German Wine Awards
The German government takes an active interest in its wine. So in addition to private organizations, German governmental agencies closely survey and award medals to good wines. Three examples are the Chamber of Agriculture for German State Rheinland-Pfalz (Landwirtschaftskammer Rheinland-Pfalz), the Wine Evaluation Agency for the German State Hessen (Landesweinprämierung Hessen), and the Chamber of Agriculture for the Federal German Government (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft or “DLG”). The German State of Rheinland-Pfalz evaluates wine from the regions it governs, the Mosel, Pfalz, Ahr, Mittelrhein, Nahe, and Rheinhessen (totalling about 63% of all German vineyard area). Similarly, the German State of Hessen evaluates wine from the regions it governs, the Rheingau and Hessische Bergstrasse. The DLG is a federal agency and evaluates German wine from all thirteen officially recognized wine regions in Germany (“Anbaugebiete”/on-bou-gi-bēt-ǝ/). All agencies use expert panel “blind” testing to award bronze, silver, and gold medals based on a five point scoring system. Rheinland-Pfalz and the DLG both award gold medals only to wines that earn at least 4.5 points. Rheinland-Pfalz also awards top wines from all gold medal wines in various categories (“siegerweine”). Both the Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss-Altenahr (XII Trauben spätburgunder in 2013) and Weingut Matthias Müller have won that prestigious honor in recent years.
While a medal from any agency certainly creates a safe presumption that the wine is a high quality wine, the absence of an award does not mean the opposite. Wineries are not required to submit their wines for competition and many do not. That simple fact keeps alive the excitement and fun of striking out and discovering different German wines and wineries.