Wine can be amazing fun — when it is a good wine. It’s clear from even the first sip that our VDP wines are more than just good: They are among the finest available not just in Germany, but in the whole world. The VDP is far from a short-lived marketing fad, rather it is an organization that since 1910 has stood for the avant-garde of German winemaking and a fierce opponent to mediocrity and mass-produced goods. We are proud of our efforts, because they have helped set standards for the entire industry and returned German wines to the wine lists of top international restaurants. Our winegrowers are passionate about their craft, "wine zealots" in the finest sense. A fact quickly established in any conversation with them — preferably over a glass of VDP wine.
All VDP winegrowers commit to comply with a strict set of rules above and beyond those prescribed by German law for "quality wine." A strong focus is placed on the origin of the wines and on sustainable work in both the vineyard and cellar. The result: wines that show great individuality from the first sip to the last. No vineyard is like another — just as every wine has its own unique character. Where else can you enjoy so many different authentic, handcrafted and culturally inspired wines as under the trademark and wings of the VDP.Eagle!
We have summarized our VDP.Maxims into concrete instructions for work in the vineyard and cellar. This ensures that the eagle on the bottleneck is a true guarantor of the highest wine quality.
We VDP winegrowers commit ourselves ...
... to environmentally friendly cultivation of the vineyards
... for the cultivation of 80 percent of typical local grape varieties as defined by the individual VDP.Regions. To reduce yields to 75 hectoliters per hectare* on average. At higher classification levels, yields per hectare are reduced even more significantly to further improve quality
… to a hand harvest for VDP.Wines of the quality levels VDP.ERSTE LAGE® and VDP.GROSSE LAGE® and for wines of the Prädikat classifications Auslese to Eiswein.
... for our VDP.Wines to dispense with the often misleading vineyard block designations.
Of course, we want to ensure that the VDP lives up to its outstanding reputation at all times. Potential new members must thus satisfy a strict set of requirements.
The first hurdle is simply to earn the attention and admiration of existing VDP.Member estates. After all, only a small circle of candidates is ever deemed worthy of an invitation. An estate can demonstrate its suitability by drawing national and international attention to itself through many years of outstanding quality. There’s no shortcut for this, as membership is not something that can be applied for, let alone purchased. Once invited, we put the winery through its paces to see whether it is a good fit culturally for our organization and whether its wines meet our high standards. It is only after this procedure that the coveted VDP.Eagle may put on the bottleneck as a guarantee for the highest wine quality – or not.
Membership can of course also be withdrawn. Because the conditions for a VDP.Membership are
... ownership of vineyard sites classified by us as exception or superlative
... full-time dedication to the winery – cultivation, vinification and marketing of the wines must be in the hands of the estate and supervised by qualified personnel
... an appropriate external image for the estate
... the use of the VDP.Eagle on the capsule as a guarantor for highest wine quality and recognizable symbol of membership in the VDP
... and the regular – at minimum every five years – audit of operations for compliance with the strict VDP rules
We demand a lot from our winegrowers. But you benefit from these high standards with every sip of their wines: The effort is worth it!
photos: Peter Bender