It is a significant manifestation of the prevailing uneasiness in the Alsace vineyard: 500 winegrowers marched in Colmar (Haut-Rhin), last Thursday, to protest against the drop in their yields decided by the Alsace Winegrowers Association for deal with the economic crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic. "This is proof that we are in crisis," says Jean-Claude Rieflé, winemaker in Pfaffenheim, without detour. At the head of the Rieflé-Landmann estate, he recalls that "Alsace wines represent only 3% of French production".
A statement of failure behind the recent creation of the "Cercle Gustave Burger", a group of around twenty lovers of the Alsatian vineyard. A "think tank" wishing to "modernize Alsace wines and restore power to winegrowers", explains Jean-Claude Riefllé, its president. A man who carries the circle's flagship project: to give Alsace wines the names of the villages. “It was during the annexation of Alsace by the German Empire in 1871 that the concept of grape varieties was introduced into the vineyard. The appellations Sylvaner, Gewurztraminer or Riesling have enabled the Germans to erase the Alsatian identity of wines, ”says Jean-Claude Rieflé.
13 municipal appellations already exist
"The Gustave Burger circle" thus militates for a new hierarchy of Alsace wines. “There is no question of touching on the origins of controlled appellation. On the other hand, we wish that the vintages and the premier vintages take the names of the villages well known to the millions of tourists who take our Wine Route each year. "
While 13 municipal appellations already exist, Jean-Claude Rieflé hopes one day to see a “pfaffenheim premier cru” or a “wine of Ottrott” coming out of the Alsatian cellars. “To support our consumers, we propose to indicate the grape variety on a label placed on the back of the bottle. We are certain that the names of villages will help popularize the Alsace vineyard, as is the case in Burgundy, ”concludes the winemaker.