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Wines of Germany announces another five new "Riesling Fellows"


The Riesling Fellowship was proud to be joined last night by top German Riesling producers and members of the Asian trade for a gala dinner at Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong. The evening, organised on the occasion of the German pavilion at Vinexpo Asia Pacific 2016 saw the announcement of five new members to the Riesling Fellowship.

In 2016, Wines of Germany recognised for the first time trade and media representatives from Asian for their dedication and passion for German Riesling:

  • Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine – Hong Kong
  • Katsuyuki Tanaka, journalist – Japan
  • Ian Ford, Summergate - China
  • Hisashi and Takahiro Yamano - Herrenberger Hof A.G. - Japan

The dinner, hosted by The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture together with the German Wine Institute in the presence of the Acting Head of Economic Affairs from the German Consulate …, was preceded by a tasting showcasing a selection of top Riesling wines as well as other German grape varieties like Spätburgunder.

CEO of the German Wine Institute Monika Reule said, “Japan, China and Hong Kong belong to Germany’s key markets and it is amazing how many top brands from Germany are available in Asia. The new Riesling Fellows helped with their dedication, passion and love for German Riesling to establish a very positive image for German wines in their countries and across.

To date we have appointed eleven fellows and we are delighted to add a further five members to the fold this year, bringing our number to 16 - a huge congratulations to the new fellows.”

Notes to editors:

Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine
Writer, television host, wine critic, judge and educator Jeannie Cho Lee became the first Asian Master of Wine in 2008. Born in Korea and educated in America, she has lived in Hong Kong for more than 20 years. Lee has a master's degree from Harvard, a Certificat de Cuisine from Cordon Bleu and a Master Sake Sommelier qualification from the Japan Sake Service Institute. She is the author of two award-winning books, Asian Palate (2009) and Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate (2011).

Due to her deep love for German Riesling she wrote the book “Perfect Pairings – German Wines & Asian Flavours” and showed how good German Riesling as well as other German Grape varieties of different styles fit with various Asian dishes.

Additionally, she shared her expert knowledge with journalists, sommeliers and traders during her world-tour in 2012 and 2013. Events took place in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, Mainz, Oslo, Vancouver, New York and San Francisco.

Katsuyuki Tanaka, journalist
Born in Tokyo in 1962. After working as an assistant director of marketing

department of a major restaurant company based in Tokyo and a director of a restaurant & food service company based in New York, he joined Winart magazine when it was launched in 97 as a chief writer, and stayed there for 10 years. In 2007 he dedicated the first issue of the Wine-Not!? Magazine as a chief writer his favorite grape varieties Riesling and Spätburgunder. Additionally, he has been teaching Wine and Christian Culture at Bunkyo Gakuin University for 7 years and published two books on wine.

Today he is overheading the new web magazine Wine Communicate, writes for several publications, and gives seminars for both amateurs and professionals. He also shares his deep knowledge of wine with several companies as consultant.

He is one of the most important wine critics in Japan and knows German wine and specially Riesling in all its facets.

Ian Ford, Summergate
Ian was born and raised in New York City, one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic cities. He attended Duke University, graduating with a BA in History, focusing primarily on modern China and Mandarin Chinese. After an initial sojourn in China for one year in 1990, Ian moved permanently to China in 1995 to take up a career in the wine and spirits business with Seagram, based in Beijing. In 1999 Ian co-founded Summergate, an importer and distributor, focusing on wine, with the goal in mind of leading the Chinese market in imported wines and more in the future.

Now also the marketer and sole distributor of the leading imported sparkling mineral water in China, Summergate, for many in the industry, is the leading company by reputation, quality, knowledge, and professionalism. Ian has traveled to and studied wine in virtually every fine winemaking region worldwide, and for fifteen years has been working closely with leading winemakers, developing their brands in China. Ian has been proudly leading a Riesling Revolution in China in collaboration with the great Riesling producers in Summergate's portfolio.

Hisashi and Takahiro Yamano - Herrenberger Hof A.G.
“We work with top German wines which tell the story of the wine makers”

Japanese importer Herrenberger Hof was founded 1982 in Kobe. In 1995 the company had to move to Osaka after a powerful earthquake struck. Herrenberger Hof also opened a branch in Tokyo which now operates as a successful business.

In 1996, the company started to focus mainly on German brands.

Hisashi Yamano built up the company with a lot of dedication. In 2000 he spent a year at Weingut Huber in Baden, becoming an expert in winemaking and German wine in particular.

His son, Takahiro Yamano also spent three years as an apprentice in Germany with various producers including Bernhard Huber and Georg Breuer between 2001 and 2003. Today he leads Herrenberger Hof with more than 50 German wineries in its portfolio.

Takahiro’s dedication for Riesling saw him form the “Riesling Ring” with other wine experts in Japan in 2009. The “Riesling Ring” organises annual grand Riesling events as well as restaurant and retail promotion – the “Summer of Riesling” – in cooperation with Paul Grieco, Riesling Fellow from the United States.

The Riesling Fellows 2013-2015:

2013 Jancis Robinson OBE MW, David Motion, Iris Ellmann, Hugh Johnson OBE, Nigel Blundell and Freddy Price (all UK)

2014 Sebastian Thomas, Hew Blair and Stuart Pigott (all UK)

2015 Albert de Jong, NL and Paul Grieco, US

Five new Riesling Fellows were announced in Hong Kong. Photo, from left to right: Peter Winter (Honorary President of the VDW), Katsuyuki Tanaka, Hisashi Yamano, Jeannie Cho Lee, Takahiro Yamano, Ian Ford and Monika Reule, CEO of the German Wine Institute.

Takahiro and Hisashi Yamano with Monika Reule (middle).

Peter Winter, Katsuyuki Tanaka, Monika Reule

Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine and Monika Reule

Ian Ford, Monika Reule