“Riesling may be made in many styles from bone dry to sweet, and this versatility can be both a strength and a weakness,” says California wine journalist Dan Berger who spearheaded the IRF project in consultation with many Riesling wine makers. “Riesling’s many styles can fit almost any taste preference, but consumers may be put off if they are expecting one taste and get another. The taste profile will enhance Riesling’s strength by letting consumers know the basic taste before they open or even buy the bottle.”
The International Riesling Foundation (IRF) created the “Riesling Taste Profile” to make it easier for consumers to predict the taste they can expect from a particular bottle of Riesling.
The profile uses voluntary technical guidelines to help winemakers and winery owners describe their wines for consumers, plus four graphic options that may be used on a back bottle label, point-of-sale materials and elsewhere.
To help winemakers consider which terms to use for various wines, a technical chart of parameters involving the interplay of sugar, acid, and pH helps determine the probable taste profile of a particular wine. There also are four categories to choose from: Dry, Medium Dry, Medium Sweet, and Sweet.
These are simply recommended guidelines which we think may be helpful, but the program is entirely voluntary. We hope that over time many Riesling producers will use the system because it will help consumers, and therefore help the wineries as well.
The Riesling Taste Profile may be used on back labels, merchandising materials, web sites and elsewhere. The goal is to have a common, simple, consumer-friendly system for identifying Riesling tastes.
With substantial input from IRF Board members who are Riesling producers, New York-based artist Book Marshall developed four options depending on back label space and design. The preferred design is #1, which includes the words, “This Riesling is…” above the bar, and “International Riesling Foundation” with a logo below it.
NOTE: On behalf of IRF and its Friends of the Foundation, we are grateful to Dan Berger and others who have spent many hours developing the Riesling Taste Profile.