the bridge is
significantly more risky than previously acknowledged.

According to internal documents from the Green Economy Ministry of
Eveline Lemke, the state agency for geology warns of “significant
structural and financial risks” in the creation of pillars up to 150m
high on the west side of the Mosel valley.

The experts point to geological “slip surfaces” on the slope ranging
up to 70 meters in depth, which are “not reliably explored”. The
“geological risk” is assessed as “very high”.

The 130 million euro project is currently the largest bridge
construction site in Europe. The road bridge is to better connect Hahn
Airport in the Hunsrück Eifel region.

Residents and winemakers have been protesting for years in vain,
however the Social Democratic Ministry for Internal Affairs and
Infrastructure claimed that it could “not comprehend” the criticism.
The stability of the bridge could be ensured by “engineering

For the German language article in Der Spiegel use this link:

My reaction: This confirms what we have feared all along – that
we will be left with half a bridge. There is information stretching
right back to the 1950s which suggests that the Ürzig slope may be too
problematic to build upon. As the government would not provide any
information, an independent geologist was engaged in 2011 who
confirmed the likelihood of significant problems. The campaign group
Pro-Mosel recently took the local government to court to try to find
out under the Freedom of Information Act what the problem is with the
static calculations for the bridge, which have seemingly already
caused a one-year delay. The court ruled that the government could
remain silent by invoking the protection of ‘trade secrets’ of the
building companies. It seems that protesters were right to be
suspicious of the lack of transparency, and that the government is
withholding vital public information for the sole reason that it is
embarrassingly damaging for them. Our current Ministers appear to be
content to wait this problem out in the hope that it will become
someone else’s future responsibility. It is time to stop the charade
and protect the taxpayer and the vineyards from further abuse.

A very Merry Christmas to you all. Raise a glass for the Mosel and
keep your fingers crossed.
Best wishes,

For further information on the campaign use the link or email below:

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DARTH MOSEL – The Mosel Bridge and Evil Star Wars Politics in Rheinland Pfalz

Work underway on a small bridge on the road to the monster Mosel Bridge

Episode 5

For a long time I felt I had no alternative, but to portray some of the leading politicians of the German state of Rheinland Pfalz (RLP) as Star Wars figures in a galaxy far away and long ago, because they really seem to have no connection with the real world. Given the threat which the Mosel Bridge poses to a string of the best and most famous vineyards in the Mosel Valley that seemed like a bad joke. However, the increasingly critical situation on the Mosel due to construction work (see above) makes it impossible to continue with this black humour. Now is the time for a radical reassessment of the entire situation.

Before doing this I think that it is worth noting that I recieved no complaints from Kurt Beck (SPD Minister President of RLP), Eveline Lemke (Green minister for the economy in RLP) or anyone else for my Star Wars campaign against the Mosel Bridge, nor did anyone serve me a writ accusing me of defaming their character. This surely means that when I potrayed Kurt Beck as Darth Vader, declared that Eveline Lemke, had gone over to the dark side of the Force, and asked if the managing director of a leading concrete company or a senior civil servant was the evil emperor I was horribly close to the truth, i.e. RHEINLAND PFLAZ HAS STAR WARS POLITICS!

Recently Beck & Co. have been using hard-core spin to try and make it look like the Billion Euro White Elephant which is the Mosel Bridge is actually the smartest and most elegant thing since the invention of the wheel. The hard-core spin is necessary because the Mosel Bridge is so sensationally unnecessary a piece of infrastructure, so titanically expensive and so unbelievably destructive to this part of the Mosel region and its economy. Really, the only people who would benefit are the construction companies and those who will supply the materials (steel and concrete).

Of course, this is the lobby behind the project and they seem to have Beck so perfectly under control he’s starting to resemble a machine pulling levers on command. I can’t tell you how the construction lobby achieved this feat of robotics if anything illegal was involved in the process, but anyone familiar with the German construction business knows that it isn’t corruption-free, and as the Minister-President of a German state who must remain anonymous said to me last year, „politics is a dirty business.“ Let us presume innocence – that Beck is doing all this without either expecting or getting any personal / party benefit for his actions – until guilt has been proven, also because today the issue is not how this was achieved. Today the fundamental political situation is my subject, that is the way German politicians from all parties have become primarily involved in servicing the commercial interests of lobby groups and the legitimate interests of voters have been reduced to a mere detail.

