A Mother's Gift of Wine and Laughter

A Tribute to Rosa Roth

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A Mother's Gift of Wine and Laughter

This article is dedicated to my late mother Rosa Roth who just passed away and is already missed with a heavy heart. Her name means “Pink” in English but don’t worry, I will not start writing an article about rosés now! Rather I am writing about my mother’s influence in my life from a professional and personal nature. Without her, I would not be the person I am today.

Rosa Roth certainly lived a life that provided plenty of stories that could fill many writers’ columns. Her motto in life was, "Life's to short to drink bad wine." As a result, I grew up with many good bottles of wine being served in our home.

Through example, she thought me to be passionate about life and to enjoy and experience life’s great gifts. She worked very hard founding a thriving wine merchant business while raising four kids. She always did this with effortless charm, humor, style, and grace. To give you an image of her, just picture an attractive German woman wearing a beautiful dress, sporting a big hat (from her extensive hat collection), wearing 4-inch high heels, carrying two cases of wine (24 bottles!) down the entrance stairs to someone’s car while cracking a joke and having a great laugh. She loved to laugh but seemed to most enjoy making others smile - which she did often.

I will restrict myself to two short stories that will give you a small glimpse of some of my mother’s wine escapades:

- Sometimes when life seamed overwhelming and she needed a break, my mother would take her big BMW and, together with me (I was not yet in school and the youngest of my siblings), we would drive 138 miles-per-hour to some remote three- or four-star restaurant (like the Traube in Tonbach) and we would have a gourmet meal that was of the highest caliber.

I obviously did not yet drink wine but I certainly loved the atmosphere, the service (which was unlike anything I had experienced in the normal German restaurants), the amazing food, and the exclusive, fun, and special feeling only a youngster can have when being part of a quick getaway with his mother.

- One Christmas after I already had begun my winemaking career, our entire family was having a celebration. Long after the singing was done, the presents opened, the goose devoured, and a large amount of dry and semi-dry rieslings enjoyed, we began to open some classic dessert wines.

My older brother, who also had a wine collection, started with a sweet spätlese. Next, my mother opened a beerenauslese, and I followed with an eiswein. My brother topped it with a trockenbeerenauslese and finally my mother pulled a 1945 Rheingau trockenbeerenauslese that was in impeccable condition and brought tears of joy to everyone’s eyes (and also put a stop to this wine shootout).

It was the first of a number of duels where we tried to outdo each other. Everybody was always a winner, tasting some of the finest wines from around the world with great merriment while gaining a great passion for wine. The only losers were probably a couple of brain cells - the slow ones of course!

So I want to make a toast to my mother, who taught me (among many other things that have made me a better man) the love for wine and the passion for sharing this love with family, friends, and customers. My siblings and I have lost a wonderful mother and the wine world has lost a great advocate but the she will always live in my family’s hearts. We will think of her when we hear the sound of joyful laughter and every time a bottle of wine is uncorked. Cheers Rosa Roth!

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