Who we are
Adopts Resolution on Wine Classification for Germany
Members agree upon three-stage model at annual meeting.
Germany.....A breakthrough was achieved at the VDP (Verband
Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter, the Association of German Prädikat
Wine Estates) annual meeting held this summer in Castell/Franken.
After nearly a decade of preparation, members passed a resolution
on wine classification for Germany, thus reaching a milestone in
the association's history ...and a milestone for wine lovers: at
long last they can enjoy "grand cru" wines from
Germany. The rest of the press release here.
Accord of 2002, Press Release, Östringen,
19 June 2002
Criteria for Great Growths and First Growths and Wines from a
VDP Accord of 2002 represents the input of the VDP regional
associations, who conscientiously helped define the basic profile
of great growth wines without losing sight of varying local
conditions. The result is a uniform framework of binding measures
for all estates that wish to produce great growth wines. It
recognizes that regional differences must be respected in order
to produce inimitable wines of the highest quality possible.
Within the overall framework, regions and districts are free to
stipulate stricter conditions (regarding maximum yields, starting
must weights or demarcation of classified sites, for example).
vineyards (or portions thereof) will be carefully classified by
the VDP regional associations in consultation with members whose
vineyards have already been classified. This forms the basis of
the categories of a "quality pyramid” as follows:
list of every region¹s demarcated top sites will be maintained
by the VDP national association. As new data becomes available,
the site lists can be updated accordingly.
vineyard areas registered for the production of great growths,
yields are restricted to 50 hl/ha.
for great growths are harvested selectively, by hand.
for great growths must be at least ripe enough to qualify as Spätlese.
growths are produced exclusively according to traditional methods
Great growths are subject to the general standards prescribed by the VDP national association as well as additional inspections and examinations. Quality-oriented measures are supervised in every vineyard prior to the harvest and vineyards are inspected to monitor yields.
wines undergo an additional strict, sensorical exam conducted by
great growths can be released on the first of September the year
after the harvest.
great growths can be released on the first of September two years
after the harvest.
VDP executive committee is empowered to issue a directive on
packaging in order to ensure clarity of labeling and uniform
appearance. A special bottle embossed with the "great growth
/ first growth logo” will be designed for great growths. The
special bottles and logo will always be used for great growths.
For 0.75-liter bottlings there are four types of bottle: the
traditional swan-necked bottle in green or brown glass (also as
half bottles); the flagon-shaped Bocksbeutel; and the Burgundy
great growth bottlings will bear a similar front label and a
capsule depicting the VDP logo the stylized eagle with a
cluster of grapes. The
front label must include at least the name of the vineyard site
and wine estate. The maximum data permitted on the front label
includes vintage, vineyard site, grape variety, wine estate,
location and region. All other data required by law are on a
growths are dry in style.
that produce great growths abstain from using "Auslese
trocken” to designate wines from the same site and grape
variety as their great growths.
sweet wines of the Prädikats Auslese and above that are produced
according to the same criteria are on a par with great growths
but are neither designated or packaged as such at this time.
site-specific traits of a vineyard must be clearly recognizable
in the wine. Every region¹s list of classified sites will be
completed and the introduction of "wines from a classified
site² will be effective in all regions by the middle of 2004 at
the latest. These measures will be introduced earlier in some
Wines from classified sites are produced from grape varieties determined by the regional associations.
are restricted to 65 hl/ha for wines from classified sites.
Grapes for wines from classified sites are harvested selectively, according to their degree of ripeness.
Grapes for wines from classified sites must be fully ripened and the ripeness level must be perceptible in the wine.
The wines are subject to examination during the organoleptic VDP estate inspection to confirm their overall quality and to ensure that they conform with the level of quality expected of wines from classified sites.
from classified sites can be recognized by a vineyard designation
on the label and a capsule depicting the VDP logo the stylized
eagle with a cluster of grapes.
The broad base of the "quality pyramid” comprises the VDP estates` "house wines”. They are produced according to the general standards and stringent quality criteria prescribed by the VDP, but are not marketed with a vineyard designation.
Grape Varieties Permitted for Great Growths as
Determined by the Regional Associations
Franken: Riesling, Silvaner, Weissburgunder, Spätburgunder
Riesling, Weissburgunder, Spätburgunder
Saale-Unstrut: Riesling, Weissburgunder
press release, 2002:
agree upon three-stage model at annual meeting.
Wallhausen/Castell, Germany.....A breakthrough was achieved at the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter, the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates) annual meeting held this summer in Castell/Franken. After nearly a decade of preparation, members passed a resolution on wine classification for Germany, thus reaching a milestone in the association's history ...and a milestone for wine lovers: at long last they can enjoy "grand cru" wines from Germany. The rest of the press release here.
a press conference following the meeting, assocation president
Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm expressed his satisfaction with the
outcome: "After ten years of carefully laying the
groundwork and intensely comparing notes on the various
classification models proposed in the different regions, the
resolution at hand truly represents a historical breakthrough.
