The wine-growing region is in the northeast France at the by the Rhine formed limit to Germany, The Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin departments formed their own French administrative region of Alsace (Région Alsace) from 1973 to 2015. As part of the regional mergers, the Grand Est region (Great East) with the capital Strasbourg was founded from 2016, which covers the areas of Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne.
Winegrowing has been done by the Celts (Gauls) before the Romans who appeared here in the 2nd century. After a decline in the 5th century due to the invasion of the Teutons, it blossomed again under the influence of the Roman Catholic monastic orders. Around 160 wine-growing locations were documented in the 9th century. In the 16th century viticulture reached its greatest extent with more than twice the size of the vineyard compared to today. At that time there was already a kind appellation system and the Alsatian wines were exported to all European countries. The Riquewihr wine association at the time determined the harvest time as "as late and ripe as possible" and the permissible "noble" grape varieties. The variety Elbling had to be pulled out. At that time, the Alsatian was considered the best German wine, often enriched with alcohol and with spices flavored has been.
The areas were largely destroyed by the devastation in the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Slowly there was an upswing again and by the middle of the 19th century the vineyard area had grown to 30,000 hectares. Then they struck here too phylloxera and the mildew to. The areas shrank to less than 10,000 hectares by 1950. Alsace was German territory for around seven centuries, it came to France in 1860, then became part of the German Empire again from 1870 to 1918 and then (with a brief interruption in the Second World War) it belonged to France again. From 1871 to 1918 there was the Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine. Due to this historical development, the Alsatian wine culture is German in terms of grape varieties and production and differs greatly from the other French wine-growing regions.
The vineyards cover 15,000 hectares of vines, which at the foot of the Vosges range in a narrow band, often only two kilometers wide, from Strasbourg in the north 110 kilometers along the German border to Mulhouse in the south. The entire eastern border too Germany forms the Rhine. The Vosges on the western side strongly influence the climate. They keep out most of the rainfall coming from the Atlantic, making Alsace one of the least rainy areas in France. There are cold winters, a mild spring and warm, dry summers that occur in some years droughts, The many different ones are special soil types with sand, pebble, loess, lime, clay, slate, granite and volcanic rock.
Alsace is divided into two departments. These are the southern Haut-Rhin (Upper Rhine) and the northern Bas-Rhin (Lower Rhine), which are known as better wine regions. The winegrowing center are some places north and south of Colmar with the famous Riquewihr. This most famous wine town is now a listed building. The 170-kilometer “Route du Vin” wine route from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south touches many of the winegrowing communities in the extremely scenic area.
The "seven vines of Alsace" are the white varieties Gewurztraminer, Muscat (the two varieties Muscat Blanc and Muscat Ottonel are often used together), Pinot Blanc (likewise - Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois), Pinot Gris (formerly Tokay Pinot Gris - but now through EU decision prohibited), Riesling and Sylvaner, and as the only red wine variety Pinot Noir. Of the other varieties, Chasselas should also be mentioned, but it has shrunk in area and produces rather simple wines. The Chardonnay is only for Crémants (Sparkling wines) approved. The two traditional varieties Goldriesling and Knipperlé (Ortlieber) have no more meaning. White wines are produced to over 90%. Red wine is predominantly made from Pinot Noir and occasionally also as Blanc de noirs pressed white. At the label the expansion type (dry to sweet) is not specified.
There are three appellation names. The AOC Alsace accounts for almost 75% of production. Mostly they are varietal wines from 100% of a variety indicated on the label. If this is missing, it is one Cuvée of different varieties, which as Edelzwicker (also Gentil) are marketed. The has a special position Klevener de Heiligenstein from the community of Heiligenstein. The AOC Crémant d'Alsace for bottle-fermented sparkling wines accounts for over 20% of production. The AOC Alsace Grand Cru applies to the 51st Grands Crus, Sweet wines have had a very long tradition in Alsace for centuries. The terms "Alsace Vendange Tardive" (late harvest) and "Alsace Sélection de Grains Nobles" (fine rotten berries) are added to Alsace or Alsace Grand Cru. It will also Vin de paille ( Strohwein ) and Vin de glace ( Eiswein ) generated. The Alsatian wines are slender in addition to the crémant Flûtes (Flutes) bottled.
There are well over a thousand winemakers and a number of large ones Winzergenossenschaften, Starting in the 1990s, there was a strong focus on Biodynamic viticulture with rigorous yield reduction. Around 10% of all Alsatian wines are produced by a large cooperative in Eguisheim under the brand name "Wolfberger". Other producers are Léon Beyer, Ernest Burn, Cave de Pfaffenheim, Marcel Deiss, Dirler-Cadé, Pierre Frick, Rémy Gresser, Domaine Jean-Marie Haag, Hugel et Fils, Josmeyer, Maison Jülg, Kreydenweiss, Kuentz-Bas, Seppi Landmann, André Ostertag, Martin Schaetzel, Domaines Schlumberger, Jean-Paul Schmitt, Schoffit, Vincent Stoeffler, Trimbach, Domain Weinbach and Zind-Humbrecht.