Past Events

A Novel Trade Event in the Finger Lakes: FLXcursion 2019!

A “moveable feast” event organized by serious winegrowers in New York’s Finger Lakes made its debut 21-23 July 2019 in and around Geneva, NY. The theme for this first edition is Riesling, reflecting not only that Riesling is the most planted vinifera variety in this region, but that Riesling Rendezvous, which would normally have occurred in this same time window, had been cancelled.  The event’s full name was FLXcursion: An International Riesling ExpoJohn Haeger was the moderator for one of three opening seminars on 22 July, known in the program as Limestone Lane.  It was designed to explore if and how limestone terroirs affect Riesling. Fellow panelists were Morton Hallgren of Ravines; Thijs Verschuuren, vineyard manager at Hermann J. Wiemer; Thera Clark, wine director at NYC’s Beatrice Inn; and Mathias Mueller of Weingut Wittmann, domiciled at Westhofen, in Rheinhessen’s Wonnegau, where Riesling is produced from four almost adjacent sites with varying intensities of limestone in and under their topsoils.


The panelist list and the list of tasted wines is found at  flxcursion.limestone.2019.list.panel


FLXcursion was designed and produced for members of the wine trade, but the Grand Tasting on 21 July was also accessible to the public.


A second edition of FLXcursion is being contemplated for 2021.

Riesling and Pinot Noir Side-by-Side: A New Frontier at IPNC

Is there any difference between an “ideal” site for Pinot Noir and an “ideal” site for Riesling? In Burgundy, of course, Chardonnay is Pinot’s principal white bedfellow. But in many corners of the wine world, Riesling and Pinot are now grown side-by-side. A panel of vintners representing Alsace, Austria, California, Oregon and Baden (Germany) illustrated their experience with Pinots, Rieslings and vineyard togetherness at the 2019 edition of the International Pinot Noir Celebration,  held at Linfield College in McMinnille (OR) 26-28 July.   The panelists were John Haeger as moderator; Ross Cobb of Cobb Wines (Occidental, CA); Michael Malat of Weingut Malat (Kremstal Austria); Claire Jarreau of Brooks Winery (Amity, OR), Joachim Heger of Weingut Dr. Heger (Ihrigen, Baden, Germany) and Marie Zusslin of Domaine Valentin Zusslin (Orschwihr, Alsace, France).


If the discussion about “ideal” sites was inconclusive, the wines were all excellent!


The tech sheets for both wines from each estate are found here:

For Brooks  IPNC Tech Sheet-Brooks

For Cobb  IPNC Tech Sheet-Cobb

For Dr.Heger   IPNC Tech Sheet-Dr. Heger

For Malat  IPNC Tech Sheet-Malat

For Zusslin  IPNC Tech Sheet-Zusslin

John Haeger at Handford Wines (London, UK) — 19 March 2018

On Monday 19 March 2018, John Haeger and James Handford MW joined forces at Handford’s award-winning retail store in South Kensington for a tasting of dry Rieslings from around the world. The tasting list is reproduced below for the record.

Rieslings with John Haeger  —    Tasting Sheet


1 Reichsrat Von Buhl, Forst Pechstein GG 2012
2 Reichsrat von Buhl, Kirchenstück GG 2012
3 Louis Guntrum, Nierstein Pettenthal GG 2014
4 Clos Clare Watervale Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia 2016
5 Migliarina Wines Riesling Seitensprung 2016 Elgin, South Africa
6 Julien Schaal 2015 Rangen Volcanique Grand Cru Riesling
7 Red Newt Cellars, Tango Oak Vineyard 2013, Finger Lakes
8 Tatomer, Steinhugel 2016, California
9 Weingut Prager Klaus Riesling Smaragd 2012, Wachau, Austria
10 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling GG Reserve 2013
11 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten GG Reserve 2013
12 Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spätlese 2014


