Whether deep, complex VDP.GROSSE LAGE® or fresh, stimulating VDP.GUTSWEIN wines — many wine lovers get that special gleam in their eye when they see the VDP.Eagle on the bottle. Keep reading to find out why.
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!
Checklist: Ten points to recognize a VDP winemaker.
First: Quality, quality and more quality
VDP winegrowers do not make compromises. Wines with the VDP.Eagle eagle are always top wines from their origins – whether VDP.GUTSWEIN or
VDP.GROSSE LAGE®. You can be sure that an exciting wine experience sits inside.
Second: Origin is everything
The quality and character of a wine are essentially linked to its origin – its soil, topography, climate and microclimate. We have clearly classified the vineyard sites of our members, applying ever stricter guidelines with each increasing quality level. And that's why VDP.Wines always taste individual, never uniform.
Third: Harmony with nature
The soils and their nutrient supply are the most important capital of our winegrowers. Meticulous care of the vineyards is of prime importance for VDP.Winegrowers. Because only a vine that grows in harmony with nature can produce a wine that reflects the singular tastes of its origin.
Fourthly: Traditional grape varieties
The grape serves as the voice for a vineyard. It is our connection to understanding the nature of each distinct terroir. To capture its messages as completely as possible, our winegrowers put a strong priority on grape varieties capable of expressing the terroir most clearly. In this country, these are Riesling, Silvaner and the Pinot family of grapes.
Fifthly: Renouncing mass production
If you want to be the best, you have to be ready to sacrifice. In viticulture, the size of the harvest can have an extraordinary impact. Our winegrowers reduce the yield of their vines in order to increase the concentration of fruit sweetness, aroma and minerals in the grapes – and enhance your taste experience.
Sixth: Rigorous testing
Our winegrowers submit to many different audits, e.g. farm audits, wine audits, GG audits. A voluntary promise of quality – and a clear commitment to make above-average wines – far beyond the legal norm.
Seventhly: Wines need peace and quiet
Patience and serenity are two elementary traits for a VDP.Winemaker. This means giving the wines the time they need to develop perfectly, both on the vine and in the cellar. By the way: You should also take this same time when you open a VDP.Wine – preferably with good friends.
Eighth: Cultivating tradition
Our VDP.Estates bring together over 20.000 years of wine-growing tradition! Nowhere else in the world can this degree of experience, expertise and conviction be found in one collective. We see it as our mission to jointly preserve and expand this trove of knowledge in order to pass it on to a new generation of quality-conscious winegrowers. As well as in the form of unique wines for your enjoyment, of course.
Ninth: Style and Personality
Great wines are not only an expression of the terroir. They are also the work of individual creation that can be felt in every wine. This is why our winegrowers see themselves equally as craftsmen and artists. Each wine is an expression of their very own, personal wine culture.
Tenth: Naturally the eagle
Whether on the bottleneck or on the nameplate in front of the estate - the VDP.Eagle is a sure sign that world-class, passionate winegrowers are at work here on wines worth discovering and tasting.
WHAT OUR WINEGROWERS ARE COMMITTED TO.
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.
HOW A VINEYARD EARNS THE VDP.ADLER EAGLE
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.
... AND WHAT IT HAS TO DO TO KEEP IT.
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!
Origin is everything – the VDP.Classification
photos: Peter Bender