Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer of Riesling 2013 and 31 Days of German Riesling 2013 in the United States

Summer of Riesling 2013

Summer of Riesling is starting today. Hundreds of restaurants in the US are celebrating the Summer of Riesling from June 21 to September 21, 2013. The restaurants agreed to feature at least three Rieslings by the glass throughout the entire summer, along with their bottle selections.

31 Days of German Riesling

As part of the Summer of Riesling, during the month of July, participating restaurants are serving at least two German Rieslings and retailers offer at least one in-store tasting.

Summer of Riesling Party in Washington DC with Annette and Christian Schiller

If you are in Washington DC on July 21, please join Annette and Christian Schiller for a "Summer of Riesling" party from 6 pm to 9 pm at their home in McLean, VA, 22101, 6404 Woodsong Court. Please bring a bottle of your favorite Riesling, dry, fruity-sweet, noble-sweet, from Germany, Alsace, Austria, Finger Lakes, Virginia or anywhere else in the world and rsvp to

Picture: Annette Schiller with Stefan Ress, Weingut Balthasar Ress (Hattenheim, Rheingau) at Kloster Eberbach. Weingut Balthasar Ress in Hattenheim is one of the stops at the forthcoming wine and culture trip to Germany, organized by Annette Schiller from ombiasy wine tours:Ombiasy Wine Tours: Wine and Culture Tour to Germany Coming up in August 2013


Worldwide, there are about 34.000 hectares planted with Riesling. Germany – with 22.400 hectares – accounts for 2/3 of the total. The second largest Riesling producer is Australia, with 4500 hectares. But this is only about 1/10 of the total. Alsace follows with 3500 hectares. Austria, the US with Washington State and New York State as well as New Zealand make up the remainder. But overall, Riesling is really a niche wine, accounting for only less than 1 percent of total wine production in the world - but a very special niche wine.

Dry and Sweet Riesling

Many wine drinkers, in particular outside of Europe, when they see a Riesling in the shelves, have the association of a sweet-style wine. This is however misguided. Rieslings as a rule are dry wines. Of course, there are the famous sugar sweet Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein and Schilfwein wines from Austria and Germany, the Sélection de Grains Nobles from France, the icewines from Canada and other Rieslings, made from botrytized, dried or frozen grapes. The grapes that go into these wines have such a high sugar content that there is nothing you can do to make dry wines out of these grapes. They inevitably produce nobly sweet wines. But apart from these exceptions, which account for only a tiny share of total production, Riesling grapes in Germany, Austria, Alsace, the US and Australia have normal sugar content at the time of fermentation and tend to produce dry wines, when fully fermented.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Clemens Busch at Kloster Eberbach

See also:
With Wine Maker Clemens Busch in Puenderich at his Winery in the Mosel Valley, Germany

However, modern cellar methods allow winemakers in Germany (and elsewhere) to produce wines with a bit of residual sugar with these grapes. There are principally two methods applied in Germany – but neither in Austria nor Alsace - for making these sweet-style Rieslings. First, you do not let the fermentation run its course and stop it; as a result, you get a deliciously sweet and low alcohol wine. Second, you let the wine fully ferment to a normal alcohol level and then add Suessreserve (sterilized juice) to achieve the desired degree of sweetness. These sweet-style wines have lost popularity in Germany, although there appears to be a comeback, but in any case remain very popular outside of Germany, for example in the US.

Summer of Riesling

The Summer of Riesling concept was created in 2008 when Manhattan restaurateur and Riesling fanatic Paul Grieco (Hearth Restaurant, Terroir E.Vil, Terroir, Tribeca and Terroir Murray Hill) decided that during the summer the ONLY white wine that Terroir customers could get was Riesling. The following years the Summer of Riesling expanded in various ways, initially by enlisting other Manhattan wine bars as part of the celebration and adding a concert where the only alcoholic beverage available was Riesling—no beer, no spirits. In 2011 Paul took the Summer of Riesling national, with support from the International Riesling Foundation (IRF), an organization specifically created to promote Rieslings from around the world.

Paul Grieco: The Summer of Riesling

The Summer of Riesling in Paul Grieco o-tone:

What is it? - a love affair with the world's greatest grape expressed in full Technicolor.

Why? - because we must overcome this hackneyed belief that the glorious diversity of Riesling is also a fault...simply put, no grape can do what the Riesling grape can do.

Picture: Paul Grieco (Photo: Summer of Riesling)

Where? - every corner of the globe where wine is available.

When? - from June 21st to September 21st (we ain't kidding when we call it the Summer of Riesling!).

How? - by bringing everyone together and handing them a glass of Riesling and engaging them in conversation, with the thrust of the dialogue centering on:

Balance...of bone-crunching acidity and potential sweetness a conversation with Jeffrey Sachs if Benjamin Millepied was dancing across your tongue
Longevity...suffice it to say, Moses lived a brief life compared to bottles of this wine
Sense of Place...even Bigfoot's footprint cannot encapsulate all the terroir that Riesling contains

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  1. Shouldn't the event on the 21st of July be from 6 PM - 9 PM? I know hardcore Riesling fans are ambitious but 6 AM at the crack of dawn would even be a bit early for them!