The Alumni get-together of Master in Management students was a great opportunity to reunite and network with other alumni not just from my intake year (2019) but also from the older (2017 & 2018) intakes. Frankfurt School planned an amazing agenda filled with academic talks, panel discussions, a monastery tour and wine tasting at a picturesque location at Kloster Eberbach in Rheingau. The location itself was breathtaking but the history behind it was even more exquisite. The event was organised by Aika Bolat and moderated by Prof. Dr Markus Fitza, the Academic Director of MiM. The guest of honour, Prof. Dr Hans Reiner Schultz led the discussions on the global issues of climate change and its impact on the wine industry.
On arrival, we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine and some appetizing refreshments. The event was a great opportunity for me to catch up with my old classmates and learn how they are impacting the corporate world. It was interesting for me to see that the participating alumni travelled not just from the neighbouring areas of Frankfurt but also from far-off places like Berlin, Munich and even Switzerland. After the initial interactions, we headed into a big room with a classroom-like setting. Honestly, I felt a bit nostalgic.
Prof. Markus Fitza led the seminar with a warm welcome of the alumni, and the reputed panellists which comprised Prof. Schultz, Ms Scharrer and Frankfurt School alumnus Bianca Weber and Isabel Radandt who provided their meaningful insights. Prof. Schultz took charge of the room as he started to present us with the different trends in climate, landscapes, and production systems.
As Prof. Schultz highlighted in his presentation, “To adapt, you need to know what is changing!”, it was important for us to understand how climate change will affect our favourite beverage. Some of the main factors that are impacting climate change and the wine industry are the decrease in yields due to an increase in temperatures which is correlated to the issue of water. As temperatures warm up, grape vines are less likely to produce grapes. The average temperature has increased by 2-3 degrees Celsius since 1980. The Clausius-Clapeyron relationship tells us, an increase of 1°C warming at 15°C means about a 7% increase in evaporation but it also means an increase in precipitation by 1-2%. Thus an increase of 2-3°C would mean 14-21% more evaporation.
After the presentation, the detailed discussion revolved mainly around two questions what can the wine industry do to make an impact on the climate or how climate change is having an impact on the wine industry? The discussion was lively, and the alumni visiting from all over Europe added to the diversity of opinions.
After the seminar, the next highlight was the guided tour of the monastery coupled with wine tasting. The Eberbach Monastery was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks. It is now one of the oldest wine-growing sites in Germany and a European Centre for wine enjoyment and culture. While we were tasting 5 different kinds of wines, the guide shared some fascinating facts and anecdotes about the history of the monastery and the wines. The monastery played an important role during the German Peasants’ War of 1524-25 when it served as headquarters for radical peasant leader Thomas Muntzer who led his troops against nearby towns before being killed at Frankenhausen Castle. Because of the lack of clean water, the only drink the peasants drank was wine and sometimes up to 8-10 litres of wine each day. The wine tasting was followed by a short tour of the monastery which led to the end of this beautiful event.
I feel that the impact of climate change on the wine industry is a crucial topic, and it was heartening to see that Frankfurt School is taking it seriously. The event was an excellent initiative to spread awareness and educate people about the impact of climate change on the wine industry. It was a well-organised event and the monastery tour, and wine tasting were all engaging and informative.
In conclusion, the MiM Alumni Gathering at Kloster Eberbach was a great success, and I look forward to more such events in the future.