With more than four million vines cultivated over an area of roughly four million hectares Zell is one of the largest wine-growing communities in the Moselle. Riesling is the dominant grape, yet various other varieties are cultivated, such as Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus, Kerner.
The Legend of "Zeller Schwarze Katz"
The best known wine slope is "Zeller Schwarze Katz" and the wines cultivated here are famous world-wide for their excellence and balance. The legend of "Zeller Schwarze Katz" starts back in 1863, when wine merchants were visiting Zell. After an intensive wine-tasting session at the Mayntzer winery they had shortlisted three barrels, but could not agree which wine was the best. Frau Mayntzer, so the story goes, then came into the cellar with her black cat.
Suddenly the cat jumped onto one of the barrels, arched its back and snarled at anyone who dared approach this barrel. Thereupon the merchants quickly reached agreement and opted for the barrel so tenaciously guarded by the black cat. Some days late the same merchants returned to Zell and bought up all the wines grown on this slope, for the wine from the fiercely protected barrel had sold so well. Thus the wines from this slope came to be known as "Zeller Schwarze Katz" .
The slopes where the wines are cultivated are so steep that the use of machines is hardly ever possible and the wine growers do the work laboriously by hand. If you want to find out more about the Zeller wine and the work of the wine makers here, then visit the Heimatmuseum that is located in the Town Hall. 80% of Zell’s wine is exported; Japan, USA, Canada and South America are all important markets. And back home in Germany the wine regularly win prizes and awards both regionally and nationally.
The citizens of Zell built a monument to honour this wine. The "Zeller Schwarze Katz-Brunnen" or fountain a tribute to the significance of "Zeller Schwarze Katz“ for the town. The fountain is located in the heart of the old town and is the location for many cultural events. The fountain was built in 1936 using basalt from the Eifel. The inscription on the fountain in the local platt is, "He steiht ferm wie'n Zeller us'm Hamm" – or "Here stands firm a Zeller from the Moselle loop”. The significance of this inscription goes back to 1532 and the defence of Trier against the attack from Franz von Sickingen. Some hundred citizens from Zell made their way to Trier to support their neighbours. With this help the citizens of Trier were able to repel the attackers.