Culture

An election, a wine cooler and ketchup in Trump's German village

In the German wine village where Donald Trump's grandfather was born, DW's Janina Martens found out what the teetotalling presidential candidate could drink instead of wine - and what the town has to do with ketchup.

Trump election poster overlooking Kallstadt, Germany, Copyright: DW

The contrast couldn't be greater. Instead of loud self-praise in the style of Donald Trump, Jürgen Oberholz simply tells his constituents, "I'm the new guy."

Oberholz is the new full-time mayor of the district which incorporates the small, central-western German wine village of Kallstadt, where Donald Trump's grandfather was born.

At a town hall gathering held earlier this week in a local gym, Oberholz celebrated his inauguration and discussed with some of the 1,200 local residents the challenges that await him - from new roads to providing rooms for refugees. He also expressed how happy he was that a new storage shed was being built to house fire-fighting equipment. The US, its presidential race, and the village's famous grandson could not have seemed further away.

Kallstadt residents are getting used to questions about Donald Trump but their patience is thinning. A documentary film called "Kings of Kallstadt" was filmed about Trump's ancestral village in 2014, well before he began his presidential campaign. In recent months the media coverage in the tiny town has only grown.

The town's former wine princess Sarah Bühler said in German that the billionaire's behavior was "Zum Fremdschämen," using a unique expression which means feeling embarrassment for someone else.

Young wine-grower Kai Weisenborn was not impressed, either. "I think the man is pretty anti-social. And that is absolutely not something that should be linked to Kallstadt."

Kallstadt sign, Copyright: Getty Images/T.Lohnes

Kallstadt is famous for its wine

What would Trump drink in Kallstadt?

A glance across the gym and the crowd of Kallstadt residents - some of whom are distantly related to Trump - reveals what the village aims to stand for: hospitality, celebrating and good wine. The locally made beverage flows generously throughout the event. Non-alcoholic drinks are nowhere to be found.

Presumably, that could be a problem for Trump, who says he does not drink alcohol. But in the unlikely event that the New York businessman ever decided to stop by Kallstadt, Thomas Jaworek has a solution: "Then we'll make a 'Trump sparkling wine cooler.' The mineral water will land in his glass, the wine in ours."

The sky is grey in Kallstadt and drops of rain pearl up on the old-fashioned iron signs labeling the wineries. Hardly anyone here has heard about Trump's huge success at the Super Tuesday primaries, where he won seven of the 12 states at stake. But one local gives a wry response to the results: "That's why the weather is so bad today."

Although the Kallstadt residents generally appear to be quite jovial and open, they've definitely had enough Trump talk after the "Kings of Kallstadt" documentary film and the onslaught of media throughout Trump's campaign.

Poster for film Kings of Kallstadt, Copyright: DW/J. Mertens

The "Kings of Kallstadt" film brought attention to the small village

Direct relative of Trump, Heinz families

Hans-Joachim Bender has had to deal with the brunt of the questions. The retired wine-grower is a direct relative of the Trumps; his grandmother was born with the now famous name, Drumpf (later changed to Trump in the US). What's more, he's also related to Kallstadt's other famous family: The Heinz clan - known for the American ketchup company.

These days, more people are interested in the election rather than ketchup, Bender concedes. "We don't have anything to do with the Trumps. They weren't interested when we were doing poorly," he commented.

While traveling in the US, Bender did not seek contact to his long-lost relatives. However, he did stop to look at the Trump Tower in New York City. "It's very impressive. We're not used to things like that here in Germany. And especially not here in Kallstadt."

The quiet wine village may not have a major supermarket or even a train station, but it does have new district mayor. Soon it will also be America's turn to go to the polls.

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