December 14, 2014 3 Comments
This is a blog post borne of necessity…in teaching my online CSW Prep Classes, I always dread “Module 8.” Module 8, you see, covers the wines of Germany and Austria.
This does not in any way mean that I dread talking about – or partaking of – the wines of Germany and Austria. As a matter of fact, the Grosses Gewachs Mosel Riesling or Kremstal DAC Grüner Veltliner I am sipping alongside is most likely going to be the highlight of my day.
But it’s all about the words, the language, the umlauts and the eszetts. They are all a bit intimidating and confusing to me, being a native English speaker who never traveled to Europe until the 4th decade of her life.
So, in an attempt to dive straight to the heart (in das Herz) of the matter (von tge Sache) I set about to understand something that had always baffled me: Amtliche Prüfungsnummer. It turns out, the Amtliche Prüfungsnummer, while certainly appearing cryptic and complicated, contains a lot of useful information about a German wine, and absolutely reveals the seemingly complex tangle that is German wine to be a highly organized, useful system.
First of all, for the simple language (thank you, Google Translate).
Amtliche – “Official”
Prüfungsnummer – “Exam Number”
Thus, our Amtliche Prüfungsnummer, commonly referred to as the “A.P. Number,” translates as “official exam number,” although most wine references will refer to it as the “official approval number.” The A.P. Number identifies the wine as to producer, village of origin, and testing center where the wine was awarded its official approval. The process is required for all wines bottled under the classifications of QbA and Prädikatswein.
The actual number consists of several blocks of figures – surely you’ve seen one, looking quite complicated, such as this example:
Here is what those numbers mean:
2 606 319 011 07: 2 – The first number represents region where the wine was tested. The wine will be tested in the same general region where it was produced, however, there are only 9 testing centers as opposed to 13 quality wine regions (Anbaugebiete). This testing center – number 2 – handles wines from the Middle Mosel and Rheingau.
2 606 319 011 07: 606 – The second number, which may be two or three digits, represents the particular village within the larger testing region, where the wine was produced.
2 606 319 011 07: The third number represents the particular bottler (producer).
2 606 319 011 07: The fourth number represents the sequential order that the wine was submitted by that produce. In other words, this is the eleventh wine submitted for testing in this particular year by the producer.
2 606 319 011 07: The fifth number represents the last two digits of the year that the wine was submitted for testing, usually the year after the vintage.
Whew! Do you have information overload? It’s a lot of data, but remember, this is all to protect the quality and reputation of German wines, which is good for everyone – even us consumers. Producers are required to keep sample bottles of each wine for a certain number of years, and thus the system is such that, if a complaint were received or someone had reason to doubt a wine’s authenticity, a bottle of the specific wine could be located and tested.
I sleep better at night knowing my Pflaz Riesling (5 594 022 17 12) and my Rheingau Spätburgunder (4 383 675 01 11) is signed, sealed, and approved!
The Bubbly Professor is…”Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas – email@example.com