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Germany (GB)
Alemania (ES)
Alemanha (PO)
Allemagne (F)
Duitsland (N)
Germania (I)

Germany, or the area that belongs to it today, has a wine culture that is over two thousand years old. But previously imported wine was drunk, one in one celtic Grave found Greek wine bottle made of clay from around 400 BC. BC proves. The oldest vineyards were on the banks of Rhine, Neckar and Moselle. These rivers with their elongated valleys and their tributaries are still the classic cultivation areas. Viticulture was founded by the colonization of the Greeks in Gaul and then brought to perfection by Roman culture. With the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), Roman winegrowing came from Rhone Valley to the Rhine.

The roman emperor Probus (232-282) contributed through promotional measures for the further expansion of the vineyards. In the 5th century, viticulture was so widespread in what is now Germany that Chlodwig (466-511) passed the so-called “Salian Law”, which made the theft of a vine a criminal offense. In the 6th and 7th centuries, viticulture spread to southern and northern Germany. The Franconian King Dagobert I (610-639) is documented as a donor of vineyards Churches or monasteries attested. A viticulture in the Palatinate is by a document of King Siegbert III. from 653 and in the 8th century well over a hundred wine-growing communities in the Palatinate are mentioned.

Emperor Charlemagne (742–814) gave important impulses because he had thick forests cleared and planted with vines from Hungary, Italy, Spain, Lorraine and Champagne. He enacted the first laws and gave permission to the self-made wine in Bushmen for sale. They were decisive for cultivated viticulture Cistercian, who founded thousands of monasteries in Europe and is professionally involved Vineyard maintenance, Selection of grape varieties and winemaking. In 1136 twelve monks founded Burgundy the famous monastery Eberbach in the Rheingau. Over the next 100 years, 200 branches were opened between Worms and Cologne Rhine. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the monastery and its offshoots were the largest wine-growing company in the world. Initially, the monks planted vines brought from Burgundy, especially red varieties. However, they soon realized that white wine varieties thrived best in the Rheingau.

In the High Middle Ages (1050-1250) ranged due to the effects of Medieval warm period the cultivation limits about 200 m higher than today, so that agriculture and viticulture experienced a large expansion. The largest vineyard area was then reached in the 15th century with around 400,000 hectares (about four times as much as today). Back then, that was what counted Alsace with extensive vineyards. The vineyards were mainly in low-lying flat areas Clearing heavily forested areas in the northern Franconia. Like in the rest of Europe, the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) left behind apocalyptic destruction, from which German winegrowing recovered only very slowly. Many former flowering wine regions such as Bavaria, Northern, Eastern and Central Germany were no longer planted with vines. But also the advent of beer as a mass drink, viticulture suffered greatly. The wine became increasingly rare and expensive. In 1563 there was one piece Rheinwein (1,200 liters) still available for 300 gold coins, a few years later 500 gold coins.

There were further setbacks with cold spells and the resulting many failed harvests due to the effects of Little ice age (1450-1850) with particularly cold periods from 1570 to 1630 and 1675 to 1715. Regardless of this, from the beginning of the 18th century viticulture started to boom again. Through the secularization the monasteries at the beginning of the 19th century were mainly replaced by nobles Monks, to which today's standard is due. Quality started to play a big role. In this context, the 1868 and 1897 Prussian location classification. From the beginning of the 1860s, the came over Germany Phylloxera and the Powdery mildew plague which in turn led to severe devastation.

During the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1815) emerged from the under Napoleon (1769-1821) secularized property of the church mostly owned by the state Wine domains. The aim of these “samples / apprenticeship wineries” was and still is in part today to spread modern viticultural production methods. This was done by testing new methods in the vineyard, as well as production and distribution ennobled Grafted vines. In 1892 the first wine law was introduced, where, among other things, a controlled one Sugar was allowed. In the first half of the 20th century there was a major recession due to the two world wars and the vineyard area shrank to less than 50,000 hectares by 1945. The Wine trade export reached a low. From the 1950s, a positive change slowly took place.

Wine growing areas

The German wine-growing regions are among the northernmost the world and are thus in the border area between the warm, moist Gulf Stream climate in the west and the dry continental climate in the east. The sometimes very different soils consist of basalt, red sandstone, rock, loess, shell limestone, porphyry, slate and volcanic rock. The best vineyards are in the north. In 2012, 9.012 million hectoliters of wine were produced from 102,000 hectares of vineyards (see also under Wine production quantities ). The export is around 25%, the traditional buyers are Great Britain, USA, Netherlands and Japan.

Country wine area

This quality level was introduced in 1982. There are a total of 26 rural wine areas, most of which are sub-areas within the growing areas or outside of them. These are Ahrtaler LW, Badischer LW, Bayrischer-Bodensee LW, Brandenburg LW, LW Main (formerly Franconian LW), LW der Mosel, LW Neckar, LW Oberrhein, LW Rhein, LW Rhein-Neckar, LW der Ruwer, LW der Saar, Mecklenburg LW, Mitteldeutscher LW, Nahegauer LW, Palatinate LW, Regensburg LW, Rheinburgen - LW, Rheingauer LW, Rheinischer LW, Saarländischer LW, Sächsischer LW, Schleswig-Holsteiner LW, Schwäbischer LW, Starkenburger LW and Taubertäler LW.

Growing area

There are 13 growing areas, which are divided into areas, large locations and individual locations. Only these can use the term quality wine or QbA. They are mainly concentrated in the southwest in the valleys of the Rhine and the Moselle and their numerous tributaries. In the south, they are scattered loosely in the landscapes. Due to the reunification in 1990, the two new growing areas of Saxony and Saale-Unstrut in the east were added. Outside of the growing areas, vines are also grown in Bavaria on a total of 56 hectares, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein. However, the wines produced from it may only be marketed as country wines.

