The “Union of European national football teams of winemakers e.V.” (UENFW) was launched at the Apače wine estate of Danilo Steyer, president of the Slovenian wine and football association, during the European winegrowers' football championship (VINOEURO 2018) that took place in Slovenia at the end of May 2018. The association, which is registered under German law, was established in Slovenia by founder members from eight European nations who are united in their desire to present the combination of wine and football in Europe as common cultural heritage. Every two years the football teams, consisting mainly of renowned winegrowers, play each other in the VINOEURO. The first two halves are devoted to the truly impressive sporting performances of the winegrowers, whilst the ‘third half’ is all about top-class, moderate vinophile and culinary delights.
The European winegrowers' football championship thrives on the enormous passion that football generates. Despite the fiercely competitive nature of the championship, friendships are forged between players, partners, sponsors and fans. Luigi Brunetti, the former Italian top chef at the “Alter Haferkasten” in Neu-Isenburg, Germany and Dr. Franz Josef Jung - a winegrower’s son from the Rheingau – came up with the idea for the international football matches during Dr. Jung’s time as Federal Minister. After his election, the new honorary president Brunetti commented: “Friendship within Europe is very important to us! With wine and football we can reach the hearts of the people.”
The presidents of the eight national associations of Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, deliberately chose Hochschule Geisenheim University as the headquarters of the new European association whose members will collaborate to develop, regulate and monitor key parameters for the policy framework. The university, which is situated in the beautiful Rheingau at the heart of the Rhine-Main region, enjoys an excellent reputation throughout Europe. It promotes and embodies internationality and diversity and thus offers the perfect environment. Two more top European viticultural institutions, the universities of Pisa (Italy) and Maribor (Slovenia), have now also embraced the topic of wine and football.
Erica Fischbach from Klaus-Peter Willsch’s Bundestag office has been elected general secretary and will be largely responsible for setting up the new association. As soon as this work is complete, preparations will start for the VINOEURO 2020 Czech Republic, which is expected to take place from May 19 to 23, 2020.
“Our prime goal is to integrate the great wine and football nations France and Spain in time for the 2020 event in the Czech Republic. Initial talks with embassies, journalists and associations are already underway. Wine and football can bridge all language and social barriers and we want to contribute to a free, peaceful and friendly Europe. My friends from eight different nations and I are committed volunteers for this cause,” says Robert Lönarz, the newly elected UENFW president and campus manager of Hochschule Geisenheim University.
Dr. Franz Josef Jung (Germany)
Luigi Brunetti (Italy)
István Husár (Hungary)
Robert Lönarz (Germany)
Martin Wiederkehr (Switzerland)
Danilo Steyer (Slovenia)
Erica Fischbach (Germany)
Head of Advisory Board VINOEURO
Martin Chlad (Czech Republic)