German AP Numbers

I’ve spent far too long asking Google, so it’s time to ask people more knowledgeable :slight_smile:

I picked up a bottle of something labelled “Heiterkeit Trockenbeerenauslese”, and can’t find any information about the producer. So knowing how German wine labels work, I figured I’d look up the producer from the AP Number on the back. I can’t figure out how to do it, and my German isn’t good enough to try a German-language website.

Any thoughts?

The AP Number in question is: 2 576 280 0612 19

That’s not going to help. Can you take a photo of the label?

From Mosel Fine Wines website:

The AP number is the number given by public authorities to each wine submitted for commercialization. In the example here above, the numbers represent the following:

2 = code for the testing station (2 stands here for Wittlich).

596 = code for the village of the producer (596 stands for Piesport).

738 = unique code for each Estate.

008 = Lot number (a serial number, different for each bottling).

14 = year of the submission (as most wines are commercialized in the year after the vintage, this number is typically Vintage + 1).

For each Estate, the “2”, “596” and “738” part of the AP are fixed.

For most Estates, the year of submission is vintage + 1.

Therefore, out of simplicity, many wine lovers refer to the above AP simply as “AP 8.”

Looks like producer is 280 in your example. So you need to reverse engineer that …

I did some research and it appears this is some kind of generic bottling of Trockenbeerenauslese level grapes from the Pflaz.

Both Cellar Tracker and two state wholesale producer lists have this as just “2018 Heiterkeit Trockenbeerenauslese”.

I would imagine the label will have some kind of info on who bottled it, but this does not appear to be a typical case where you are going to find producer, vineyard etc. all listed.

I’m the one who created the producer in CT, so that’s no help. And yes, it’s a generic TBA bottling, of unknown grape varieties, even. But for $15 at Traer Joe’s it’s worth a taste.

I could add a photo of the label, but honestly, the only information about the producer is from the AP number. The importer is Schafer-Reichart Selections from South Pasadena, but there’s zero information on their webpage. TTB has nothing. (OMB No. 1513-0020)

So yeah, I’m hoping to be able to reverse engineer the second and third blocks of the AP number. I’d have figured the German authority would have a public database of all these approvals and the underlying information. Or at least a way to look up the producer given that segment of the AP number.

I’ve also tried to do this, on occasion, to try to sleuth out the producers for rebranded wines. Like the Garagiste Ca’Rozzeria wines from Italy. Couldn’t find a listing of how to turn the information on the DOP sticker into useful information.

Well, the wine does not seem to be estate bottled, Adam. 576 280 is the code for St. Michael Weinkellerei GmbH in Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel, which obviously is a sales company of the Moselland eG Winzergenossenschaft, a large cooperative.

I am with you on the German authority assumption. Actually the first thing I did was to go and see if there is some kind of listing of producers along with their assigned code. No luck. Like you, I would have thought such information would be public- but FWIW Germany has some of the toughest internet privacy laws out there, and this is not the first time I have had trouble finding out basic company information that one would think is readily available.

I’m admittedly suspicious of a $15 TBA and I’m dying for note. Please let us know how it is.

Thanks Rudi! That’s what I expected - a collective or possibly a declassified wine run through a bottler to obscure its origin. This import company seems to do well with that program. They also bring in some late harvest and icewine from Niagara that is labeled under “Levesque Estate”, but I was able to track it down to Pillitteri, which happens to be one of my favourite Niagara wineries.

We tasted this the other night. As expected, it’s not going to wow any experienced palates, but it embodies the essential qualities of a TBA for a pittance.
The nose and palate are full of honey as the primary note. Some tropical fruit, and oddly enough, some jalapeno pepper notes came and went. I don’t think this blend contains much, if any, Riesling. Finish had some straw. Citrus made an appearance here and there. For me, most importantly, the wine had good acidity and balance. It’d go well with fruit or cheese for sure.
We might pick up a few bottles to have on hand for bringing out dessert wines for those who won’t appreciate, say, a JJ Prum Auslese Gold Kap but will enjoy a nice and simple sticky. For $15, why not?

EU law mandates the the bottling company is identified on the label for traceability. Somewhere on the label it should say “bottled by…” in some language. Sometimes the bottler is identified by a number.

I suppose in Germany this requirement might be met by the AP number, or the bottler might appear separately, as in other countries. I don’t have a German bottle to hand to check.

Yes, it’s only identified by a number on this particular label, which is the same number as the second and third sections of the AP number.

well, have watched this one from the cheap seats,
but at this late date feel compelled to point out that »Heiterkeit« is a German noun
which connotes merriment or good cheer – so in this case ‘marketing über alles’…

and that any TBA worth its syllables will have a vineyard name on the label,
along with the name of the estate

Yup, I never thought otherwise. This could be bulk wine from several producers or just some surplus bulked out to the bottler. [dontknow.gif]
Just like in CA, France, and elsewhere, this would seem to provide a useful service. And if it’s palatable then consumers also win. This is a hell of a lot better than most bulk wine you’d get from California.

Yes, lousy marketing. rolleyes
Wine can indeed cause merriment/Heiterkeit for some, but no native German speaker would ever use the term “Heiterkeit” to label a German wine. With other words, it sounds ridiculous to my ears. As for the quality, no question, taste is a very personal thing, but I would never buy a wine, one can only speculate about its origin.