All About: Weinkeller at EPCOT's Germany Pavilion
Tucked away in the back left corner of EPCOT’s Germany pavilion is a little beer & wine shop. A “blink & you’ll miss it” type place. But you, intrepid World Showcase traveler, should not miss it.
The large golden yellow and maroon sign will welcome you from the center outdoor plaza. Or you can also journey through the connected gift shops - starting at the Karamell-Küche shop (your nose will direct you), continue through Die Weihnachts Ecke (The Christmas Corner), stop to browse the gorgeous beer steins at Stein Haus, and exit into Weinkeller.
Weinkeller offers a selection of German wines (and beers); you’re likely most familiar with Riesling - a grape that grows exceedingly well in the climate of Germany‘s vineyards. What may befuddle you, and what I’m here today to explain, is the styles listed on the menu. Germany has a labeling system for their wines, as most countries do. It is too complex to go into detail here, but I will chat quickly about the basics (this way you can research the terms in greater detail). There are two big buckets in Germany’s classification system: Prädikatswein and Qualitätswein. Within Prädikatswein, there are seven categories (Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese). There are resources out there in books and google for you to dive deeper - which I encourage you to do. (Of course, you are more than welcome to reach out to Wish Upon a Wine for assistance, we are happy to help).
For now, we are going to return to what you need to know for your trip to the Weinkeller.
Terms you will see at Weinkeller
Kabinett: Light, low alcohol, dry to slightly sweet.
Liebfraumilch: A light bodied white wine, medium sweetness with citrus notes.
Spätlese: A full bodied white wine, showcasing a pleasant sweetness and intense, deep flavors.
Auslese: Grapes for this wine are picked very ripe (more sugar), resulting in a wine with lush richness.
Eiswein: “Ice Wine” in English. A very sweet wine made from grapes that were left on the vines to freeze. This creates a concentration of flavors in the grapes that translate in a rich, glorious wine. Since successful freezing is a risk (the grapes may be ruined), these wines are often expensive. This is due to the fact that they will be picked by hand after freezing (labor costs), as well as the fact that the frost may ruin the crop and thus profits would be lost. They may not be made every year if the necessary weather does not arrive.
Spätburgunder: Is the German term for Pinot Noir. It will have the same light fruitiness and subtle earthy-notes you regularly taste in Pinot Noirs from the U.S.A and France.
I hope that learning these terms will help you select an excellent wine on your next visit to the World Showcase.
Let me know what you try!
~Cheers & Ears
P.S. In keeping with German adult-beverage tradition, there is one long communal table available to perch your wine or beer and discuss your day’s adventures thus far and meet new friends. (And if you are reading this in the time of COVID-19, those new friends should be six feet apart. Break the ice by offering to share your hand sanitizer.)