US: Fetzer to source Riesling from Germany
The brand name might be the same, the company might be the same and the grape variety might be the same. But patriotic Americans had better read the labels on their bottles of wine carefully, because tens of thousands of bottles of their favourite Fetzer Riesling will shortly be coming from… Germany.
The Californian winery has seen demand for its $8.99 Valley Oaks Riesling grow to such an extent that it is not able to extend the product's distribution beyond the 13 US states in which it currently sells. And with the market thirsty for more of the grape, the producer has been forced to buy wine from Riesling's German homeland.
The German Rieslings will still be sold under the Valley Oaks name and in a similar off-dry style, but will be labelled 'product of Germany'. A blend of both Mosel and Rheinhessen grapes, they are without either regional classification or vintage designation, though the company does not feel that this lack of provenance is likely to be a problem.
"Fetzer consumers are decidedly loyal to the brand and are quite precise about their appreciation for certain varietals," said John Tichenor, group brand director at Brown-Forman. "Sourcing will be secondary to the welcome news that their favourite varietal is now more widely available."
Currently, Valley Oaks Riesling is available in Virginia, Minnesota, South and North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and North and South Dakota. The German wine will go to these established regions, with the Californian version aimed at securing distribution in new states.
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