Alsace’s white wines offer incredible diversity—from fresh, vibrant wines that sing across the palate to sweet, floral off-dry whites that make for exquisite food pairings. The problem is that consumers cannot always tell which style is in the bottle they’re looking at in the store. Now a group of local winegrowers is working to clear up the confusion by requiring dry wines to be labeled as such.
Under current regulations, the European Union defines four tiers of sweetness for wine producers: sec, demi-sec, moelleux and doux. Wines can be called sec, or dry, if they have no more than 4 grams of residual sugar per liter, or up to 9 grams per liter if acidity levels meet a minimum standard.
On March 25, the Association des Viticulteurs d’Alsace (AVA) voted almost unanimously to require the word “sec” or “dry” on a wine label if it meets those standards. The proposition will now be taken to the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO), which oversees all French appellations. Proponents hope to see the change on labels for the 2016 vintage.
“[The proposition] came from a common conclusion that not knowing the style of a wine probably stops sales,” said Olivier Humbrecht of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.
by Emma Balter