Americans flirt with Riesling

by Rich Cartiere

Over the past three years Riesling as a category has grown by nearly 75% on the American market and now accounts for almost 2% of total sales in the

United States, versus less than 1% in the United Kingdom. Although domestic Riesling still accounts for near 60% of the total market, the current growth has been fuelled principally by imported wine, in particular from Germany, where over 60% of the world s Riesling vineyards are planted. For that reason brands like Fetzer have recently released in selected markets a separate bottling of their Valley Oaks Riesling made from German fruit. Although most in the trade applaud this trend, many are worried that growth will be difficult to sustain. Like Pinot Noir, Riesling cannot be planted anywhere. Thus, sourcing grapes to maintain supply will be increasingly difficult.

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