The Riesling Fellowship

The 25th January 2017 saw top German wine producers and members of the UK and international trade gather at Vintners’ Hall in London for the Riesling Fellowship – an annual gala dinner during which four new Riesling Fellows were honoured. This year’s event focused on Riesling Sekt, celebrating the quality renaissance that has been driven by German Sekt producers in recent years.

Our congratulations go to; food and restaurant consultant Martin Lam from the UK, importer François Langbeen from Belgium, merchant Peter Kuhn from Switzerland and wine importer Max Gerstl, also from Switzerland.

The Riesling Fellowship was first introduced by Wines of Germany in 2007 to celebrate producers and the trade who have played a key role in championing Riesling at an international level. Six years later, we decided it was time for the Riesling Fellowship to return, celebrating the hero of German grape varieties and the industry figures that have been instrumental to its success in the UK. Wines of Germany has officially recognised 15 Riesling fellows for their dedication, passion and love of German Riesling at events in the UK, and the Riesling Fellowship has now become an international event, with the first Asian Riesling Fellowship awarding five fellows in 2016. 2017 will also see a Riesling Fellowship taking place in the USA.

Martin Lam

Martin Lam grew up around great food and wine in Bristol and played a key role in the on trade, working his way up from kitchen porter and commis chef in his school years to running his own award-winning neighbourhood restaurant in southwest London for 22 years. In 2014, Imbibe magazine recognised his success in the industry, awarding him the title of ‘Industry Legend‘ in the Imbibe Personality of the Year Awards. With a passion for demonstrating the food-matching abilities of German wine, he has long been an ambassador for German Riesling in the UK and now acts as a food, wine and restaurant consultant using his 45 years of experience and expertise in the UK restaurant business.

Max Gerstl

Max Gerstl is very committed to the import and sale of German wines. One of the first people in Switzerland to import German wines, he is well known for his wide selection, especially from the Mosel region – his first love. Having started his career in the restaurant trade in the 70s, he went on to discover German wine over a decade later and has since visited Germany every year to meet with his producers and discover new gems for his company Gerstl Weinselektionen.

Peter Kuhn

Peter Kuhn is a lifelong fan of German Riesling and a long-standing expert in German wine for the Swiss market. For many years, he was managing director of Boucherville, where he worked with a portfolio of around 500 German wines, focusing on dry Riesling from the mid-1990s. More recently he has founded his own wine business, opening Peter Kuhn Wine in 2013 with a portfolio dominated by German wines.


François Langbeen

François Langbeen was awarded ProRiesling title in 2006 and is truly passionate about wine. In 1991 he started his own company, importing high quality German wines – one of the first companies to do so in Belgium. Now he represents wines from nine German wine producing regions. With a philosophy to introduce the people of Belgium to top German wines, his knowledge on German Riesling knows no limits.

Albert de Jong

Albert De Jong is a Dutch Wine writer and specialist who has worked in the food and wine industry for over three decades. His dedication and passion saw him win the Pro Riesling award for journalism in 2010, only the second Dutch person to receive this prestigious award since its inception in 1988. Albert’s tireless efforts have helped spread the message of German Riesling to consumers and trade alike.

Paul Grieco

A true character in the industry; Paul Grieco has lent his tireless energy and boundless enthusiasm to spreading the message of German Riesling in the USA. Winning the “Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional” award in 2012, Paul has also run many events promoting German Riesling to consumers; in particular his “Summer of Riesling” which was first introduced in 2008. His Passion and dedication has made him an industry leader.

Stuart Pigott

Stuart Pigott is a British wine critic and author who has lived in Berlin since 1993. Author of ‘Best White Wine on Earth – The Riesling Story’, Stuart was in his early twenties when he began writing about wine and published his first article in Decanter Magazine in 1984.

Sebastian Thomas

Sebastian Thomas brought a love of fine German wines to Howard Ripley when he joined in 2000. Now Director of the company, the supplier has one of the largest German lists of any UK agent and has won many merchant awards for its amazing German wine list.

Hew Blair

Hew Blair is Chairman and Buying Director of Justerini & Brooks. A lifelong fan of German Riesling, he has worked extensively in the wine business for many years and has been a member of the Buckingham Palace Wine Committee since 2008. Now President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, he really is wine trade royalty.

Nigel Blundell

In his capacity as chairman for Siegel Wine Agencies and latterly consultant for Awin Barratt Siegel, Nigel Blundell has been the UK agent for Dr Loosen wines for 30 years and has been importing other ‘Masters of Riesling’ – including Donnhoff, Gunderloch, Leitz and JL Wolf – for almost as long. His tireless work and commitment over the years has helped German wines reach new consumers and influencers within the trade.

Iris Ellmann

As the founder of The WineBarn,
Iris Ellmann has been an inspiration for the UK wine
trade for 13 years. Winning the IWC ‘UK Specialist Merchant of the Year – Germany 2012’ and a nomination for ‘Specialist Retailer of the Year 2012 – Germany’ in the Decanter World Wine Awards, demonstrates the quality and variety of the wines on her list. Iris’ hard
work has helped to change the face of the UK wine list
for the better.

Hugh Johnson

Hugh Johnson is one of
the world’s leading wine writers, and winner of this year’s
IWC Lifetime Achievement Award and his love of German
Riesling has lead him to become one of its greatest ambassadors
in the UK. Over the years he has been instrumental in
helping German Riesling reach the UK trade and consumer
both from a UK but also a global perspective.

David Motion

David Motion is famed for
the incredible range of German wines available through
his shop The Winery in Maida Vale. His support
for emerging wine producers is unparalleled and David
never misses an opportunity to get people tasting German
Rieslings through weekly wine tastings in store or sharing
his expertise in various formats across the UK media.

Freddy Price

Price has dedicated his life to wine through buying,
selling, marketing, lecturing and judging on tasting
panels and it is through his writing that he has really
voiced his passion for German wine. He was awarded Herkunft Deutschland from
the president of the VDP for his writing, and ‘A
Traveller’s Wine Guide to Germany’
widely believed to be a bible for visitors looking to
visit Germany’s vineyards. Riesling Renaissance written
by Freddy and his wife Janet won the Gourmand World cookbook
Award for “The Best Book on Wine, Europe”.

Jancis Robinson

As one of the world’s leading
wine writers, Jancis Robinson is one of the most influential
figures in the wine industry. Her commitment to spreading
the word about German Riesling has undoubtedly had a
profound effect in changing the views of opinion leaders.
Our industry is lucky to have such a strong force to
push the German Riesling message.