Years ago I started refering to the Mosel as a „democracy-weak region“, and, when you see how gently the media in RLP have handled Beck in recent years despite some major political gaffs, you have to ask if this term has to be extended to the entire state. A written democratic consitution like Germany’s (for which I have the greatest respect), however good it is, does not alone gaurantee an evenly high standard of democracy throughout the nation. This is hard for Germans who live in democracy-strong regions to grasp, for we all tend to assume that things elswhere are similar to how they are at home. There is also an element of wishful thinking in this too, of wanting to believe that in Germany everything must be in order, because Germany is the land of order. Baden-Württemberg, where there there is enormous popular opposition to the Stuttgart 21 railway project is a positive example of discontent with the way lobbies have gained excessive political influence at the expense of voters interests; a hopeful sign for the future of German politics. Sadly, in spite of the international campaign against it, the Mosel Bridge remains a catastrophic example of how destructive the complex of a lobby with politicians in their pockets can be. This faillure makes me worry greatly about the future of German politics.

The fundamental principals of the Green Party ought to have prevented them from caving in to Beck on the Mosel Bridge, and we have it on good authority that the RLP Greens did not even try to discuss the issue with him. If their commitment to the environment, the very thing which theoretically gives them their political identity, can be negociated away, then the Greens clearly have no principals to speak of. History, also modern German history, shows how dictatorships take advantage of individuals and organisations lacking principals in order to grow and survive. At the moment we are „only“ talking about the dictatorships of industrial lobbies over vineyards that are also cultural momuments and the tourist industry associated with them, but this is of course just the thin end of the wedge.

One comment I heard from several directions recently is that it is now far too late to stop the Mosel Bridge and therefore our campaign has become completely pointless. The answer to this is the way the Federal government changed its position on atomic energy from lengthening the working lifetimes of all of Germany’s nuclear reactors to beginning a programme to close them all down within a single year. Given that, I would say that there is still a very good chance that the Mosel Bridge will be dropped, and in this belief I continue my part of the campaign.

The current situation regarding the project could best be described as follows: having obtaioned a large calibre revolver and plenty of ammunition by means foul or fair Beck & Co. decided to play “Russian Roulette” with the Mosel, have fully loaded the gun and put the muzzle up against the temple of the Mosel’s head. Now they say that they must pull the trigger, because otherwise all their preparations for this glorious moment will have been in vain.

Glorious? Only for Beck & Co. For the section of the Mosel Valley between Ürzig and Bernkastel it will be a disaster. The immediate cancellation of the Mosel Bridge followed by the filing of an application for World Heritage Status for the entire Mosel Valley with UNESCO is the most effective and the most cost-effective way to preserve it. Now only one quetion remains: DESTRUCTION OR PRESERVATION ?

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DARTH MOSEL – Imperial Concrete Strikes Back

Who is the evil Emperor and how can we stop him?


Like the other Rebels fighting the Empire I, Han Solo, also ask myself who the evil Emperor really is. The question is of vital importance, for it is he that directs Darth Vader, or Kurt Beck Minister President of Rheinland Pfalz, along with the deluded members of the Green Party who have fallen under the influnce of the Dark Side of the Force ? Is the emperor really a small wizened figure resembling a hooded monk or does he look completely different ? A rumour recently spread like wildfire through the German Wine Galaxy that he is actually what the Germans call a „Kaufmann“, which can be translated as merchant, salesman or dealer. When I heard this I couldn’t help thinking back to the peculiar events of the evening of Friday, May 8th 2001.