It enables Germany's top-quality wine producers to reposition
their products on the international wine market, and to finally
do so on an equal footing with the "grand crus" of
other wine-growing countries. The resolution was also important
because Germany is unique among the wine-growing countries of
the world in that the entire area permitted for viticulture
potentially qualifies as being suitable for the production of
Qualitätswein. Furthermore, the difference between collective
and individual sites is confusing. Our proposal offers
consumers greater clarity in the future. When they see a wine
bearing the VDP capsule and the name of a vineyard site (wines
from classified sites), they can be certain that it is a
premium wine that clearly reflects its origin. The designations
"Erstes Gewächs" (first growth), "Grosses Gewächs"
(great growth) or "Erste Lage" (top site) will be
used to identify super-premium wines ("grand cru"
the most part, members were in agreement about the additional
measures that were passed.
regard to the implementation of new oenological procedures,
such as concentration, the members voted to abstain from its
general use, although methods of concentration probably will be
legalized in the future.
to the question of cultivating genetically altered grape
varieties, the delegates unanimously support a ten-year
moratorium. For this purpose, the VDP has joined the
French-European initiative "Terre et Vins du Monde".
annual meeting also provided an opportunity for Germany's
"wine elite" to take a critical look at the
association's name and logo. The members agreed that in
public, they will go by the shorter name "VDP. Die
(VDP. The Prädikat Wine Estates.) in the future. They
also decided to modernize their VDP eagle logo by
softening the martial look of the eagle. Henceforth the eagle
will sport rounded wings, bear a smaller cluster of grapes and
look less aggressive overall.
three-stage classification model.
wines of VDP members are still subject to the stringent quality
criteria that the VDP adopted in 1990.
the base of the
"quality pyramid" are the so-called "Gutsweine"
and "Ortsweine", i.e. an estate's "house"
wines, labeled simply with a proprietary name and/or broad
appellation of origin, such as the name of a village or region.
second level of the
"quality pyramid" consists of "klassifizierten
Lagenweine", or wines from classified sites, based on two
underlying concepts: 1) After a three-year grace period, at the
latest, VDP members will restrict their use of vineyard
designations to those sites that impart a distinctive character
to their respective wines. Every VDP regional association is
obligated, under private law, to determine which sites merit
classification status i.e. which sites yield wines that
clearly express site-specific traits. Then, and only then, will
VDP members market their wines with a vineyard designation on
the label; 2) said wines must also meet additional quality
criteria regarding maximum yield (65 hl/ha), grape variety
(traditional varietals), ripeness level of the grapes at
harvest (completely ripe), selective harvesting, and
supplementary sensory testing.
first and highest level
of the "quality pyramid" comprises the
"grand cru" wines of Germany. In the Rheingau, these
are identified as "Erstes Gewächs"; in other
regions, VDP members will use the designations "Grosses
Gewächs" or "Erste Lage" to denote these
super-premium wines. This very exclusive category, which will
seldom exceed 5% of an estate's overall production, is subject
to even stricter production criteria. Maximum yield is
restricted to 50 hl/ha, the choice of grape variety is
narrower, and various viticultural measures are controlled,
starting with pruning. A fully ripened crop is a matter of
course, as is selective harvesting, by hand. A VDP sensorical
exam is mandatory, in addition to that required by law for
wines designated as "Qualitätswein". In terms of
packaging, these wines can be recognized by a combination of
the "VDP eagle" with the name of a specific vineyard
levels of the "quality pyramid" are subject to the
general standards prescribed by the VDP national association.
The regional associations, however, can stipulate stricter
conclusion, Prince Salm summarized:
Photos from the annual meeting are available from VDP
Copies of media mentions are appreciated.
Three-stage VDP Classification Model
of texts to the pyramid)
criteria for the top level
texts left and right)
is restricted to classified sites
of grape variety is restricted
yield: 50 hl/ha
measures are subject to control
must weight: equivalent to Spätlese
harvesting, by hand
are subject to a VDP sensorical exam
are aged prior to first release
criteria for the second level
to the left in the middle of the pyramid)
is restricted to vineyards that impart discernible,
of grape variety is determined by the regional associations
yield: 65 hl/ha
standards of the VDP (text
of an estate's holdings are planted with traditional grape
varieties typical of their region, as recommended by the VDP
yield: 75 hl/ha
must weight (higher than prescribed by law) is determined by
the regional associations
harvesting for grapes of Auslese, and riper, quality levels
procedures adhere to measures prescribed for integrated
are subject to examination during a VDP estate inspection
must meet and maintain VDP inspection criteria (30 points)
inside the pyramid from top to bottom:
Gewächs / Erste Lage ("great
growth" / top site)
for other regions)
from a classified site")
desginations on VDP members' labels are restricted to top sites
only wines from lesser sites bear no vineyard designation.
Collective vineyard site names are never used.
und Ortswein ("house
wine" labeled with a proprietary name and/or the name of a
village or region)
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