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Ralf Schumacher at the grape harvest in Goriška Brda

Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher is a true wine lover. This year, for the second year in a row, he visited Brda at harvest time, rolled up his sleeves, and started helping at the vineyard. He wanted to see and experience the whole process of making the wine that is bottled for him at the Klet Brda Winery. The celebrated driver experienced a true Slovenian grape harvest, which, he says, is very hard work.

We have already written about how a coincidence brought Ralf Schumacher to Slovenia. At a restaurant in Salzburg, he tried Rebula from the Klet Brda Winery. He was so impressed by the vintage that he contacted the winery, and this is how a special line of wines called the Schumacher Selection was created. And what impressed him most about Rebula?

"It was something completely new, light, not too complex, an excellent wine to enjoy," said Ralf, who is a great wine connoisseur. He likes to pair wine with his favourite food. The wines he prefers are direct, just like he is.

  • Brda Schumacher 14 9 20 142 foto Marko Delbello Ocepek

    Ralf Schumacher was impressed by wines of Klet Brda, that is why he has formed a partnership with the winery. Photo: Marko Ocepek

He has formed a partnership with the Klet Brda Winery. His wines are stored at Dobrovo Castle, at the section of the historic De Baguer Wine Cellar. Because he likes to be part of the whole process of making wine, he made sure to catch the harvest in Brda.

"I am impressed with how all generations are connected and how everyone is willing to lend their hand – from six-year-olds to eighty-year-olds. It is incredible to be part of this. The most beautiful thing, however, is when you see the final product and you are pleased with it," said Ralf. Grape harvesting is a part of the Slovenian wine-growing tradition where all generations join forces.

  • mala Brda Schumacher 14 9 20 51 foto Marko Delbello Ocepek

    Ralf Schumacher likes to be part of the whole process of making wine, he made sure to catch the harvest in Brda. Photo: Marko Ocepek

The selection of wines of Ralf Schumacher is bottled under the brand Schumacher Selection at the Klet Brda Winery; the line is very versatile as it offers fresh white wines, wines aged in oak barrels, a selection of red wines, a traditional sparkling wine and a sweet wine.

"The selection of wines produced for me in Brda is very personal. I think that winemakers from more famous regions in France and Italy jack up their prices too much. In Brda, on the other hand, I get high-quality wines for a fair price. I have fallen in love with this place, the people who live here, the food and wine from Brda. It is just wonderful here," says Ralf Schumacher.

"Every year I spend at least one month in Brda and participate in everything. From the labels, to the procedures in the cellar, where I discuss flavours and varieties that I would like to bottle with chief oenologist Darinko Ribolica. I have many obligations with these wines, but this is my passion and pleasure," said the former Formula 1 driver. He said he did not miss racing because he has focused his attention on other projects, wine being one of them. He maintains contact with the world of racing through his son David, who competes in Formula 3.

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Author: Polona Prešeren

Date: 25. September 2020

Time to read: 3 min