Rieslingfeier is an annual two-day event in New York City that celebrates German Riesling. The cornerstone event is the Rieslingfeier Gala Dinner. Inspired by Daniel Johnnes’ famous Burgundy fête “La Paulée,” it is very likely the greatest German wine "BYOB" dinner in the world, with both winemakers and guests bringing special bottles from their cellars to share. Side events, specialized seminars and retail tastings round out the yearly Rieslingfeier program. Rieslingfeier is orchestrated by Stephen Bitterolf of the vom Boden wine importing company.
This year, Rieslingfeier took place on the Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31. 11 winemakers attended, all belonging to the elite of German winemakers, including world stars like Klaus Peter Keller, Egon Müller and Johannes Leitz.
This posting is part of a series covering the 2015 Rieslingfeier; it provides an overview. Here is a list of all postings:
Coming-up: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA
Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA
Rieslingfeier 2015 – Riesling Crawl, USA
Rieslingfeier 2015 – Gala Dinner, USA
The Winemakers of the Rieslingfeier 2015, USA
Most of the photos are mine. I also used a few photos which Roman Niewodniczanski of Weingut Van Volxem put on his facebook page. Thank you very much Roman.
Annette Schiller, who organizes wines tours (ombiasyPR and WineTours), and Christian Schiller, who blogs on schiller-wine, joined the 2015 celebration of German Riesling. We were happy to meet the participating German elite winemakers. Many of them we know personally. Some of them we call our friends.
The visit of Weingut Selbach-Oster was one of the highlights of the Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014). The 3 forthcoming Germany Wine Tours in 2015 include tastings with Johannes Leitz, Weingut Josef Leitz, Klaus Peter and Julia Keller, Weingut Keller and Roman Niewodniczanski, Weingut Van Volxem, in addition to many other elite wine producers, including some not yet well known outside of Germany.
4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux
ombiasyPR and WineTours, Johannes Leitz and his Wife at Kloster Eberbach, Germany
ombiasyPR and WineTours, with Roman Niewodniczanski, Weingut Van Volxem, in Frankfurt, Germany
Rieslingfeier Welcome Party
To welcome the Riesingfeier 2015 participants, the trendy wine bar Corkbuzz Chelsea hosted a late-night BYOR soirée on Friday, January 30th. This was a great opportunity to mingle and celebrate the kickoff of the Rieslingfeier 2015 with winemakers, trade people and German wine lovers, who came from all parts of the country.
The series of Rieslingfeier seminars provided German wine freaks the opportunity to cover a Riesling topic for 90 minutes in depth with 3 winemakers. All Rieslingfeier seminars took place at The Modern. There were 3 seminars, all sold out:
Terroir, Riesling and the Rhein - with Eva Fricke, Keller, Leitz. Moderator: David Schildknecht
Saar Diversity - with Hofgut Falkenstein, Van Volxem, Zilliken. Moderator: David Schildknecht
What is a Kabinett? - with Karthäuserhof, Egon Müller, Selbach-Oster. Moderators: John Gilman and Stephen Bitterolf
Riesling Reborn – with Immich-Betterieberg, with Van Volxem, Von Winning. Moderator: David Schildknecht
Seminar: Riesling Reborn
Roman Niewodniczanski on his facebook page: Surrounded by world-famous sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Auguste Rodin, the seminars of the third annual Rieslingfeier were held in The Modern, a restaurant located in MoMA. Together with the former winemaker of Van Volxem Gernot Kollmann (Immich-Batterieberg) and Andreas Hütwohl (von Winning), I was allowed to talk about the rich history of German wines in front of a crowd of sommeliers, wine merchants, and journalists. The seminar was called “Riesling Reborn.” The wine critic David Schildknecht, who is one of the most knowledgeable experts on German wines and who previously wrote for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, was the moderator. Interested guests were surprised to learn that even the famous wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux (Romanée-Conti, Latour, and Margaux, among others) were offered for less money at New York luxury hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton or Waldorf Astoria, in the 1930s.
The Riesling Crawl was a free and open-to-the-public tasting, pairing the attending German winemakers with several of New York’s top German wine retailers on Saturday, January 31.
12:30-2:30pm: Egon Müller and Hanno Zilliken
Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette Street
12:30-2:30pm: Johannes Weber (Hofgut Falkenstein)
Chambers Street Wines, 148 Chambers Street
12:30-2:30pm: Johannes Selbach (Selbach-Oster) and Christian Vogt (Karthäuserhof)
Flatiron Wines & Spirits, 929 Broadway
2:30-4:30pm: Roman Niewodniczanski
Back Label Wine Merchants, 111 West 20th Street
2:30-4:30pm: Andreas Hütwohl (Von Winning) and Gernot Kollmann (Immich-Batterieberg)
Crush Wines & Spirits, 153 East 57th Street
2:30-4:30pm: Klaus Peter Keller
Moore Brothers Wine Company, 33 East 20th Street
Pictures: Klaus Peter and Julia Keller with Timo Seiwert (Pinard de Picard) at Moore Brothers Wine Company, 33 East 20th Street, with David Schildknecht, Christian Schiller and Annette Schiller
2:30-4:30pm: Eva Fricke and Johannes Leitz
Union Square Wines, 140 Fourth Avenue at 13th Street
Rieslingfeier (Rieslingfire) Gala Dinner 2015
While a warehouse complex went up in flames next door to the restaurant and hundreds of New York City firefighters were fighting against the fire and the freezing temperatures, the most spectacular Riesling Party of North America took place at the trendy Reynard in the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, on Saturday, January 31. About 100 wine freaks made the pilgrimage from across the country to NYC to be with 11 top German producers, leading wine and food journalists, importers, and sommeliers to enjoy a casual dinner and Riesling rarities. In fact, earlier in the day, there was the real possibilty that the Rieslingfeier would become a Rieslingfire and needed to be cancelled or moved to another location.
