International Riesling Foundation taking hold

June 15, 2012 

The International Riesling Foundation was formed in 2007 to help promote Riesling and educate wine lovers.

Dan Berger, a wine writer based in Santa Rosa, Calif., was one of the founders and said the organization was created to help reduce confusion about Riesling.

"It's meant to inform the consumer," he said. "They go into a store, pick up a bottle of Riesling and wonder if it's sweet or dry. They can't tell from the label, so they put it back on the shelf. Wineries are aware of this dilemma."

To help solve the problem, the IRF came up with the Riesling Taste Profile, a scale that can be printed on the back label of a wine that shows whether a wine is dry, sweet or somewhere in between.

In our judging, 25 out of 130 wines carried the IRF scale. While that represents less than 20 percent of the wines, the total case production of those wines was 1,456,285, or 83 percent. This is because producers as such as Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pacific Rim and Hogue Cellars have chosen to use the IRF scale.

The effort is paying off, Berger said.

"There is no question that for the wineries that have gone to the trouble of redesigning their back labels have seen sales that are far more consistent than without the scale," he said.

Jim Trezise, president of the IRF and based in New York, said wineries in the Northwest, Germany, Alsace, New York, Australia and New Zealand are using the the IRF scale on their labels. He estimates more than 2.5 million cases of Riesling per year now carry the IRF scale, with the majority in the Pacific Northwest.

"We're getting there," he said. "The trade and consumers are extremely high on this."

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