German Wine Guide


The country of Riesling, Germany shine through its wine-growing region of Mosel to offer high quality wines.

The neighbour of France has steep vineyards situated on the riversides, sheltered by the hills. The continental climate of Germany is cool and moist, optimal to a few grapes. In the north, wine regions like Mosel have more extremes temperatures than south areas. The Pfalz has a more stable and warm climate with a powerful sunshine.

History of wine in Germany

Viticulture in Germany began in the Roman period. In the Middle Age, the vineyards were the propriety of the Church, but the aristocracy had a lot of wineries in the South and the Rheingau. A few domains belong today to the same noble families. During the Thirty Years' Wars (1618-1648), a lot of German vineyards were destroyed.

The nineteenth century was a booming period for the wine industry. Indeed, the German wines competed with the great Bordeaux production. But in the 1960's and the 1970's, the quality decreased ostensibly and the German viticulture is in shambles. The reputation of the country go downhill with the propagation of mediocre German white wines.

A decade ago, the important vineyards had resolved to restore the glory of German wines with a high quality production.

German Wines Labelling terms

The classification of the wines labels can be complex to the foreign consumers. The AOP wine regions are called Anbaugebiet which can have restricted areas called Bereich. A single vineyard is an Einzellage and a Grosslage refers to a group of vineyards. Prädikatswein or QmP refers to the top of German wine quality classification. The QbA indicates the quality wines produced in an Anbaugebiet. The equivalent to France's Vin de pays and IGP is the Landwein and german table wine is labelled Deutscher Tafelwein.

The German legislation cover other labels referring to the wine styles. The Kabinett is for QmP light and dry wine. The Spätlese is a label for late harvest wines. They are more concentrated and richer than the Kabinetts. The Auslese refers to wines produced with hand-picked ripe grapes. The BA (beerenauslese) refers to rare sweet wines made from selected ripe grapes touched by botrytis (noble rot). Eiswein is the German name for Icewine. The TBA (Trockenbeerenauslese) are the dessert wines made from rotten grapes. The other classifications are Trocken or Feinherb for the dry wines, Halbtrocken referring to the medium-dry, Classic for the dry wines of high quality.

Grappe varieties in Germany

The great German wine regions are along the banks of the Rhine and its tributaries, the Nahe River and the Mosel.

The Riesling is the most common and famous German variety. Ripening late, the acidity of the grape enable the late harvest in October and November.

The German Rieslings are among the finest white wines in the world, with their subtle floral bouquet and their splendid peach notes. The very best have a great ageing potential.

The Muller-Thurgau or Rivaner is a hybrid of Riesling and Chasselas de Courtiller. The wines can be good but never exceptional. The Silvaner grape produce white wine with fresh acidity, fruity aromas and earthy notes. The other common white grapes are Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) and Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder).

Pinot Noir called in Germany Spätburgunder grows in the warmer wine regions with great success thanks to the production of high quality full-bodied wines with a maturation in oak.

Dornfelder is a recent variety which shows great potential thanks to its fruity and pleasant wines.

Our wines from Germany