Syrian refugee crowned wine queen for Germany's Moselle region

Ninorta Bahno from Syria became the first refugee Wednesday to be crowned wine queen to represent German wine producers in the region around the Moselle, Saar, and Ruwer rivers in the western part of the country.

The wineries of the Trier-Olewiger region announced that Bahno, 26, will take on the task of promoting the region's wines.

"I am always happy to learn about new things," Bahno told dpa.

She admitted to liking sweet Riesling wines the most.

A Christian, Bahno fled to Germany three and half years ago from war-torn Syria and is currently training to work in the employment services area with an ambition to eventual study law.

Bahno told dpa that during her time as queen she plans not only to promote wine, but to be "an ambassador for integration."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sees integration as a key part of her government's refugee policy, after about 1 million asylum seekers arrived last year in Germany.

"As a refugee it is very difficult in the beginning to integrate into a new home," said Bahno, who studied law before fleeing Syria with her sister.

The challenge begins with learning about a new country's traditions, lifestyle and laws, she said.

"I want to show that Germany is a welcoming country and that the Germans are very hospitable and working towards a rapid and successful integration [of refugees]," Bahno said.

Bahno has already been preparing for her role as wine queen by reading books and seeking out practical knowledge on the wine business from winemakers.

Last update: Thu, 04/08/2016 - 01:37

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