The Tasting Panel magazine

Aug 09

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t alk about life cycles. Some 40 years ago, Germany's Rieslings enjoyed an international reputation that few others could repli- cate. Then came the upstarts: Australia, New Zealand and other producers honing in on the Rhine's coveted territory. But now, with ever-changing consumer preferences and a renewed interest in heritage wines, German Riesling is poised to take center stage once again. Producers here see an opportunity not only to recover their international reputation, but also to renew regional ties to their in- digenous grape (Riesling com- prises about 80 percent of vines planted in the Rhine). Burdened by complex wine law and chal- lenged by interna- tional producers who have swiftly and success- fully copied Riesling styles, German produc- ers are coming up with new ways to promote their wines. The new missionaries: a current generation of growers with sophisticated marketing chops. "Our communications about Riesling stress elegance and fi- nesse," says Antonie Pietsch, an enologist and wine tour guide in Mainz. "We now talk about ripeness, not sweetness." Variety 60 / the tasting panel / august 2009 German winemakers like Alexander Gysler see updating their estates and their marketing programs as complementary strategies. The Riesling Challenge Germany's wine marketers lure new buyers of this sometimes sweet, sometimes not-so-sweet varietal with some savvy tactics photos and story by Lana Bortolot Vineyards along the Rhine in the Pfalz. This is Germany's largest wine-produc- ing region, with about 20% of its vines designated as Riesling.

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