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Published:  23 July, 2008

Classification criteria for Great Growths were agreed by the VDP (Verband Deutcher Prdikatsweingter, the Association of German Prdikat Wine Estates) at its annual meeting on 19 June. The VDP adopted a three-tier model last year (see Harpers' Germany Supplement, April 2002), and the latest measures prescribe in greater detail the production standards that will be applicable nationwide. Greatest attention has been given to the top category of Great Growths (Grosse Gewchse or, in the Rheingau, Erste Gewchse). Among the most important regulations is the stipulation that these wines must be dry in style': Lusciously sweet wines of the Prdikats Auslese and above that are produced according to the same criteria are on a par with great growths but are neither designated nor packaged as such.' Although most Great Growths have been dry, there has not until now been any formal requirement that they be so. The new restriction brings the category more in line with Selection, one of two new terms introduced for dry white wines by the Deutsches Weininstitut (DWI) in 2000. It will be welcomed by those who have been calling for greater harmonisation between DWI and VDP classifications. As another attempt to clarify the message for consumers, all Great Growths must be in specially designed bottles embossed with the Great Growth logo. For 75 cl bottles there will be four options: the traditional swan-necked bottle in green or brown glass; the flagon-shaped Bocksbeutel; and the Burgundy bottle. All Great Growth bottlings will bear a similar front label and a capsule depicting the VP logo (a stylised eagle with a cluster of grapes).