Corona nearly did it; the vicious Covid virus nearly blocked the test run for a new cross-country initiative. By the middle of June, Poland’s government announced the decision to reopen their borders.
Hence, the organisers of the German-Polish Wine and Treat Fest Coolinaria, scheduled for June 27th, felt some relief.
The event had been planned well in advance; featuring regional wine, beer, local food and agricultural products from both sides of the river Neisse.
Wineries from Silesia, Saxony and Brandenburg were invited to come together, craft beer brewers were supposed to present their products, selected restaurateurs would come to delight the guests. Then the lockdown came.
Coolinaria roots back to an idea of Agnieszka Bormann, who is cultural contributor of the Silesian Museum in Görlitz. Her idea was to search for young modern Silesia. Together with the ambitious wine merchant Axel Krüger, she visited 12 wineries between Breslau and Grünberg in spring of 2019. They both were surprised to find highly innovative vineyards; many investments in estates, fleets and vinification amplified the local will to thrive.
Some of the mostly unknown Polish wines showed such a quality that Krüger decided to think about cooperation. He called Sonja Schilg, head of the federal Saxonian vineyard Schloss Wackerbarth, known to the Görlitz citizens as long-time head of the local brewery Landskron. She argued that Görlitz did not have a wine fest so far and agreed to support the idea for Görlitz as quality site.
While finding a name, it was considered that it should be understandable in both German and Polish. Hence, the terms Kulinarium and Kulinary appeared among others, resulting in the newly coined name Coolinaria. “We wanted to address a young audience as well, as the treat and gastronomer image sometimes is elite.”
From that point on, Krüger tried to guide a team of enthusiasts without budget but with great ambition, in the firm belief of success. He also got support from both mayors of Zgorzelec and Görlitz, Rafal Gronicz and Octavian Ursu. He presented his concept to the local institution for economic promotion, which approved his product as perfectly fitting application for the tourism sector. And then he looked to the development of the corona crisis day by day.
In the meantime, Agnieszka Bormann tried to comfort the Polish winegrowers, who were irritated and sceptical due to the closed borders. But finally, on the start run on June 27th, many Polish exhibitors, producers and restaurateurs were satisfied with the excitement of the guests. With Winnica Silesian one of the most ambitious young Polish vineyards presented its products. From the Zgorzelec county, the managers of the restaurant and vineyard Hanna delighted the thankful guests with their charming treats. Polish ice cream, liqueur and craft beer from Görlitz, fair trade specialties as well as a passionately run table soccer manufacturer brought enjoyment to the sunlit fest. The initiative „Ein Korb voll Glück“ showed the region’s opulence of agricultural products. “We are very happy that such a mixed audience was here. We wanted to address young guests, and that’s what we did.”
The next Coolinaria fest will take place on June 26th and 27th in 2021, hopefully as a full version without corona restrictions. For the years to come, Krüger would like the fest to take place, alternating by year, in Zgorzelec and in Görlitz. “As a long-term development, it would be my dream that we could establish a trademark for treat or gourmet products, as a further stepstone of local marketing.” He already works together with a student intern of his company to work on the basis for that.
Photos: Paul Glaser