That night I parked the Millenium Falcon on Planet Ahr just south of Bonn in order to gather samples of a rare red wine called Frühburgunder. After a long day spent sampling this wondorous wine I stepped into the most popular bar in this spiral arm of the galaxy and found one of the Keepers of the Frühburgunder Garden, Werner Näkel of Weingut Meyer-Näkel, with three guess at a corner table. He asked me to join them, but two of his guests quickly left, then the remaining one introduced himself as King of the Union of Concrete Planets. A strange creature from an economic system unknown to me, he cooly added that his Union would be the suppliers of the concrete for Vader’s Death Star, that is the Mosel Bridge.

I am no Jedi Master like Obi-Wan Kenobi, so I have to summon all my self-control to tell him that I would not speak of this matter at all that evening, since otherwise there would be strife between us, which would be disrespectful to our exalted host. However, the Keeper of the Frühburgunder Garden immediately grasped his metaphorical laser sword and attacked the leader of the Union of Concrete Planets, telling him that you only know what it is really like to live in the shadow of a Death Star when one suddenly appears in your own solar system. With icy cool, the King of the Concrete Planets pretended that the Keeper of the Frühburgunder Garden had said nothing of any consequence, but maybe it is all of no consequence to him, because he lives and works far from where Vader is planning to build his Death Star.

Later the King of the Concrete Planets became bizarrely friendly towards me though I am one of the most militant Rebels. Did he imagine he could buy my aquiesence with flattery ? Or was he considering offering me something more substantial for defecting from the Rebels to the Empire ? Perhaps he only wanted me to help him clear his conscience by telling him that in spite of his concrete support for Vader he is still an honourable person ? Which it was I really couldn’t tell, so strange was the behaviour of the alien creature sitting opposite me. As strange as this close encounter of the third kind was, it didn’t convince me that the King of the Concrete Planets is the Emperor, even though he would obviously benefit enormously from the Death Star’s construction.

If he isn’t the evil genius behind the imperial masterplan though, then perhaps the emperor is a yet more powerful „Kaufmann“ hiding on a dark heavenly body close to the media planet SWR, in the Mainz area, home of the uncompromising Wookiees. After their excellent „Frontal“ report on the Mosel Bridge was broadcast, the investigating Wookiees abruptly and inexplicably ended their investigation of Vader’s Death Star plans. Only an enormous gravitational force at very close range could have caused the Wookiees search for truth to suddenly disappeared as if into a black hole.

When I heard the rumours about the Emperor I also thought of the mysterious Imperial Department of Sexual Transportation – a very strange form of motion which has nothing to do with conventional transportation – a department which legend says only a Jedi Master could penetrate from outside. I am not thinking of normal sexuality either, but the lust of steel for concrete and their union as reinforced concerete. It is these forces, steered by the Emperor, which threaten the famous vineyard sites of Zeltingen, Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel and could eventually destroy all the famous vineyards in the German Wine Galaxy. Help us save them by mailing DEFEAT VADER AND THE EMPEROR to


Only in Rheinland Pfalz can a Death Star be green!

The other day a message reached me from Yoda, the wise and ancient Jedi master, in this case an organic wine producer in the depths of the Mosel Valley who must remain anonymous, that everything which WEINHIER published so far on the subject of the Mosel Bridge accurately reported the evil situation as he had seen it unfold. Most importantly, he confirmed that the Green Knights had indeed given up their campaign to stop this monstrous construction project after their election success without any discussion, much less a fight. How much did Eveline Lemke want a ministerial post in the State of Rheinland Pfalz and a place in the Imperial Council next to Darth Vader ? Enough to sell her Green principals, the future of the famous vineyard sites between Zeltingen and Bernkastel, plus the tourist industry in this section of the Mosel Valley down the river. Proof enough that she switched over to the Dark Side of the Force.

Of course, its the vineyards which particularly interest WEINHIER, but we are not immune to the wider political dimensions of all this. I mean, if the Greens of Rheinland Pfalz are capable of doing a 180° turn on a major issue which commits them to a policy of enviromental destruction based on voodoo economics, then you have to ask if the Greens are capable of this kind of betrayal on a national level too. To put it bluntly, is there any issue upon which we can trust them not to do a spectacular U-turn like this on ? It was this question which I addressed to Renate Kunst, the Green leader I know best, in my Wine Telegram 126 on ?????, but unfortunately I got no answer. So I repeat it here. RENATE KUNAST, PLEASE TELL US WHICH SIDE YOU’RE ON, Eveline Lemke and Darth Vader’s or that of this unique environmental, agricultural and cultural asset.

