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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Neil Beckett

Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm, President of the VDP, which includes 200 of Germany's greatest estates, has attempted to clarify what he described as misunderstanding' of the organisation's new classification system. Speaking before a VDP tasting in Berlin on Sunday 8 September, Prince Michael said that a previous press release had been responsible for the view that only dry style' wines would qualify as Grosses Gewchs (Great Growth') or (the equivalent in the Reingau) Erstes Gewchs (First Growth'). An amended diagramatic pyramid representation of the new three-tier system, issued on the day, has both great/first growth, dry in style' and great growth, lusciously sweet in style' at its peak. Prince Michael said that unless a Grosses Gewchs was specified as having a higher prdikat (Auslese or above) it could be assumed to be dry. Another new announcement was that the classification could be extended to estates which do not belong to the VDP but which meet its stringent requirements (one estate in the Rheingau already having been granted such guest status'). Such an expansion of the system would take several years, but might eventually facilitate the harmonisation of the VDP classification system and the Classic' and Selection' categories for dry wines introduced by the Deutsches Weininstitut and recognised by German Wine Law in 2000.