The VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter), which is Germany’s association of elite wine producers and a guarantee of quality, have create a new classification for Germany’s sparkling wines - the VDP.SEKT.STATUT. Ratified earlier in early 2021, it applies the association's high quality standards from the realm of still wines to the production of sparkling wines. It is a helpful visible marker for conveying the quality and prestige of VDP sekts to the broader public. Only sekts that pass the association's strict quality criteria and testing, akin to the tough regulations in Champagne, will be allowed to bear the VDP.Sektsiegel, the VDP’s seal of approval for sekt. During the introductory phase, parallel production of sekts with the VDP eagle symbol, i.e. without the new seal, will also be allowed.
There are two standards of sekt - VDP.SEKT and VDP.SEKT.PRESTIGE®. Traditional bottle fermentation is obligatory for both. Vintage sekts must be granted at least 24 months (VDP.SEKT) or 36 months (VDP.SEKT.PRESTIGE®) on the lees. Grand sekts may also mature well beyond those minimum guidelines. The VDP's strict production regulations will also apply for the production of sekt base wines. A dedicated VDP specification guide has also been developed to provide other mandatory sekt parameters. This includes, for example, stipulations that sekt produced in accordance with the VDP.SEKT.STATUT must originate from the estate’s own suitable vineyards. From pruning to harvest - which traditionally falls on the early side for sparkling wines - all vineyard work and harvesting is to be performed by hand. Beyond this, each region will define its own permissible varieties for VDP.SEKT and VDP.SEKT.PRESTIGE®, typically Riesling and the Pinot family, supplemented by regional classics. This flexibility at the regional level reflects the insight that a sekt classification focused tightly on origin overlooks some admirable parts of the spectrum of fine German sekts. As a result, varietal blends and cuvées from single sites will also be allowed.
The new VDP.Sektsiegel necessitated the training of a cadre of sekt auditors, schooled to identify and assess top quality in this distinctive type of winemaking. Each new auditor has spent recent months sampling sekts that will soon be approved to bear the new seal, and which represent the first exemplary bottles under the new statute. The VDP.Weinbörse 2021 in Mainz will provide the international wine world with a chance to join sparkling wine masterclasses dedicated to illuminating the intricacies of the new statute.