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Riesling surges forward with multiple US programmes

Riesling's emergence as Americas's fastest-growing white has spawned three separate programmes to promote it.

The latest is a European Union plan, managed by the German Wine Institute, to promote German, Austrian and Alsace Rieslings together

The second is creation of the International Riesling Foundation.

The third is the so-called Riesling Rendezvous. This conclave, begun last year, is to resume in July at Chateau Ste-Michelle, in Washington State. Ernst Loosen of Dr Loosen in the Mosel is co-sponsor.

The European program began this week with the introduction of Monika Reule, the new managing director of the German Wine Institute, in Mainz, to New York wine writers at a rare joint tasting.

She was joined by principals representing Christmann (Pfalz), Schlumberger (Alsace), Gunderloch (Rheinhessen), Hirsch (Kamptal and Kremstal, Austria), Schloss Johannisberg (Rheingau) and Selbach-Oster (Mosel).

The Riesling Foundation, founded in Washington State in November, began putting its agenda together at a California meeting on 31 January.

A key issue is development of a standard taste scale enabling consumers to know whether Rieslings are dry, off-dry or sweet. The foundation’s board, largely American but with Canadian, German and New Zealand members, plans to add more international members soon.

Napa market research firm Wine Opinions told the board that a survey had found ‘despite its strong growth, Riesling still has a long way to go in terms of broad popularity’.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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