SNEAKPREVIEW
VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® 2022
WIESBADEN

The dry top wines of the VDP celebrate their vintage debut

Anyone who sees a wine with the two letters GG and the logo of the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter e.V.) on the bottle knows: this is a top dry wine from one of the best German vineyards. Only vineyards classified as VDP.GROSSE LAGE® have the potential to produce these top wines. Produced according to strict quality criteria, tested by an appropriate sensory tasting and, above all, produced according to the highest standards of the winegrowers of the VDP.

However, it is not only the yield regulation, manual work and restriction to typical grape varieties that make these wines. Great wines need time. For this reason, it takes at least a year after the grape harvest for the white wines to reach the market. For the red wines, it is even two years later before they are bottled.

In a few days, always on the first of September each year, the wines with the label VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® come on the market. Thus, the event "Sneak Preview VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS®" marks the kick-off every year, when the who's who of the international and national wine world tastes the eagerly awaited new vintage in its entirety for the first time at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden. Only a small circle of top tasters from wine publications, trade and gastronomy has the opportunity to taste the new releases intensively over three days.

With one or two years of maturity, the wines are still young at this point, which requires special expertise and tasting experience among the guests. Professionals, however, recognize the potential in the wines, which prove to be true long-distance runners over the years and can still be aged and drunk for decades. Increasingly, some VDP wineries are even opting for a "late release" and holding back their wines for another two or even five years before presenting them to the public.

The great dry top wines in one place 

At the VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® preview, the wines are perfectly tempered and brought to the tasters' place in the desired order. Assorted according to their origin - so that wines from the same sites of vineyards from different winegrowers can be tasted side by side in comparison. The presentation by the VDP is carried out according to a procedure that has meanwhile been imitated many times internationally: Every single bottle is pre-tasted by wine professionals. Nearly 40 refrigerators temper the 82 flights with almost 450 different wines, which come in three days on the tasting table. 40 service staff people look after around 170 tasters from 22 different countries. 
 

20 years of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® - a success story  

The year 2002 marked the definitive beginning of the renaissance of high-quality, dry wines from Germany that are characterized by their origin. The preliminary work of the ‘Comitée Erstes Gewächs’ led to the implementation on a national level. Consequently, the VDP is celebrating an anniversary this year: 20 years of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS®. During a ceremony on the eve of the tasting in Wiesbaden, the 200 winegrowers of the VDP, supporters of the first hour as well as many companions look back on the development of the last 20 years (read the whole message here).  

20 years ago, 78 wineries showed wines from about 100 sites for the first time; at that time, the average price achieved was about 16 euros. Since then, Germany's Grand Crus have established themselves internationally and the name VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® has become a valuable brand. Some wines are subscribed to months in advance, and some rare examples from special sites are even auctioned off at top prices. On average, with a number of 629 GGs tested (in 2022), about 2800 bottles are produced, at prices that are several times higher than what is spent on a bottle of wine in Germany, with an average price of about 40 euros and a range of up to 120 euros and more.In terms of grape variety, Riesling dominates with 60%, followed by Pinot Noir, which accounts for 20%. 30% of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® wines are exported all over the world. While in past decades noble sweet 100 point wines pioneered German wine, remarkably it is increasingly the dry wines that are following suit and shaping the reputation - and no longer just on the white wine side, but also the reds.

‘Looking back today at the last 20 years, we are witnessing a rebirth of top wines and the unique terroir in Germany. What was at the beginning a focus on the grape variety Riesling from the Rhine Valley and the Mosel region, meets in the meantime a cosmopolitanism also for independent Silvaner, Pinots, Chardonnays and Lemberger. So we can consider ourselves lucky to be playing in a league on a par with the best wines in the world today,’ says Steffen Christmann, VDP president. 
 

How do these white wines of the 2021 vintage present themselves? 

The year 2021, which is the focus of this year, the growing season brought a challenge to many. In addition to late frosts in the spring and a summer with less sunshine and above-average rainfall, some winegrowers had to contend with the pressure of infection from fungal diseases due to the warm, humid weather. Precision, a lot of manual work and selective hand harvesting were necessary to achieve the desired quality. The VDP winegrowers took on this extra work, so that they are rewarded with particularly distinctive wines from the year 2021 thanks to precise vineyard work. Already in May, the fruit-sweet wines of the VDP.GROSSE LAGE® level of the 2021 vintage earned multiple praise. Now, the dry wines also lead us to expect a pointed acidity and fruity minerality - but especially an enormous longevity, considering that it is often the cooler vintages that possess a freshness that is unparalleled, even over decades. Thus, in the end, only one regret remains - namely, that there was not much quantity of the 2021 vintage due to the weather, which ultimately makes the wines all the rarer.
 

How does the 2020 vintage show in the red wine sector? 

Looking back, the 2020 wine year can be described quite differently. The dominant year for red wines, 2020, was characterized by drought in many places. Sunny autumn weather brought an early, quick harvest of heart-healthy, aromatic grapes. The grapes were also rather small-berried in the red grape varieties, so that aromatic red wines with great density are to be expected, which, however, at the same time have a pithy structure due to an earlier harvest, which clearly differs from region to region. 

 

Download press release

FACTS AND FIGURES

629 VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® will be launched on the market for the first time on September 1, 2022. These wines were produced in 327 sites.

 

By Grape Variety

Quantity

In Percent

By Region

Quantity

In Percent

Riesling

380

60%

Ahr

25

4%

Weißer Burgunder

35

6%

Baden

93

15%

Grauer Burgunder

22

3%

Franken

58

9%

Silvaner

24

4%

Mittelrhein

7

1%

Chardonnay

16

3%

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

83

13%

Traminer

2

0%

Nahe

39

6%

Spätburgunder

123

20%

Pfalz

110

18%

Lemberger / Blaufränkisch

21

3%

Rheingau

71

11%

Frühburgunder

6

1%

Rheinhessen

65

11%

 

 

 

Sachen-Saale-Unstrut

14

2%

 

 

 

Württemberg

64

10%

TOTAL

629

100%

 

629

100%

 

Voices of the press, trade & blogposts

Paula Sidore, Tamlyn Currin & Julia Harding MW | Jancis Robinson
GG release in 2022 - Riesling part 2

Paula Sidore, Tamlyn Currin & Julia Harding MW | Jancis Robinson
GG release in 2022 - Riesling part 1

Alexandra Wrann | Meininger's Wine Business International
VDP Wines Punch Above Their Weight

Joe Miller | Financial time
Fine wines and high-end cars make for a German renaissance

Lars Dalgaard | Vinbladet 
20 år med „Große Gewächse“
 

Arne Ronald MW | Vinforum 
ÅRETS GG-SMAKING I WIESBADEN
 

Nicoletta Dicova | Vinix
VDP Grosses Gewachs
 

Stuart Pigott | James Suckling
THE BEST OF GERMAN GGS

20 Years of VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® Anniversary

Recap VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® 2021 in Wiesbaden

©2021

Photos: Peter Bender