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American Rieslings from New York State, Zoom and Tasting Event – May 22, 2021

May 22 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

For our next event, we are tasting American Rieslings from the State of New York, visiting with Meaghan Frank of the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in the Finger Lakes.  As you may know, a number of wineries and winemakers in the Finger Lakes are known for producing a wide range of high-quality wines including sparkling wines and cool-climate Rieslings in all styles.  The Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery is among the most prominent of these producers and was a pioneer in establishing this region.  Our Vice President Christian Schiller has written about this winery in his wine blog, and we have occasionally enjoyed its wines in our events, but the GWS has never before focused on a specific Finger Lakes winery for a tasting.

We will meet for our tasting via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 4 pm – 6 pm EST.   The deadline to register for this event is Monday, May 10, 2021.  Above all, please plan ahead to purchase your wines directly from the winery.  You may choose one of three packages, as detailed below.  These are offered at all-in prices including shipping charges and a generous 20% discount on the wines.

Meaghan Frank, Vice President and our presenter for this event, is the fourth generation to run the winery.   She is the great granddaughter of the winery’s founder, Dr. Konstantin Frank.  Meaghan is in charge of operations including winemaking, staffing and export markets.  Meaghan earned an MBA in wine business from the University of Adelaide, Australia, a Masters in enology from Cornell University in New York, and the WSET Diploma.   The third generation of the winery’s management also remains involved, with significant ties to Germany.  Frederick Frank, President of the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, took over from his father, Willy Frank.  Fred is a graduate of Cornell, and attended the Geisenheim Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology in Germany.  He oversees operations focused on production, vineyards and national wholesale.

Founder Dr. Konstantin Frank, of German ancestry, was born in Odessa in 1899, then part of the Tsarist Russian Empire.  He earned his Ph.D. in Viticulture in the Ukraine.  Surviving the Russian Revolution and two World Wars, Dr. Frank arrived in New York with his family in 1951.  After some years, he purchased land in the Finger Lakes.  As the winery states, “With decades of knowledge and experience, Dr. Frank successfully planted the first European grape varieties in the Eastern United States in 1958.”  Others thought the region was too cold for European varietals, but he proved otherwise.  The first vintage was released in 1962.  Dr. Frank was then 63 years old.  He went on to found the American Wine Society in 1967.

In the book, “Finger Lakes Wine and the Legacy of Dr. Konstantin Frank,” published in 2015, author Tom Russ refers to Dr. Frank as the “Father of Vinifera in the East” and writes that he “is remembered throughout the United States as a pioneer and advocate for vinifera grapes and quality wine.”  This book may be purchased at www.Amazon.com.

For more information on the winery, including videos, you may wish to visit the winery’s website at www.drfrankwines.com.  

Because we continue to operate in a virtual environment, we have a different type of process to sign up for and participate in this tasting.   The first step, as usual, is to register for the event, either using our chapter website (https://germanwinesocietydc.org) and PayPal for payment, or by completing and submitting the attached registration form and including a check made out to the German Wine Society.  The price to participate in this event is modest, just $10 per membership account (individual or couple) for members, or $20 for non-members, to contribute to our Zoom and other D.C. chapter expenses.  You will need to have internet access to Zoom to participate in our tasting, either downloaded on your computer or otherwise available through your browser.  Everyone who registers by the deadline will receive a Zoom link on the day of the event from board member Karen Stokes.

The next step is to choose your wines for the tasting.  Meaghan Frank will present five (5) wines in three (3) rounds:  two sparkling wines, two still wines and one late-harvest wine, all of which are Rieslings.  You do not have to order all of the wines.  Two of the packages contain three (3) bottles each, one for each round, whereas the last option is to order all five (5) of the wines:

Package 1 (3 Bottle Pack – Dry and Dessert):

  • Riesling Nature (2018), a dry sparkling vintage wine (zero g/L of residual sugar, no dosage, 11.7% abv) made in the traditional method;
  • Dry Riesling (2019), classic style unoaked wine (8.5 g/L residual sugar, 11.5% abv) (90 points Wine Advocate); and
  • Reserve Riesling (2020), a medium-sweet to sweet late-harvest, Auslese-style wine, unoaked (43 g/L residual sugar, 11.3% abv).

Package 2 (3 Bottle Pack – Sweet)

  • Célèbre NV, a medium-sweet non-vintage sparkling wine (30 g/L residual sugar, 11.9% abv) made in the traditional method;
  • Semi-Dry Riesling (2019), classic style unoaked wine (22 g/L residual sugar, 11.5% abv) (90 points Wine Advocate); and
  • Reserve Riesling, the same late-harvest wine as above.

Package 3 (5 Bottle Pack):  The two sparkling wines, the two still Rieslings and the late-harvest wine.

Link to packages for ordering:  https://www.drfrankwines.com/germany-wine-society/

Please note that vintages could vary, new vintages are not rated, and while descriptions are believed accurate they are not guaranteed.  Should you have any questions for the winery about your purchases or shipping, please contact them directly.  We have included the above link for ordering the wine packages for you to have these wines for the tasting and for your inventory.   Those ordering for this GWS event will be entitled to the 20% discount we have arranged plus flat-rate shipping included.  The winery will ship to Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and will also ship to other continental States at their discretion and subject to State regulations.  

Arrange your favorite appetizers, including cheese and bread/crackers plus fruit such as apples, and other dishes, to accompany your wines, and be ready to enjoy the tasting.  Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Riesling wines range from dry to sweet, or semi-sweet, as indicated above, and because of the choice of packages, you have the opportunity to decide how dry or sweet you want your tasting to be.  The winery suggests pairing the late-harvest wine with rich cheeses (e.g., Camembert or Stilton), spicy foods (e.g., Thai or Indian) and semi-sweet desserts.

All correspondence in response to this email should be directed to our President and acting Secretary, Carl Willner, by email to carl.willner1@verizon.net, or by mail at:

Carl Willner

1014 Reserve Champion Drive

Rockville, MD 20850

If you will be making a payment online to register for the event, or to pay membership dues ($35 per person or couple annually), please be sure to use PayPal, as we cannot accept payment by other forms of credit.  If you decide to register by mail, please mail your registration to the Chapter Secretary at the above address, with your check made out to the German Wine Society.

All GWS members are reminded that alcohol consumption can lead to intoxication.  Therefore, Society members and their guests are expected to drink in moderation at Society events.   Fortunately, one of the benefits of holding an online event is that most of you will be safely at home and not driving to the event, but should you decide to visit a friend in order to participate from there, please bear in mind the usual cautions about having a designated driver where available, or mostly tasting rather than consuming alcohol where such drivers are not available.   All participants must be of legal age (21 years of age or older) to consume alcoholic beverages.

Carl Willner

President and Secretary, German Wine Society Capital Chapter

Please clip and return this registration form if registering by mail, to the Secretary at the address listed above.  Do not return the entire event notice. 


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May 22
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm