The three countries bordering the Mosel river are joining forces to give the region's wine a more user-friendly image.
Involving some 20 agencies in France, Germany and Luxembourg – as well as the European Union – the Terroir Moselle project is set to combat what proponents feel is an onslaught of nondescript, industrial wine.
The goal is to highlight common elements of Mosel Valley wines to give consumers a better understanding of what makes wine special – leading to a higher profile for all.
‘Winemakers on both sides of the river have an identity problem,’ said Philippe Eschenauer, coordinator for Luxembourg, on behalf of the Duchy’s rural development agency.
‘While German Mosel wines are best known for their Riesling, Riesling is grown in France and Luxembourg too – just as other grapes grow on the German Mosel.’
Eschenauer said the fragmented nature of the area has led to classifications and other descriptions that baffle most consumers.
‘There are 2,000 years of common viticultural history. When we speak of the Mosel, it should be of the European Mosel – not of the French, German or Luxembourgish Mosel,’ he said.
Seeded with funding from the EU Leader and Interact programmes, Terroir Moselle will now seek the participation of 4,000 winemakers across the region.
‘It’s too early to say how this will help us,’ said Marc Krier of Caves Krier Frères in Luxembourg, and secretary of the Schengen Prestige Charter – a consortium of eight winemakers from the three countries who joined forces in 2008 to promote their wines.
‘What’s important is that we start working together. For each winemaker to defend his corner makes it very difficult to get noticed.’
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Written by Maggie Rosen