He headed the State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG) in Veitshchheim for seven years. Hermann Kolesch is now retiring – contrary to plan.
Hermann Kolesch is sitting in his office for the last time, at the large desk with a view of the Franconian wine landscape on the outskirts of Veitshchheim (district of Wrzburg). He is still working on his video message for the 300 employees of the State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG). Kolesch headed this office as president for seven years. Due to the corona pandemic, there will be no big farewell, no ceremony and no real handover this Thursday. It is hard to imagine that a man like Hermann Kolesch, who was always present, whom almost everyone in Mainfranken knows, who was loud at times and who always worked for Franconian wine and the Franconian wine industry, should now go quietly and quietly.
Sausage, wake and wine are not available in Corona
“Actually, I would have said goodbye to a party with sausage, wake-up and wine among my employees,” says Kolesch a little sadly. “Maybe there will be a little celebration in autumn.” Instead, there is a video for the employees on the last working day. “I’m not totally out of here,” says Kolesch. He will continue teaching at the master and technical school for viticulture and horticulture, two hours a week. He is looking forward to it. “That also keeps me professionally fresh.” And he will continue to work as an external advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture. “I can’t imagine just sitting at home.”
“Working in the vineyard shaped me!”
Hermann Kolesch, President of the LWG–
Kolesch was born and grew up with his brother Horst, who is now the director of the Juliusspital winery, in his parents’ winery in Iphofen (district of Kitzingen). At the wedding, his parents were asked what they wanted: a Grundig radio or a vineyard? Although Franconian viticulture was on the ground after the war, the parents chose the vineyard. The LWG President likes to tell this story. “Working in the vineyard shaped me.” He studied agriculture himself, like his brother. But neither of them wanted to take over the family business. “My goal was research,” says the 65-year-old.
Kolesch cleared out the large wall unit in the office during the week. A record cover by Bob Dylan hangs over his desk. “The times, they’re a changing”, the times are changing, there is a goodbye there .. “I like listening to music!” Says the 65-year-old. Later he has to take his Paul Klee prints off the wall. It is not easy for him.
One last surprise for the boss
Two employees came to the office at 9 a.m. and asked Kolesch to come out on the balcony. As a last surprise for the boss, all employees gathered in the courtyard of the state institution with masks and a sufficient distance. From big boxes “The times, they’re changing”, Kolesch’s favorite song. The otherwise tough LWG president is visibly moved. He would not have expected that.
“My door is always open to you, you said to the staff right from the start,” says Gerd Sander, head of the Institute for Commercial and Leisure Gardening. And quotes Bob Dylan: “A person is successful when he does what he likes between getting up and going to bed. That was the case with you Hermann,” says Sander. All employees applaud loudly.
Wine tourism and the development of rural areas were Kolesch’s favorite subjects when he started at the LWG in the late 1990s. “It is important to keep our villages alive by bringing guests to the region,” he says. Back then, Franconian wine was in a major identity and quality crisis. “The Germans drank more Pinot Grigio than Silvaner, the Bocksbasche looked old-fashioned. Franconia at that time only consisted of the three Bs: Bocksbbeutel, Bratwurst and Barock,” said the LWG boss in retrospect. It was an exciting time for young Kolesch.
“We are paid to think five years in advance.”
Hermann Kolesch, LWG President–
As president, the restructuring of the authority was one of his main tasks: four institutes emerged from four departments: viticulture, horticulture, land maintenance and apiculture. Work across disciplines is more than before. “We use the greatest treasure we have for this: the know-how of each individual employee. Research is always the focus:” We are paid to think five years in advance. Kolesch proudly lists what was built during his term of office: the new building on the Stutel, the amphora cellar, the sensor center. The wine cellar from 1978 was also completely renovated.
The winegrowers are worried about the future
Kolesch sees the Franconian wine well positioned. “We are not hyped like other wine-growing regions, but we are considered an insider tip.” Nevertheless, the winegrowers are worried about the future. The corona pandemic has led to the collapse of direct marketing and tourism, the ice healers have added to the wine and the winegrowers may be expecting the third dry year in a row. “As far as irrigation is concerned, we in Veitshchheim have the technical expertise nationwide,” said Kolesch. If you hear him speak like this, you cannot imagine this man without his work.
He confesses the spirit of the state institution, which he will miss. “We always have to seek dialogue with society. The task of the LWG will continue to be to pass on the specialist knowledge.” When retired, Kolesch wanted to ride his BMW R51 / 3 motorcycle, travel and devote himself to art and culture. And when he finds time, he wants to write another book on viticulture. “I can chat out of the box.”
Kolesch would also like to have the last word on his farewell on Thursday. He expresses his gratitude to all employees. “A lot is changing and it will change for the better. Keep it up!”
State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture
The LWG was founded in 1902 as a royal wine, fruit and gardening school – in the center of Veitshchheim. The experimental and research activities occupy a large space right from the start.
In 1974 the state institute got its current name. After a reorganization, the LWG consists of the horticultural, viticulture, teaching and trial winery departments, grape breeding, state wineries and the state technical and technical school. 1975 The start of a vine protection warning service begins. In 1994 the Bavarian Garden Academy was founded as part of the LWG, and in 1995 the newly set up garden phone recorded more than 5000 calls.
In 2001, the teaching and testing industry for Gemsebau in Bamberg was organizationally integrated into the LWG. In 2003, the LWG established the first Internet technical school for gardening and landscaping in Germany. Students can take part in classes using a live stream. In the same year, the Bavarian Beekeeping Institute is moved from Erlangen to Veitshchheim.
In 2005, the winegrowing department of the Government of Lower Franconia and the winegrowing advisory team from the Office for Food, Agriculture and Forestry Kitzingen were integrated into the LWG.
Around 300 employees currently work at the locations in Veitshchheim, Thngersheim (“Stutel) and Bamberg. The State Master’s and Technical School for Viticulture and Horticulture is affiliated with 160 students per year.