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22 April 2006

Bordeaux École du Vin new programme

The Bordeaux Wine School, whose office and tasting rooms are based in the city centre, now offers three levels of intensive courses in English:
Level 1: Learning how to taste and discover Bordeaux wine.
Level 2: The Essence of Bordeaux – Proficiency Course.
Level 3: Legendary Châteaux of Bordeaux: classifications and wines.
Shorter courses have also been added including a two-hour “Introduction to Bordeaux wines” and one-day “Saturday at school” (sounds fun). Between May and October, they're holding wine weekends such as ‘Bordeaux Classics’ and ‘Bordeaux off the Beaten Track.’ Classes are tutored by local wine makers and are supplemented by field visits and tastings at local estates. More info at:

04 April 2006

German wines on the up

Wine exports from Germany increased by 10% in 2005 to a value of €475 million, according to the DWI (German Wine Institute), the highest for 20 years. This figure also includes some wines from other countries re-exported by German shippers. The UK remains their largest market with a 27% share, although down nearly 8% in volume yet slightly up in money terms (meaning less cheap crap sold and at last the Brits are buying better quality German wines), with the USA accounting for 16% and Netherlands 12%. Americans obviously can't get enough Riesling, as sales were up an impressive 20% on 2004 of wines almost double the price of the world export average. The Dutch market is also advancing positively, and on a smaller scale Japan and Norway.
In Germany itself, wine consumption totalled 16.5 million hectolitres (about 184 million cases) in 2005 plus 2.9 m hl (32 m cases) of sparkling wines (the Germans have long had a soft spot for fizz, such as Asti, Cava, Champagne and their own Sekt of course). 82% of this is bought directly from producers or in supermarkets and wine shops, nearly half of which comes from the big discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. German wines have a 38% share of take home purchases (excluding direct sales) followed by France with 17%, Italy 16% (I suspect they'd be ahead of France if you included restaurants) and Spain 7%, meaning the New World is making slower progress here. More than half of the wines Germans are now drinking are red, surprisingly 25% of which are German red wines such as the Dornfelder variety. Production of German wine is also increasingly dominated by young growers and winemakers, who are often grouping together to promote themselves better and make special cuvées for the home market and export.
Taken from recent e-letters from the German Wine Institute.