Swirls: the fastest-growing wine variety; California wine exports to China; wines by the glass

SWIRL: The fastest growing white wine variety in the United States in terms of sales is – drum roll, please -- riesling. Jim Trezise, president of the International Riesling Foundation, which promotes the grape, made the observation at this month’s Riesling Rendezvous in Bellevue, Washington.  However, he said, the “food friendliness” of riesling isn’t recognized by many wine drinkers, and riesling-taste-profile2consumers who don’t drink riesling aren’t particularly interested in trying it. At least at this point. One tool the riesling industry is promoting, with some success, is a very useful dry-to-sweet scale for the back labels on riesling bottles that tells consumers (and retailers) exactly where a bottle of riesling stands.

SWIRL: China’s growth as a wine-consuming country has been very good news for some wine regions. Bordeaux, for example, now counts China as a vital market for its wines. There’s evidence as well that American wineries are benefiting. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that  California exports to China grew a whopping 64 percent between 2008 and 2009.

SWIRL: Wine by the glass is still a very mixed bag in restaurants when it comes to depth and quality. In general, if you and a friend are each going to have a couple of glasses of wine, it pays to consider ordering a bottle, which will provide more choices and potential cost savings. That said, the AP reports that more restaurants are expanding wine-by-the-glass programs, including, yes, wines on tap.


  1. in a flavor component pairing with cab, merlot, pinot, and riesling, my clients are shocked at the versatility of riesling. their experience was limited to the colorful bottles of alcopop with pictures of cats and nuns on the label.

  2. The problem with Riesling becoming the fastest growing wine variety is that every large spirits company is trying to capitalize on its popularity. This will surely mean that the quality will start to spirial downward. The "big boys" are already starting to sell the lower quality sugar water products and calling them "super premium". They are all buying the wine from the same mass market bottlers. Constellation just launched a sugar water product and claimed it was "super premium" from a select group of growers from the Mosel River in Germany. The truth is they are getting their wine from the same mass market bottler that has fifty other labels in the same grocery stores...
    You would have thought they had learned their lesson from the last time they tried to sell "sugar water" with a nun or cat on the label and gave the grape such a bad name....
    If you are going to drink Riesling only buy Pradikatswein from Germany. That's the real Riesling. The Qualitatswein is sugar water, grape juice.

  3. Buy Fingerlakes Riesling !

  4. I agree.... If you are going to drink domestic Riesling the Finger Lakes Riesling is good.....
    If you want to drink the finest Riesling on the planet drink Mosel River Riesling from Germany.....

  5. Riesling, one of the noble grapes is neglected in this country.