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Alsace producer puts sweetness level on its labels

An Alsace producer is putting the amount of residual sugar on the labels of its Rieslings to help consumers know which wines are sweet and which dry.

Chateau d’Orschwihr’s winemaker Hubert Hartmann told ThirtyFifty that, unless a consumer knows a producer’s particular style of wine, it’s difficult to be sure just what sort of wine they are buying just by looking at the bottle for grapes that can be made to a variety of sweetness levels. So the company has included this to help drinkers make an informed choice.

Of course, this assumes that consumers have any idea of what level of residual sugar constitutes a sweet or dry wine. But there are defined levels set down by the EU. A dry wine is one with anything up to 4g/litre of sugar; up to 12g/litre of sugar constitutes a medium dry wine; a medium or medium sweet wine exceeds the level for medium dry but does not exceed 45g/litre of sugar; and a sweet wine has not less that 45g/litre of sugar. So, for instance, one knows that Chateau d’Orschwihr’s Riesling Bollenberg with 1.4g/litre of residual sugar is going to be dry.

Hubert thinks it would be good if more producers followed Chateau d’Orschwihr’s idea, but in the meantime he says the move works to his company’s advantage as consumers hopefully won’t be disappointed by the style of wine when drink it.