Then there is the issue of the cost. When Eveline Lemke defends her unscrupulous actions by saying the reason the Mosel Bridge couldn’t be stopped was the horrendous fines Rheinland Pfalz would have to pay for cancelling the project she deliberately only considers one set of costs. What about the loss of business for the hotels and restaurants in the immediate area of the bridge during the construction period (7 years on paper, but almost certainly much longer in fact) and after ? Some may well go brankrupt, but even they will recieve no compensation from the state. Again and again the local winegrowers have pointed out how they fear the road on the Hunsrück end of the bridge will negatively affect the water-supply in the those great vineyards mentioned above. In a hot dry year, that could mean a loss of both quantity and quality. These very real costs do not seem to interest Eveline Lemke at all, because it is the winegrowers who will pay them, not Rheinland Pfalz. By the time the state picks up the tab for long-term effects like depopulation and the abandonment of vineyards she will have moved on. Eveline Lemke, if you think all this is absurd, then I regret to say that you don’t undertsand the first thing about ecology and economics. Maybe you are already on your way to becoming the next Darth Vader.

Having just returned from Planet New York I can confirm that friends of Mosel Riesling on the other side of the galaxy continue to be as incensed about this issue as the thousands of people on the Mosel who voted for the Greens on 27th March (including 75 on tiny Ürzig, one of the most arch-conservative planets in the universe). WEINHIER is not trying to whip up hatred, but to ask the questions an intelligent 10 year old who just had his first sip of Wehlener Sonnenuhr would. Ever since the episode with the emperror’s new clothes politicial leaders hated this kind of comment, but we consider it essential if something resembling democracy is to be preserved.

I, Han Solo, just climbed in my Mellenium Falcon and travelled through Hyperspace to the Mosel Valley in order to evade the Imperial starships. Wish me luck on my secret mission to stop the Mosel Bridge by sending MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU to the rebell HQ at


This Princess went over to the Dark Side of the Force

Darth Vader, the politician perviously known as Kurt Beck, had good reason to puff himself with pride as he announced the coalition contract for the new Imperial Council of the German state of Rheinland Pfalz the other day. With a flick of his laser sword he turned the prospect of defeat at the hands of the Green Knights into a tactical victory for his evil Galactic Empire. By what vile trick did he manage to cling to his position as „Führer“ ? After inviting the leading Green Knights to climb into bed with him for a spot of old-fashioned political prostitution he offered them important positions in his evil Empire. Eveline Lemke went over to the Dark Side in return for the job of minister for the economy, transport, agriculture and winegrowing. This ruse also had an interesting side-effect. Since Beck became Vader his erstwhile SPD red has steadily browned. I’m not talking about boring old Nazi-Brown, but a murky brown that has now gained a green shimmer more appropriate to our dark age.

That the Green Knights of Rheinland Pfalz are not the Jedi they claimed to be is now plain for all to see on their own website. The reason they give there for caving in to Vader’s demand that construction of his Death Star, the monstrous Mosel Bridge, continue is the „horrendous compensation payments“ that Rheinland Pfalz would have to pay to construction companies, and the companies supplying the steel and concrete if the project was cancelled. Also for the Green Knights Money makes the Galaxy go round. Those under the sway of the Dark Side of the Force always portrayed money as an honourable reason to destroying beautiful things like this famous section of the Mosel Valley along with the world-class Riesling vineyards there and the livelihoods of thousands of inhabitants of the Mosel Valley. Bizarrely, having just put the Empire’s finances before the Mosel environment and it’s people, the Green Knights also claim on their website that, „now, as then, we stand on the side of the opponents of this pointless and costly project“. They still want us to believe they’re real Jedi Knights !

