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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Johannisberg Riesling used to be a prevalent wine. But I can never purchase Johannisberg Rieslings anymore, just “Rieslings.” Why?
—Jim C., Elmira, N.Y.
Good catch. The U.S. government’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which oversees wine labeling laws, has phased out the use of the term “Johannisberg Riesling” on U.S. wines, which now must be called either “Riesling” or “White Riesling” instead. The term was phased out as of Jan. 1, 2006, though there might still be a few bottlings around on wine lists or in wine shops.
Johannisberg is the name of a wine region in Germany, and Schloss Johannisberg is one of its most famous producers. So now when you see “Johannisberg” on a bottle, it must refer to the region in Germany, or the German producer, or both.
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