German wine creates ‘uncrackable’ new classification system

code machine
Pic: mattk1979, Wikimedia Commons

Germany has introduced a new way of classifying its wines which it says will make them ‘as easy to understand for the uninitiated as German itself’.

German administrators have rushed to praise the new system as ‘a triumph for bureaucracy over common sense’, ‘superb work by us’ and ‘an exciting opportunity to put even more long words on a label.’

Consumer groups said the new legislation could have a ‘massive impact on sales.

‘Specifically by stopping them.’


Germany’s old system for classifying its wines was based on grape ripeness at the time of harvest – the so-called ‘Wassafuckissdassen’ scale.

But Helmut Herr of the German Society for Producing Oenological Tosh (GSPOT) told Fake Booze that this system was no longer fit for purpose.

‘It was verging on being comprehensible,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘At least, to anyone with a winemaking degree. And you know when things start to make sense in wine it’s time to change!’


GSPOT says that the new ‘place-based’ system – or ‘Wehrderfuckisdassen’ is based on the French ‘cru’ model but ‘with a German twist’.

‘This means that it is not just arcane, soil-based and infinitely divisible, but also painfully pedantic,’ he told Fake Booze.

The opportunity for words of 20 letters or more on the label was, he said, ‘unrivalled’.

Uniquely impenetrable

According to GSPOT, the ‘real genius’ of the new system lies in the decision to introduce it while still retaining the old one.

‘Both systems worked on a kind of pyramid structure,’ said Herr. ‘So by adding them together we have created a kind of ‘classification rhombus’ that we believe is uniquely impenetrable, even in the wine world.

‘Even the team at Bletchley Park would not have been able to crack this little beauty!’


The Deutsches Wein Polizei (DWP) admit that there may need to be changes to their country’s wine packaging to accommodate the new ‘dual classification system’.

‘Obviously, if you get a Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Qualitatswein mit Pradikat from the Grosses Gewachs Urziger Wurzgarten Doppelschittenkockenfloppen Einzellage then it won’t fit on conventional labels,’ said a spokesman. ‘So we’ll either have to sell the wines in magnums, lay the bottles on their sides or change the bottle shape to oblong or something.

‘But that’s all just a great way of helping us stand out on the shelves in a world of boring varietal wine!’

Massive downtick

As a result of these measures, the industry is confidently predicting ‘a huge increase in people taking German wine off the shelf, looking at the label and then putting it back again.’

‘We would expect a massive down-tick in sales, just on the back of this one change,’ said GSPOT’s Herr.

‘Sometimes the perfect solution doesn’t have to be staring you in the face. It can require years of work and be labyrinthine in its complexity.

‘I guess part of the beauty of wine is that there’s room for all kinds of stupidity.’

Overwhelmingly positive

Reaction to the moves from wine producers has thus far has been overwhelmingly positive – particularly those from New Zealand and Alsace.

Global consumer groups, however, have said that they ‘won’t be affected’ by the changes ‘because they didn’t buy German wine anyway’.

Reeze or Rize?

Fake Booze ran into John Public outside a branch of its local Pricefixer supermarket.

‘Frankly, I’d just like to learn how to pronounce Riesling,’ he said. ‘Is it Reezeling or Rizeling?

‘Sod it, I’ll just have a Pinot Grigio instead.’

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