New Riesling Fellows from Canada


On September 10, two new Riesling Fellows were honored in Toronto for their outstanding commitment and passion for German Riesling. Two Canadians received the award for the first time this year:

Al Drinkle, partner and general manager of Metrovino in Calgary, Alberta, and Harry Drung, president of HHD Imports in Waterloo, Ontario. The awards ceremony was held at the residence of the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Toronto, Mr. Thomas Schultze. Him and his wife Mrs. Katja Heusel have been very cooperative in preparing this transcontinental Riesling fellow program.

Ted Kalaboukis, Director of Wines of Germany Canada announced: "The Riesling Fellowship was created by the German Wine Institute in 2013 to honor and thank those professionals from around the world who have devoted so much energy and passion over the years to inspiring their home countries about German Riesling. After the delay caused by the pandemic, we are pleased to welcome two more members this year, the first from Canada. We warmly congratulate the Fellows of 2021."

The new Rielsing Fellows:

Al Drinkle

Al Drinkle worked for a wine agency for a number of years, but always felt something was missing until he met Richard Harvey, owner of Calgary retailer Metrovino. Drinkle was inspired by Harvey and his conviction to only sell and promote wines he truly believed in. After having the opportunity to taste many top German wines with Kirk Wille of Dr. Loosen, the Canadian fell in love with German Riesling and began working at Metrovino in 2008, where he is now a business partner. As the largest buyer of quality German wine in the province of Alberta, selling 1.5 times more German than Italian or Spanish wine to his customers, Al Drungle's passion for German Riesling is not just a calling, but a personal obsession:

Harry Drung

Harry Drung is the president of HHD Imports, based in Waterloo, Ontario. He says he has been involved with the alcoholic beverage industry since he was 7 years old, when his immigrant father entered the industry as a multilingual sales representative. His first "aha moment" with German Riesling came on a ski trip in the U.S. with a 1975 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett. The Riesling business began with an order for two cases from Germany through the LCBO, the only import and distribution channel in Ontario. It has since grown to be the largest importer of German Riesling to Canada. Harry Drung attributes his success to his passion for German Riesling, great brands like RELAX, and his tireless perseverance. Another important ingredient to this success is the great working relationship with his wife and business partner Ingrid Drung as well as the staff at HHD Imports.

Background information:

The Riesling Fellow recognizes individuals who have greatly contributed to enhancing the appreciation and image around the world of Germany's internationally recognized flagship varietal, Riesling. The Riesling Fellowship includes such luminaries as Jancis Robinson MW, Hugh Johnson, Stuart Pigott and Paul Grieco. Riesling is the preferred and most popular German grape variety amongst Canadian wine consumers.

More about the Riesling Fellowship

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Two new Riesling Fellows awarded: Harry Drung and Al Drinkle (from left to right) from Canada.

Awarded for great commitment: Al Drinkle from Canada.

Awarded for great commitment: Harry Drung from Canada.