Maybe the most interesting thing about Germany’s annual tradition of appointing a “Wine Queen” is the fact that it’s not even the weirdest kind of queen the country appoints. Every spring, various German towns hold an asparagus festival, electing their own regional Asparagus Queens.
Not everyone’s a fan of asparagus, but a Wine Queen we can get behind. Just … first let’s figure out what or who she is? Does she sit on a massive throne and drink wine from a massive goblet (with a straw, to spare her lipstick)? Or maybe she goes around the towns and villages in southern Germany, where the Wine Queen tradition was born, and toss boxes of Franzia from her carriage/Audi to the adoring locals below?
The Wine Queen actually does do a bunch of touring, though we’re not sure if and how much wine-tossing is involved. What we do know is that towns in southern Germany have been electing Wine Queens since 1931, one from each of the 13 wine-producing regions, who all compete to become the national Wine Queen. We’d like to think the nomination of queen candidates has something to do with wine savvy, maybe even experience growing — at the very least, drinking — wine. But today it seems a little more pageant-y, though some wine savvy is involved: “After 13 pretty girls are chosen, they compete to become Germany’s national wine queen.” (The top image is the crowning of the 2015 German Wine Queen with her two — not secretly jealous? — finalist Wine Princesses beside her.)
Girls are often actually chosen from families in the wine business. However they’re chosen, it’s all pretty innocent and sweet and done in the name of wine, so we’re for it. And the pageant has actually evolved a bit over the years (can’t really say the same for Miss Teen USA, or basically Miss USA anything). This year, a 26-year-old Syrian refugee named Ninorta Bahno was chosen to be the Wine Queen of the Mosel region. Her official duties are to “help publicize wine from four Mosel vineyards,” but for Bahno, the opportunity is much bigger. “‘I want to be an ambassador so that I can put this into practice and integrate here in Germany, and for the other refugees,’” she said.
Bahno isn’t the only non-traditional pick in recent Wine Queen history. In 2013, a transsexual woman was named Wine Queen of Germany’s Green Party. And this year in the town of Kesten, since no buxom young ladies showed up in their dirndl finest, it was a dude who came away with the crown. Twenty-five year-old Sven Finke apparently joked, “If you don’t find anyone, I’ll be the new queen.” They didn’t find anyone, which is why Finke recently enjoyed a photo shoot as the region’s Wine Queen. Or King, really more of a god, since he chose to model himself after the Greek god of wine and all things mischief, Bacchus. May his reign be long and naughty.
Congratulations to all the Wine Queens! Rule, and pour, generously.
Header image via Germany.Travel