Dear friends of good wine,
actually, one would think that bureaucracy and wine cover two opposite ends of the spectrum. Unfortunately, however, they are closely intertwined.
These days the first wines of the 2022 harvest arrive at the end of their fermentation process and are ready to be bottled! (Hooray!) What a lot of people don't know: In Germany, strict food laws ensure that every filled batch is checked individually . A state test center takes over the strictly regulated analysis and quality control and releases the respective batches. Only then can we put them on sale.
The office responsible for us is in Neustadt, about 10 minutes away by car. That's why our "quality shuttle" drives exactly three bottles of each filling to the state testing center in the spring (if possible, of course, we combine several fillings). Here we submit the approval applications and at the same time hand over the bottles. A bottle is placed in the archive as a reserve sample in case there are questions later
one bottle is sealed and returned to our winery archives, the other bottle is inspected. And of course we don't know in advance which of the bottles will go under the mic! :-)
In the laboratory, the wine is tested for sensory characteristics (taste) and various parameters to ensure that all legal requirements are met. For example, it must not contain too much sulphur. The label is also carefully examined. A Spätlese, for example, may only be described as such if the Oechsle value (= the sugar content) was not too low and was at least 85° at the time of the grape harvest.
If everything meets the specifications perfectly, the wine is given the so-called AP number (= official test number). You will find this later on every bottle. It is also given in the details of every product description in the online shop. So everyone can understand exactly which batch is running through their own throat with relish. And that's why a single wine can have two or more AP numbers - if it was drawn from the cask at two (or more) different times and was therefore divided into several batches.
So far so good. But one question has been bothering us for years: Through our winery alone, around 110 bottles come to the authorities every year. What actually happens to the leftovers in the opened wine bottles? Only a fraction of the filling is required for the quality check. Do the authorities hold big wine festivals every night? Is there wine foam cream every day in the official canteen? Are 17 opened bottles of wine (or so) per week part of the official benefits for all employees? Or (oh horror) do they heartlessly throw away the leftovers??
And while we're pondering: how big is the store of retained samples actually... and how long are the retained samples kept there? Is there perhaps a giant reserve wine warehouse somewhere that stretches for miles à la Amazon warehouse, of course totally secret and unknown? Questions upon questions... we'll probably have to grab someone and ask questions the next time we visit the Quality Shuttle in Neustadt. :-)
Incidentally, we also have to disclose to the office every year which pesticides are used and in what quantities. Incorrect information is not a trivial offense, so we have to work with extreme care here!
So much theory makes you thirsty. Treat yourself to a good (officially tested) sip and enjoy the moment without any bureaucracy.
Your officially examined
Counts of Weyher