Germany

The German vineyards are almost as ancient as the French, of Roman origin. Germany produces essentially white wines, from dry to sweet, some amongst the best in the world, sparkling wines (the sekt) and  a small but growing production of red wines. Most of the vineyards are located in the South-West of the country and the best are along the Rhine river and its tributaries.

Surface : 102 000 ha        Production : 9 Mhl        Consumption : 20 Mhl

Terroir 

  • Soils diversified : shales, sandstone, limesone, volcanic, granit, lœss, silt
  • Climate continental temperate with low to moderate rainfall
  • Main white grape varieties : riesling (dominant), müller-thurgau (or rivaner= riesling x sylvaner), silvaner (sylvaner)
  • Main red grapes varieties : spätburgunder (pinot noir), dornfelder, blauer portugieser, blauer trollinger.

Main regions 

13 regions of which  Rheingau, la Mosel,  Ahr, Bergstraße Hessoise, Franconie, la Hesse rhénane, Nahe, Palatinat, Bade Country.

Legislation

Complex system with more than 2000 denominations :

  • Tafelwein (table wine)
  • Landwein (vin de pays)
  • Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (quality wine produced in a specified wine area)
  • Qualitätswein mit Prädikat  QmP (quality wine with attribute). The quality of a QmP is detremined by its sugar content:

. Kabinett (dry)

. Spätlese (late harvest)

. Auslese (later harvest/Spätlese)

. Berenauslese (selection of noble grape)

. Eiswein (ice wine, botrytised frozen grape)

. Trockenbeerenauslese (selection of over ripe grapes)

Sites :  www.bmelv.de   (Federal department of agriculture) and www.germanwines.de/  (Deutsche Wein Institute)