German wine still 'confusing'

23 August, 2007

Retailers of German wine have welcomed efforts to simplify German wine laws, but say two recent changes will make little difference to consumers or sales.

Wine region Mosel-Saar-Ruwer has been renamed simply Mosel to allow growers in the Saar and Ruwer valleys to "position their wines as specialities under a regional umbrella", according to Wines of Germany.

The quality wine term Qualitätswein mit Prädikat has also been shortened to Prädikatswein.

Andrew Taylor, of Taylor's Fine Wine in Kingston-upon-Thames, London, welcomed any move to make German wine easier for consumers to understand.

He said: "Anything they do to simplify the system has got to be a good thing, because one of the problems with German wine is that consumers find it all a bit confusing.

"The German wine industry is making lots of effort to make things more simple, but at the same time consumers have come to know things in a certain way, so these changes may not help that much."

David Motion, owner of The Winery in London's Maida Vale, agreed that recent changes would do little to increase consumer understanding.

He said: "I don't think simplification is necessary as it's a way of obscuring the fact that the wine is German. German wine needs to stand up and be proud. Consumers just need good, knowledgable help."

Motion said it was "crazy" to remove Saar and Ruwer from Mosel wine labels. "It would make more sense to keep the Saar and Ruwer and lose Mosel," he said. "Changing to Prädikatswein is fine, but I don't think it makes a great deal of difference."

Majestic's German wine buyer Camilla Bordewich also said the changes would have little impact on sales.

A growing demand for German Riesling in the US and a series of small harvests could lead to prices increasing in the UK, according to Awin Barrett Siegel Wine Agencies.

Riesling exports reached their highest level ever last year with value sales increasing by 6.7 per cent, according to Wines of Germany.

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