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New restrictions for Alsace Grands Crus

Chaptalisation and acidification have been banned in Alsace’s Grand Cru wines from the 2011 vintage.

The vote was passed two weeks ago, with 20 of the region’s 28 Grand Cru representatives voting in favour of the restriction.

Christophe Ehrhart, winemaker at Josmeyer and vice-president of the regions’s Grand Cru association, explained the importance of this change.

“It’s a question of image,” he said. “If you want to exist as a Grand Cru appellation, you need to be serious about what you’re doing.”

Both practices will still be permitted in the rest of Alsace’s vineyards.

This move marks the first step in Ehrhart’s mission “to mark a difference between the Grands Crus and the normal appellations.”

He explained: “We want to make people work together, to make all producers aware of the quality it’s necessary to have.”

As part of this, Ehrhart is working on a scheme to create a website for each of the 51 Grand Cru sites in Alsace. This will provide details of soil and history, with links providing information on individual producers.

He is hopeful that this resource, which aims to help consumers develop a better understanding of Alsace’s top vineyard sites, will go live sometime next year.

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