The Vignerons of Alsace Have Two Objections

An objection to the mandatory dry requirement for Alsace Riesling has now been formally submitted within the prescribed timeframe.

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Logo of the independent winemakers (Credit: Le Syndicat des Vignerons indépendants d'Alsace)
Logo of the independent winemakers (Credit: Le Syndicat des Vignerons indépendants d'Alsace)

The organization "Le Syndicat des Vignerons indépendants d'Alsace" (Synvira) has sent an official letter of protest to the French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO). The reason behind this move is the decision to restrict the use of the Riesling grape variety in Alsace exclusively to dry wines. With this decision, the organization, comprising nearly 450 members, joins the growing opposition against this ruling. The official press release regarding this matter was published on September 25, still within the two-month objection period.

Synvira aims to continue the production of semi-dry, sweet, or dessert-style Riesling wines under the Riesling grape variety designation and the Alsace and Alsace Grand Cru appellations. They argue that the proposed ban would make the appellation "less comprehensible" to consumers, as stated in the press release. They call upon INAO to promote the production of high-value wines that express the richness of their terroirs and honour the legacy of Alsatian wines, which traditionally encompass semi-dry, sweet, or dessert-style Rieslings.

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In the new specifications of the AOC Alsace, it shall be stated that Riesling may only be vinified dry - below 4 grams of residual sugar/liter. At least, if the grape variety is to be mentioned on the label.

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Saving its identity

Furthermore, Synvira has also raised objections to another proposed change in the specifications of the Alsace and Crémant de Alsace appellations, which suggests lifting the ban on irrigation in vineyards. This is justified by the potential damage to the image and quality of the wines if irrigation is permitted without restraint. Additionally, it would create production inequality within the appellations. Instead, they propose developing alternative changes in the specifications that should protect the terroir's identity, product quality, and the integrity of the heritage, all while remaining clear and understandable to consumers.

Founded in 1971, Synvira serves as a professional organization for independent winemakers, offering its members support through consultation, education, legal assistance, information, and marketing support.



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