Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The III. International Riesling Symposium (2017) in the Rheingau, Germany

Pictures: First Grand Tasting at III. International Riesling Symposium (2017) at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, with Dirk Würtz, Weingut Balthasar Ress, Kirk Wille, Loosen Bros. USA, Stuart Pigott, Wilhelm Weil, Weingut Robert Weil and Andrew Hedley, Framingham Wines, New Zealand

On May 29 and 30, 2017, Riesling experts from around the world - top winemakers, representatives from the trade and restaurant sector, and journalists – gathered at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau to celebrate, discuss and taste the arguably most noble white grape in the world - Riesling.

The International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau is part of the so-called Riesling Coalition, encompassing 3 major Rieslings events in Germany (International Riesling Symposium), in the US (Riesling Rendezvous) and in Australia (Riesling Downunder). Following this year’s International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau, the Riesling Coalition caravan will travel to Australia next year for the 2018 Riesling Downunder, followed by the Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State, in 2019 and the next International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau in 2020.

4 very interesting lectures, 4 outstanding wine tastings - one in the morning and one in the afternoon of each day - a tour of the Eberbach Monestary, where the conference took place, plus the Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach and a walking wine dinner provided for two fascinating and highly entertaining days around Riesling. Additionally, participants had a chance to visit Weingut Robert Weil, Schloss Johannisberg and Schloss Vollrads on a pre-conference tour on Sunday, before the conference started.

The symposium was attended by about 250 people, including such luminaries as Stuart Pigott from Germany, Willi Bründlmayer from Austria, Helmut Dönnhoff from the Nahe, Ernst Loosen from the Mosel, Anne Trimbach from Domaine Trimbach in Alsace, Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset Wines in Australia and Andrew Hedley of Framingham Wines in New Zealand.. Top winemaker Wilhelm Weil and his Deputy Director Jochen Becker-Köhn orchestrated the two days event.

The conference was organized by the VDP Rheingau and Weingut Weil. The VDP is Germany’s elite winemakers association; it has about 200 members.

For the 2016 Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, see: 5. Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, Washington State: Overview

For the 2014 International Riesling Symposium in Germany, see: The 2nd International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau, Germany

For the 2013 Riesling Rendezvous, see: The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

For the 2011 International Riesling Symposium in Germany, see: 1. International Riesling Symposium

Riesling in the World

There are about 47000 hectares planted with Riesling worldwide. Germany – with 22500 hectares – accounts for about half of the total. The second and third largest Riesling producer are the US (mainly Washington State and Finger Lakes Region) with 4800 hectares and Australia with 4100 hectares. But this is only about 1/10 of the total. Alsace follows with 3500 hectares. Alsace, Ukraine and Austria follow with 3500 hectares, 2700 hectares and 1900 hectares, respectively.

Overall, Riesling is really a niche wine, accounting for less than 1 percent of total wine production in the world - but a very special niche wine.

International Riesling Symposium: Monday May 29, 2017

9:30 a.m. Registration and Welcome to the IRS 2017

10:00 a.m. Opening Remarks

10:30 a.m. Lecture Library Hall - Prof. Dr. Andreas Kurth (Hochschule Geisenheim University): Current and future trends on the market for Riesling and the potential profitability of Riesling-specialized estates

11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:45 a.m. Wine Tasting Lay Brothers' Dormitory - Moderation: Stuart Pigott (Journalist, New York and Berlin): Preeminent Rieslings from the Old and New Worlds and their Paradigmatic Function in Global Riesling Cultivation

1:30 p.m. Lunch

2:00 p.m. Lecture Library Hall - Prof. Dr. Manfred Stoll Department of General and Organic Viticulture (Hochschule Geisenheim University) Influence of Grapevine Age on Physiological Parameters

3:00 p.m. Coffee Break

3:15 p.m. Wine Tasting Lay Brothers' Dormitory - Moderation: Dieter Greiner (CEO Weingut Kloster Eberbach) and Dr. Daniel Deckers (Editor FAZ, Frankfurt): Kloster Eberbach – Steinberg: A German Grand Cru. Tasting of dry Steinberg wines „from the Cabinet cellar“(1943, 1953, 1964, 2007, 2009, 2015) as well as the 1959 Steinberg vintage (Cabinet, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Edelbeerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese)

5:00 p.m.Tour of Kloster Eberbach, Weingut Hessische Statsweingüter Kloster Eberbach and the Steinberg Vineyard

8:00 p.m. Lay Brothers' Dormitory: Walking Wine Dinner with 5 Star Chefs

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

8:30 a.m. Coffee

9:00 a.m. Lecture Library Hall - Dr. Hermann Pilz, (Editor-in-chief at Weinwirtschaft, Meininger Verlag): Don Quijote the Nobleman, or: Why Oenology is Holding Back the Success of Riesling

10:00 a.m. Coffee Break

10:15 a.m. Wine Tasting Lay Brothers' Dormitory - Moderation: Dirk Würtz (Weingut Balthasar Ress Filling in for Stephan Reinhardt (Journalist, “Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate”)) Great Riesling and its Terroir – Contemplations on the Importance of Origin and the Winemaker’s Signature

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Lecture Library Hall - Dr. Daniel Deckers (Editor FAZ, Frankfurt): Luscious, Seductive, Innocent: The Perception of Hocks and Moselles the 19th Century

2:00 p.m. Coffee Break

2:15 p.m. Wine Tasting Lay Brothers' Dormitory - Moderation: Joel B. Payne, (Journalist, “Gault Millau Wein Guide,” Berlin) "The Aging Potential of Riesling”

4:00 p.m. Coffee Break

(4:15 p.m. Panel Discussions - Moderation: Sascha Speicher, (Editor-in-Chief, Sommelier Magazin, Meininger Verlag, Neustadt) “Riesling – where have we come from … where are we today … where do we want to go?”)

The panel discussion did not take place because of timing problems.

5:30 p.m. Parting Address

Pre-Conference Visits of Weingut Robert Weil, Schloss Johannisberg and Schloss Vollrads on Sunday, May 28, 2017

Many of us accepted Wilhelm Weil’s invitation and joined him on a pre-conference tour. We started out at Weingut Robert Weil with lunch, wine tasting and tour. At Schloss Johannisberg, we were received by the new Managing Director Stefan Doktor and his team. We and his team toured the historic cellar and the vineyards of Schloss Johannisberg with us. From Schloss Johannisberg, we walked about 30 minutes over to Schloss Vollrads. At Schloss Vollrads, we were received by Managing Director Roland Hepp and his Deputy Christine Müller. After touring the estate, the day ended with a wine pairing dinner in the courtyard of Schloss Vollrads.

Start: Weingut Robert Weil

Visit: Schloss Johannisberg

Visit: Schloss Vollrads

Dinner: Schloss Vollrads

Hotel Party

Those of us who stayed at the Kloster Eberbach Hotel got togather on Sunday evening after the retunr to the hotel from the pre-conference tour for an impromptu tasting at the Hotel Lobby, including Christian Schiller, Paula Bosch, Mathias Ganswohl, Christina Fischer, Anette Wabnitz, Paul Truszkowski, Nicole Retter, Sam Hofschuster, Stephanie Toole, Gerhard Wohlmuth and Jeffrey Grosset

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