The future for Riesling in North America?

Terry, where do you see appreciation for Riesling (from anywhere) going over the next 5 to 10 years in the US, and why?

Have you had much Riesling made in the US and Canada recently ? What wines and what regions have caught your attention?

I get this question a lot. And I also see lots of marketing predictions of Riesling’s revival. A small measure of this has come to pass. Would it was more than small, though.

My own gut-sense explanation is that Riesling is simply too GOOD, too subtle and too refined to appeal to drinkers of more…let’s say plebian taste. After all, what proportion of wine drinkers approach the beverage craving experiences of beauty and meaning and cerebral fascination?

So I think the market can grow, to the extent it locates each drinker who prizes those attributes, or even persuades people that those attributes are worth cherishing. But that’s slow work, and as the saying goes; slow work takes time.

The future of native grown Riesling will certainly be liveliest in the snow-zones; upstate NY and places like it. Good to very good wines are already appearing, and the indicators point up.

And Michigan! I love me some Old Mission or Leelanau Peninsula Riesling.

Since you mention it Scott, the '08 Wyncroft “VT” Riesling (Lake Michigan Shore) is among the very best I’ve encountered from a US Riesling producer.

Michigan, Michigan, Michigan. Peninsula, Grand Travers, Left-foot Charlie, Black Star, others. Very good Rieslings at $10-17+, and some other interesting varietal wines. Well worth checking out for any U.S. Riesling aficionado. Unfortunately, Michigan has stupid shipping laws.

I’ve only had Wynncroft’s b’x-style red and could not love it, though I’ve read many laudatory notes about their wines for others.

Ian, let me know the next time you are in-town. I have a variety of Wyncroft that I can bring.

PS - Do you recall the name of the Michigan producer for the Blaufrankisch that we drank?

Shady Lane?



Just typed “Michigan” into CT and scrolled the list.

I almost typed ‘or Circa?’ Am bringing that to a Blaufrankisch/Lemberger round-up in a few weeks.

The Shady Lane is really nice. David Schildknecht buzzed about it to me when I was gathering up Ohio and Michigan wines for an annual taste-off.

Back to Riesling - Ferrante’s Golden Bunches from Ohio has topped the Michigan ones in our annual tastings.


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Are you in Touch with Putnam and Steve? How are the mean streets?

I believe that Ohio wines always win your tastings, no matter what the variety. Is Jim Tressel the winemaker? neener


Michigan has killed it across the board. This year, I did just 5 pairs and MI took 3/5. Last year, 4 of the top 5 were MI and in '08 3 of the top 5 (tho an OH would have been #1 had it done it that way.) Two Lads Reserve 07 is the only wine from either state I would give over 90pts, if I gave points.

I think those two peninsulas are some of the most fascinating terroirs in the US and, if climate/technology permits the vines to get the age they need, we will see some of the best wines in the US from there.

Left Foot Charley’s Riesling has been spot on across several vintages.


It was tongue-in-cheek. I guess I didn’t do a very good job. :slight_smile:

Fwiw, the Wyncroft VT is really special, and I’m not even a particular fan of dry Riesling.