There is a huge variety of German wines. There are cheap, expensive, good tasting and less good. Here is an introduction to German wines and winemaking.

10.3 million hectoliters wine. That is what Germany annually produces in quantities of wine. A hectolitre is 100 liters, so it’s no small amounts we are talking about. Thus ranks Germany as the world’s ninth largest wine producer and 60 percent of all wine produced in the state of Rhineland-Pfalz.

The area around the Rhine is generally a very favorable position when the slopes provide great vineyards.

There are thirteen so-called quality wine regions:

  • Ahr
  • Baden
  • Franken
  • Hessieche Bergstrasse
  • Mittelrhein
  • Mosel
  • Nahe
  • Pfalz
  • Rhengau
  • Rheinhessen
  • Saale-Unstruut
  • Sachsen
  • Würtenberg

Within these regions are the wines assigned label depending on district and village.

What separates Germany to other wine producers is that white wine accounts by far the largest production. Red wine starts to increase in importance. Otherwise, it’s usually the opposite. Blue grape varieties fill a third of the cultivated land, and the most common grape varieties are Riesling, Müller-Thargau and Spätburgunder.

Phrases that may be useful to know:

Tafelwein means table wines. If the word “Deutscher” occurs, the majority of the grapes need to be grown in Germany.

Landwein is classed as a better table wine.

Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete is wine produced in one of Germany’s thirteen-quality regions (vineyard area is divided into 13 regions of quality).

Prädikatswein is the finest class of wine. Sugar may not be added before fermentation to increase alcohol content. Furthermore, there should be a label on the bottle that informs about the minimum level of grape maturity that varies depending on the type of grapes and where it comes from.

Liebfraumilch is a semi-dry Prädikatswein done on selected varieties.

Weissherbst is rosé wine where black grapes are pressed white. The wine is made solely on a variety and it should be listed on the bottle.

Rotling is a mix between green and black grapes.

Tafelwein and Landwein rarely go to exports, and these can be found very cheaply in various border shops.

Good luck to browse among German wines!

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