John Haeger at Brooks Winery (Amity, OR) 11-12 November 2017

From the outset in 1998, Jimi Brooks (1968-2004) focused his young namesake winery on Riesling and Pinot Noir, and the winery has remained true to his founding vision.  While Pinot has since become Oregon’s signature variety, covering more vineyard surface than any other, and anchoring the portfolios of most Willamette Valley producers, and Brooks does well with it, Brooks also stands out for its equally serious commitment to Riesling, the multitude of Riesling lots fermented here each year, the sheer number of its vineyard-designated Rieslings, and the brand’s full-spectrum coverage of Riesling’s panoply of styles.  On 12 and 13 November 2017, John Haeger joined the winery’s managing director (Jimi’s sister) Janie Brooks Heuck, winery chef Abby McManigle, assistant winemaker Claire Jarreau, and other members of the Brooks team, for a tasting-seminar built around four Brooks Rieslings and four Rieslings from (variously) Germany, Austria and Alsace.  The idea was to contrast the variety’s ability to create recognizable similarity across wines from many regions with the infinite differentiation that site-specificity and winemaking choices involve, making each of the eight wines unique.  The wines — all dry — were tasted in pairs of two, each European Riesling paired with a different Brooks Riesling, the experience further enhanced with tasty tidbits conceived and prepared by Chef McManigle.  The wine list for the tasting-seminar follows:


Riesling Tasting with John Haeger


[Germany] Nahe Riesling “Tonschiefer” 2015 (Helmut Dönnhoff)

Eola Hills Orchards Fold Riesling 2014 (Brooks)

[Austria] Kremstal Riesling “Dornleiten” 2015 (Martin Nigl)

Willamette Valley Riesling 2016 (Brooks)


[Austria] Wachau Liebenberg Riesling Smaragd 2015 (Leo Alzinger)

Eola-Amity Hills Riesling Brooks Estate Vineyard 2015 (Brooks)

[France] Alsace Riesling Grand Cru Muenchberg 2014 (André Ostertag)

Eola-Amity Hills Riesling Muska Vineyard 2014


The tasting-seminar was embedded in a bustling weekend of activitites in the winery’s large and scenic tasting room overlooking the Willamette River and west slope of the Cascades, enjoyed by members of Brooks wine clubs, and guests.  Brooks wines were featured throughout, but so were olive oils, vinegars, honey, charcuterie and chocolate from farm and artisan friends and neighbors.  For readers there was also Riesling Rediscovered, or course, but also Vintage, a “wine thriller”  by David Baker, the writer and director of American Wine Story, an acclaimed documentary film featuring — what else? — the Brooks story.   For more about Baker’s book, see

Readers interested in signed copies of Riesling Rediscovered should contact the tasting room at 503-435-1278; such copies may remain available into the December holidays.  Gift bags in which the book is offered with two bottles of Brooks Rieslings are also on offer while supplies last.


A Tasting of Dry Rieslings at Verve Wine (NYC) – 13 September 2017

John Haeger and Dustin Wilson MS orchestrated a tasting and discussion of dry Rieslings from recent vintages at Verve Wines in New York City on Wednesday 13 September 2017.  Wines tasted included the 2014 Bürgergarten Trocken from Müller-Catoir (Pfalz), the 2015 Hermannshölle “Magnus” Trocken from Jakob Schneider (Nahe), two dry 2015 single-vineyard Rieslings from Ravines in New York’s Finger Lakes, and Austrian Rieslings from Malat, Knoll and Prager.  Verve’s attractive premises in Tribeca should be a magnet for any curious consumer who has reason to be in this increasingly upscale neighborhood.  Tastings are now held late afternoon to early evening on most weekdays.  Wilson is expert in wines from many corners of the globe, and sometimes collaborates (as above) with visitors with special expertise.

Dry Riesling in Los Angeles – March 2017

The Wine Education Council presented Riesling Rediscovered: A Seminar and Tasting with John Winthrop Haeger, on Tuesday 21 March 2017, at Spago Restaurant in Beverly Hills. This event was part of WEC’s programs to support professionalism in wine service, and participants were largely working sommeliers from across Southern California.  Further information about WEC is found at  .

