German wine reforms a positive change

22nd August, 2014 by Simon Howland

Wine reforms in Germany will benefit the consumer and should see the re-emergence of some spectacular long lost appellations, but will not solve all of the country’s problems.

VDP, a German stamp of quality.

VDP, a German stamp of quality.

A new German regulation is likely to result in the reappearance of some top vineyard names on labels but there are concerns consumers will continue to be confused, according to Michael Schmidt in the Purple Pages.

The federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz has passed a regulation enabling producers to declare the origin of plots within single vineyards as long as they are recorded in the land registry.

This will enable growers to be more specific and more narrowly define a wine’s origin than at any time since the German wine law of 1971 came into force.

The changes also require higher must weight from single vineyard appellations and restrict terraced vineyard sites to the two varieties, Riesling and Spätburgunder.

The legislation covers wines grown in Mosel-Saar, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Nahe, Ahr and Mitterlrhein.

The famous terraces of the Mosel are covered by the new legislation.

The famous terraces of the Mosel are covered by the new legislation.

The Verband Deutscher Prädikats, the association that includes most of Germany’s top wine producers, has welcomed the new decree but insists there is more to be done for consumers to clarify the differences between Grosslagen (Collective sites) and Einzellagen (Vineyards).

Schmidt cited Piesporter Michelsberg, which incorporates an area under vine, well exceeding the boundaries of Piesport, and Piesporter Goldtröpchen, which refers to one clearly defined site, as an example for potential confusion and argues unless differences such as this are clarified all the good intentions of new laws will not have any tangible impact.

The 1971 legislation was important as it abolished many of the designations, over 30,000 at the time, and included them in larger individual sites thus simplifying things for the consumer.

While generally positive the 1971 legislation also meant that, in certain instances, wines of a lower quality were bundled together with others of a higher quality thus diluting the quality and reputation of the latter and some excellent plots disappeared into lesser groupings.

Schmidt believes the new legislation will see the resurrection of some of these “fine and famous” appellations that were no longer permitted after 1971.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more