Germany's wines getting more recognisable
Germany is starting to relabel its wines with grape names that UK consumers recognise. The country’s producers have already had success with their Grauburgunder since they started calling it by the much more familiar name of Pinot Grigio. And now Spatburgunder – or, as we tend to know it, Pinot Noir – is going the same way.
As part of the country’s plan to show us that German wine isn’t complicated, the focus here will be on just a few varieties. The flagship variety is, naturally, Riesling, but as German wines are not only getting drier but redder too, the strategy is to try and tempt us with Pinot Noir as a second ‘brand’.
Plantings of this – or should we say Spatburgunder – have risen nearly 30 per cent in the six years between 2000 and 2006. And, overall, red varieties have increased by nearly 40 per cent, while whites over the same period have slumped by 17 per cent. In spite of this, the girls’ favourite little white number Pinot Grigio has upped its acreage significantly, with plantings up nearly 37 per cent.
Not surprisingly, this variety will be included in Germany’s push to mainstream consumers, which includes promotion through Tesco later this year. Riesling will also be highlighted here, along with rosé wines. According to Wines of Germany, producers are increasingly making rosé wines because not only are UK consumers’ desiring more of the pink stuff, but German drinkers are getting a taste for it too. At the top-end of the market, however, Germany will concentrate on just two varieties - Riesling and Pinot Noir – and will focus on promoting the pair through branches of Waitrose.
German wine will have come along way from the sweet, cheap stuff of the seventies if it can convince us that it is ‘trendy, cool, dynamic and urban’, as is its aim, but, in the words of the trade’s promotional body, ‘If you think you know German wine, drink again!’