Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer of Riesling comes to Florida

You would think that Riesling (forgetting its complexity for the moment, and the fact that it is the Master Sommelier's drink of choice) would be perfect for Florida: light and refreshing (at the less-sweet end of the spectrum) and the ability to pair well with the diverse cuisines that are characteristic of the state.  But that is not the case.  Riesling does not do very well here.

The distributors in the state want to turn that around and have banded together (a feat in and of itself) to change the perception and acceptability of Riesling and are using the Summer of Riesling campaign as a vehicle for this awareness-raising effort.  The Summer of Riesling is the brainchild of New York Sommelier ( and self-proclaimed acid hound) Paul Grieco and is intended to "showcase the German grape in all its geographic and stylistic diversity."

The Summer of Riesling efforts in New York have both a retailer and a consumer component.  The Florida initial effort is aimed at retailers, hoping that by influencing their actions more Riesling will make its way into the hands of the consumer.  The Florida effort is being kicked off with a promotion titled Summer of Riesling Roadshow which has a number of distributors showing their Riesling wares to wine buyers/owners of restaurants, wine bars, and wine shops.  It is hoped that these establishments will commit to pouring three Rieslings by the glass for the entire 94 days of summer.  The incentive? T-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.

The Roadshow was kicked off with a tasting yesterday at Citrus Restaurant in Orlando.  Distributors at the event included Stacole Fine Wines, Selected Brands, Tout Petit Vin, Premier Beverage, VineCraft, Domaine Select, SWS, and Loosen Bros USA.  The event was well attended as a steady stream of visitors flowed through in the scheduled three-hour tasting.  In my conversations with them, the distributors seemed very earnest about the endeavor.  The individuals manning the tables were all enthusiastic boosters of Riesling and expressed the hope that this would be the launch of a resurgence of Riesling sales in the state.

The Roadshow will continue with tastings in Tampa today and then in West Palm Beach and Miami next week. Wishing them the best.

© Wine -- Mise en abyme

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