Top German and Austrian winemakers flew into Dubai this week, in an attempt to break into the country’s blue-chip dominated wine market.
Producers including Schloss Johannisberg, Schloss Vollrads (Germany), Laurenz V and Weingut Bründlmayer (Austria), said they were trying to push knowledge of their flagship Riesling and Gruner Veltliner grapes.
The varieties are only just emerging. ‘Just two years ago, you rarely saw Riesling or Gruener Veltliner in Dubai,’ said Christian Witte of celebrated German vineyard Schloss Johannisberg.
The winemakers hosted a dinner party in the city’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, matching their wines with Asian cuisine.
‘The soft flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine are perfect for both varietals, while the spicier dishes in Asian cuisine match late harvest Rieslings,’ said Witte.
The largest of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is known for its luxurious lifestyle, and a wine market dominated by a taste for traditional upscale wines. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild’s Philippe Dallhuin will host a similar dinner at the Grand Hyatt this evening.
However, a market for other wine styles is emerging. According to Andrew Fenton at Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI), one of only two alcohol importers for the emirate, there is potential for German and Austrian wines.
‘What’s happening here is like an accelerated version of what the UK experienced,’ he said. ‘It took time for UK consumers to discover Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, but in Dubai, it has taken less than two years.’
Written by Panos Kakaviatos in Dubai