There were 11 tables with 1 winemaker and 10 guests at each table. The five course meal was customized by Reynard’s Chef Sean Rembold to pair with dry and off-dry Riesling. The wine service was presided over by Rieslingfeier Chef Sommelier Raj Vaidya along with a group of the country's top sommeliers.
My wife Annette Schiller was sitting at the table of Roman Niewodniczanski, Weingut Van Volxem, while I was sitting at the table of Johannes Leitz, Weingut Leitz. At each table, about 20 wines were served. At my table, Paul Grieco (Hearth / Terroirs) and Juliette Pope (Gramercy Tavern) were pouring the wines.
All the wines were outstanding, but some of them were out of this world. You could walk to other tables and taste the wines poured there. Guests and winemakers also walked around and shared the wines with other people.
Rieslingfeier Charity Auction
This year, there was for the first time a live charity auction during the dinner, with all proceeds going to benefit City Harvest. Each attending winemaker contributed a very special bottle. The wines were organized into three lots.
Lot 1: 40 Years of Moselle, 1959-1999: 1999 Falkenstein Euchariusberg Auslese, 1983 Zilliken Rausch Beerenauslese, 1976 Selbach-Oster Domprobst Auslese, 1959 Immich-Batterieberg Auslese
Lot 2: Rheingau, Ruwer and Saar: 2002 Leitz Kirchenpfad Beerenauslese, 1999 Karthäuserhof Auslese #23, 1993 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Beerenauslese
Lot 3: Dry Riesling Rarities: 2008 Von Winning Jesuitgarten, 2006 Keller G-Max, 2006 Eva Fricke Krone Auslese Trocken, 2011 Van Volxem Gottesfuss 1.5L
Lot 1 was auction off for US$ 3400, Lot 2 for US$ 2600 and Lot 3 for US$ 2400.
Sitting: Johannes Selbach, Weingut Selbach-Oster, Mosel, Julia Keller, Weingut Keller, Rheinhessen
Eva Fricke, Weingut Eva Fricke, Rheingau
Not on the Picture: Johannes Leitz, Weingut Josef Leitz, Rheingau, Roman Niewodniczanski, Weingut Van Volxem, Mosel (Saar), Andreas Hütwohl, Weingut Von Winning, Pfalz, Hanno Zilliken, Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken, Mosel (Saar)
Rieslingfeier Chef Sommelier Raj Vaidya (Daniel), Andrew Algren (Alinea, Chicago), Ryan Arnold (LEYE, Chicago), Bryn Birkhahn (Pearl & Ash), Michelle Biscieglia (Blue Hill), Levi Dalton (I'll Drink to That), Michael Engelmann (The Modern), Raphael Ginsburg (Ai Fiori), Paul Grieco (Hearth / Terroirs), Michael Madrigale (Bar Boulud / Boulud Sud), Laura Maniec (Corkbuzz), Thomas Pastuszak (NoMad), Juliette Pope (Gramercy Tavern), Eric Railsback (Lieu Dit Winery), Jarred Roth (Riverpark), Michael Scaffidi (Union Square Cafe), Amanda Smeltz (Roberta's and Blanca), Michele Smith (Brooklyn Fare), Aldo Sohm (Le Bernardin / Aldo Sohm Wine Bar), Jeff Taylor (Betony), Mia Van de Water (North End Grill), Dustin Wilson (Eleven Madison Park), Hristo Zisovski (AltaMarea)
Rieslingfeier was founded in 2012 by Stephen Bitterolf, a passionate advocate for Germany's culture of winemaking. He was the Wine Director at Crush Wine & Spirits in New York where he helped develop one of the largest German wine programs in the country before founding his own import company, vom Boden.
In addition to the official program, there were also a number of side events. There was, for instance, a winemaker dinner with Johannes Leitz on Friday, January 31, at CorkBuzz Chelsea. Klaus Peter and Julia Keller told me that they presented their wines to a group of sommeliers on Thursday, January 30 at Thomas Keller’s Per Se Restaurant, followed by a winemaker dinner jointly with Egon Müller at Eric Rippert’s Le Bernadin on Friday, January 31.
We are looking forward to the Rieslingfeier in 2016.
schiller-wine: Related Postings
4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux
Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in New York City, USA
Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011
Dorothee Zilliken, Weingut Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Presents her Noble Rieslings at Frankfurt/Wein in Frankfurt, Germany
Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015 Awards Ceremony in Mainz, Germany