They no doubt hope that I, Han Solo, along with the other Rebels under the leadership of Princess Leia, or Sarah Washington, will become docile subjects of the evil Empire. We can’t do that, because we remember Eveline Lempke’s own words about the Mosel Bridge of 19. August 2010: „Minister President Beck and Minister [for the economy, etc.] Hering must finally distance themselves from this ecologicaly and economicaly damaging project. The Mosel Valley lives from winegrowing and tourism, not from lorries rushing over and past it.“ Now we demand that Ministerin Lemke must finally distance herself from this ecologically and economicaly damaging project, otherwise she makes herself an accessory to Vader’s work of enviromental destruction economics. I’d call that very bad karma indeed.

The evil force that resides in reinforced concrete claims another victim and we rebels must confront a new enemy, but we have no fear, for we know that THE FORCE IS WITH US. Please email these words to the rebel leadership at

We’ve been asked the question why WEINHIER is getting mixed up in this „political“ struggle. The answer is that it is necessary to become politicall active when so many great vineyard sites between Zeltingen to Bernkastel are fighting for survival. For those who think only in money terms it would certainly be possible for a clever young economist to calculate their value, but their cultural value for Germany and Planet Wine are greater still. If the Wehlener Sonnenuhr can be sacrficed to political egoism and short-term profits for suppliers of steel and concrete today, then tomorrow the best vineyards of another regions will be threatened. Everything which has to do with wine ultimately, even the cool new internet community this site will shortly become, depends ultimately on vineyards. It is a matter of principal: the safekeeping of nature/God and man’s creation, or it’s mindless destruction.


Lord Vader and his Mosel Death Star

Like everything else in this world steel and concrete have a Light Side and a Dark Side and it is important to remember this. There’s plenty of modern architecture, such as the Chrysler Building in New York or the new German Chancellor in Berlin, in which reinforced concrete shines. But during the last years an evil force which resides in these materials has been spreading its influence ever further.

At first it seemed as if Kurt Beck, Minister President of the German state of Rheinland Pfalz, was just another arrogant, patriarchal politician with a mild case of the Sun King Syndrome. Then he fell under the influence of the Dark Side and suddenly, in spite of continuing with the practiced smiles, waving to the crowd and self-important speeches, he became Darth Vader.

Many of those in the inner circle of the politician previously known as Kurt Beck struggle to maintain the illusion that their lord and master has not been taken over by an evil force which resides in steel and concrete, but in their hearts they all now it is true. None is more torn between the Dark Side and Light Side of reinforced concrete than Hendrik Hering, the not quite Luke Skywalker of our tale, whose only wish was to follow in his political father’s footsteps, but now knows only too well that it is Darth Vader he is serving.

Under Princess Leia, also known as Sarah Washington, the rebels gathered on Planet Uerzig to plan their attack upon the great evil threatening the valley, the Hochmoseluebergang or Mosel Bridge, Vader’s Death Star. Vainly the rebels tried to win Hering over to the Light Side of the force, that is for the protection of environmental and cultural assets, for sane economic policies, but his greed for power was too great and he fell ever deeper under the influence of the Dark Side.

The people of Rheinland Pfalz would have realized how their leader had been turned by the evil in steel and concrete much earlier if their journalists had not fallen also under Vader’s spell. Only days ago it become clear just how dangerous the Dark Side really is.

When the Green knights who fought so hard and long with the rebels surprised all by storming the parliament of Rheinland Pfalz it seemed that Vader’s power had been broken, but this victory turned out to be hollow. Immediately they had entered the Landtag in Mainz the Greens bowed down before Lord Vader and let him take them all from behind, savouring the pleasure.

I, Han Solo, write this from the other side of the galaxy where the people received this news with consternation and dismay. “How can that be ?” they ask me, “how can Greens agree to this environmental destruction and accept the policy of voodoo economics behind it ?” I reply that though the Empire strikes back, they forget the true Power of the Force.

Shortly I will climb in my spaceship, the Millenium Falcon, and rejoin the rebels. We shall destroy the Death Star and if Vader is on board then him with it. Show your support by mailing the message MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.

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