Germany: Riesling on a continued path of success

German winegrowers expect increased demand at ProWein 2006

German winegrowers have a reason to smile. Despite the difficult economic situation, the German wine market showed some positive developments in 2005. Demand from overseas grew by 12 percent, and sales to other European countries showed an increase of six percent compared to the same period last year. More and more, German wine is becoming an important ingredient of international consumption culture. The current 2005 vintage positions German winegrowers to score even more points with the international audience at ProWein 2006.

All in all, Germany’s contingent includes 650 exhibitors from 13 growing regions who present their products on a display area of 16,000 m2. At the shared stand of the “VDP. The Prädikat Wine Estates“ in hall 4, 114 wine estates will be represented, including renowned companies such as Dr. Heger / Baden, Rudolf Fürst and Horst Sauer from Franconia, Toni Jost-Hahnenhof / Middle Rhine, Fritz Haag / Moselle, Dr. Loosen / Moselle, Sankt Urbans-Hof / Moselle, Emrich-Schönleber / Nahe, Bassermann-Jordan / Palatinate, Ökonomierat Rebholz / Palatinate, Knipser / Palatinate, Robert Weil / Rheingau, Gunderloch / Rhine-Hesse, Schloss Proschwitz / Saxony and Graf Adelmann / Württemberg.

International Riesling Renaissance
The uncontested figurehead of the German wine scene is the Riesling, which maintains its lead with a solid 20% share of the total growth area (approximately 102,000 hectares) not only in the national vine variety roster. “Riesling is no longer just a trend,“ Philipp Wittmann of the Wittmann Wine Estate in Westhofen / Rhine-Hesse explains, “Riesling has established itself among the top wines.” And this is true all over the world. Jochen Becker-Köhn of the Wine Estate Robert Weil / Rheingau, expects an initial push for increasing international demand for German Rieslings on the US market. “For years, German Wine Estates have been listed there with the top cuisine providers. This builds image and creates a buzz for the entire German wine industry that must not be underestimated.”

2005 Vintage: A Coveted Product
Steffen Christmann, Acting President of the VDP Palatinate and the winegrowers from Gimmeldingen thinks that particularly the Scandinavian and the Benelux countries represent interesting future markets, and, according to Christmann, also Spain and Italy are showing growing interest in German wines. Worries about possible shortages of the top Riesling qualities of the 2005 vintage are expressed more and more. This is due to the fact that the German winegrowers suffered harvest losses between ten and forty percent in 2005. On the other hand, this vintage offers quality across all levels - from the simple, refreshing estate wines via delicate Kabinett qualities and juicy, elegant late harvests to sophisticated, sweet specialty selections. German quality wine producers focus increasingly on production of the “g