The tasting featured dry Rieslings from Germany, Alsace, Austria, Italy, Australia, Oregon and California, and a single beyond-dry wine from Domaine Marcel Deiss at Bergheim (Haut-Rhin).   The Tasting Book is found here –

Dry Riesling in Southern California – January 2017

Dry Riesling was the focus of attention at two of Southern California’s benchmark wine retailers on 25 and 26 January 2017.  On Wednesday 25 January the action was around the tasting bar at Woodland Hills Wine Company (22622 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, 800-678-9463).  On 26 January, the scene moved south to the tasting bar at Hi-Time Wine Cellars (250 Ogle Street, Costa Mesa, 800-331-3005).  At Woodland Hills Wine CompanyJohn Haeger made a brief presentation on the current state of dry Riesling and walked participants through eight wines, including wines from the Selenium Vineyard in Washington’s Yakima Valley, from Rudi Pichler and Schloss Gobelsburg in Austria, von Winning in the Pfalz, and Kuenhof in Italy’s Alto Adige.  Click scan0006 to see the tasting list.  At Hi-Time Wine Cellars ten wines were tasted, including a Sekt from Falkenstein in the Saar; again Kuenhof from the Alto Adige; Cuvée Frédéric Emile from Trimbach and an excellent Winzenberg Grand Cru made by Hubert Meyer; plus wines from Knoll (Wachau) and Schloss Gobelsburg (Kremstal).  One Australian bottling and one wine from New Zealand were also offered.  John Haeger worked the tasting bar here too, answering questions from guests. Click scan0005 to see the complete list for this tasting.

Riesling Fast or Slow – Chicago – 12 September

A seminar dedicated to the (real?) differences between vineyard sites that are said to give wines that are open, flavor-forward and expressive more or less from the time they are released, and sites whose wines are initially closed, tightly-wound and flavor- or aroma-challenged until several years later. Aka: “Precocious Sites vs. “Indrawn Sites.” The seminar was held  12 Sepember 2016 at Smyth + The Loyalist in Chicago, sponsored by Candid Wines and Vintage (a Winebow Company.)  Ten wines were tasted in five pairs of two, where one member of the pair hailed from a “precocious” site , while the other came from an “indrawn” site. Wines from the Kremstal, Kamptal, Wachau, Rheinhessen, and Finger Lakes. Panelists were Andrew Algren, wine director for Chicago’s Cherry Circle Room and Morten Hallgren, founder, principal and winemaker at Ravines Wine CellarsJohn Winthrop Haeger moderated.

Malat – Ravines Wine Dinner in Chicago — 12 September

Andrew Algren, Wine Director, organized an unusual wine dinner in the acclaimed Cherry Circle Room of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on 12 September 2016. A four course meal was composed to feature eight Rieslings spanning eight vintages, sourced from Ravines Wine Cellars at Geneva, in upstate New York, and Weingut Malat, a producer of award-winning wines at Palt, in Austria’s Kremstal. Algren’s guests were Morten Hallgren, founder, winemaker and principal at Ravines, and John Winthrop Haeger, whose new book (Riesling Rediscovered: Bold, Bright,
and Dry) profiles both Ravines and Malat interalia.  Although both wineries are famous for producing numerous varietals, both red and white, this dinner featured Riesling exclusively.  For the menu and wine list, click 9-12-16_reislingdinner.

“Riesling Myths and Mysteries” in Healdsburg (Wednesday 10 August)

Is Riesling really a German variety?  Or might it have been imported to the Rhine Valley from Austria?  Where and when did the the first Riesling vine grow?  Is it true that an entire vineyard was planted to Riesling at Johannisberg in 1721?  Where, when and why did the low-alcohol-but-substantially-sweet style widely associated with German Riesling originate?  Is it true that most German Riesling is now made in a dry style?  Are Alsatian Rieslings drier than German Rieslings?  John Haeger talked about these and other questions, addressed in his recent book Riesling Rediscovered on Wednesday 10 August at Cartograph Wines in Healdsburg, his talk sponsored by the Friends of the Sonoma Country Wine Library.  An informal tasting of dry Rieslings followed the talk.