Area (BER): With the exception of Ahr, Nahe and Rheingau, the growing areas are divided into two or more areas. The areas are divided into large locations.

Great location (GL): This comprises several neighboring, but not necessarily adjacent, individual layers. This large area usually bears the name of what was once the most famous single location (before the reduction). However, the information on the bottle label does not indicate whether it is a single layer or a large layer.

Single layer (EL): This is rarely less than five hectares. But there is a range from less than one to 200 hectares. Over the centuries, around 25,000 vineyard names with often few rows of vines have developed. These were established by the 1970 Wine Law and the Land consolidation Very much reduced in 1971. However, around 50 of the remaining 2,709 individual layers are not under yield or are no longer planted.

Cadastral location : The smallest geographical origin-protected unit. Since 2014, every winery can apply to be registered in the cadastre Tub to be defined as a cadastral location, which can then be indicated on the label.

Germany's growing areas are, with one exception, in the European Wine-growing zone A, only the Baden wine-growing region (like Austria) belongs to wine-growing zone B. In 1972 there were still over 100,000 wine-growing companies, since then there has been a continuous structural change and an enormous reduction to 42,000. The 16,827 holdings in the table are only those from 0.5 hectares of vineyards. Around 4,300 farms manage less than 1 hectare; that's a quarter. Around 3,100 farms cultivate more than 10 hectares, including 890 farms over 20 hectares. These cultivate more than 60% of the total area. The average farm size grew from 4.8 to 5.9 hectares. Since 2009, there have been only minor changes in the growing areas. The total area increased by 688 hectares, that is only 0.7%.

% -ANT
% -ANT
Ahr 1 1 43 157 563 17.1 82.9 557
to bathe 9 15 315 4,111 15,828 59.5 40.5 15,836
Franconia 3rd 23 216 1,635 6,130 81.9 18.1 6.104
Hessian mountain road 2nd 3rd 23 70 467 79.2 20.8 427
Middle Rhine 2nd 11 111 115 470 85.1 14.9 458
Moselle 6 19th 524 2,116 8,798 90.5 9.5 8,976
Near 1 7 328 484 4,237 76.0 24.0 4,163
Palatinate 2nd 25th 325 2,287 23,554 65.3 34.7 23,467
Rheingau 1 11 123 383 3,211 85.6 14.4 3,062
Rheinhessen 3rd 24th 434 2,348 26,758 71.2 28.8 26,480
Saale-Unstrut 3rd 4th 37 92 786 74.2 25.8 704
Saxony 2nd 4th 23 83 501 82.2 17.8 461
Württemberg 6 17th 207 2,946 11,461 31.8 68.2 11,435
remaining areas (country wine),
e.g. B. Brandenburg
- - - 90 56 - - -
TOTAL 40 164 2,709 16,827 102,874 66.5 33.5 102.186


Karte mit den 13 Anbaugebieten Deutschlands

Grape varieties and vineyards

Around 140 grape varieties are permitted, but only a good dozen of them are of market importance. Many new grape varieties have been used in the past ten years, most of them so-called PIWI varieties. The trend towards red wine varieties in all growing areas has now peaked and is slightly declining. Exactly two thirds of the grape varieties are white wine and one third red wine. In 1998 the ratio was 71% white wine to 29% red wine. The most common grape variety in Germany with an increasing tendency is still with a fifth of the Riesling. The climbers are the Burgundy varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, the relegations Müller-Thurgau, Kerner and Blauer Portugieser. The grape variety status in 2018 (0 = less than 0.5 ha):

Grape variety
German main name
In Germany
Common synonyms
colour Hectares
% -Ant
Riesling White Riesling, Rheinriesling White 23,960 23.3 22,580
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner, Riesling-Silvaner White 12.057 11.7 13,628
Pinot Noir incl. Velvet red Pinot Noir, Blauer S., Pinot Noir red 11,762 11.4 11,733
Dornfelder - red 7,581 7.4 8,000
Ruländer Pinot gris, Pinot Gris White 6,713 6.5 4,517
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Pinot Blanc White 5,540 5.4 3,941
Green Silvaner Silvaner, Sylvaner White 4,744 4.6 5,187
Portuguese Blue Portuguese red 2,799 2.7 4,202
Kerner Core vine White 2,463 2.4 3,584
Trollinger Blue Trollinger, Schiava Grossa red 2,172 2.1 2,431
Chardonnay - White 2,100 2.0 1,228
Limberger / Lemberger Blaufränkisch, Blue Limberger red 1,912 1.9 1,747
Müllerrebe Black Riesling, Pinot Meunier red 1,910 1.9 2,303
regent - red 1,784 1.7 2,122
Bacchus Early Scheurebe White 1,667 1.6 1,977
Scheurebe Seedling 88 White 1,412 1.4 1,655
Sauvignon Blanc Nutmeg Sylvaner White 1,324 1.3 516
White Gutedel Chasselas, Gutedel White 1,121 1.1 1,132
Red traminer Traminer / Gewürztraminer White 1,057 1.1 838
Merlot - red 696 0.7 469
Saint Laurent St. Laurent, Blue St. Laurent red 618 0.6 657
White Elbling Elbling, Kleinberger White 493 0.5 567
Acolon - red 461 0.5 482
Ortega - White 440 0.4 622
Huxelrebe - White 424 0.4 613
Yellow muscatel Muscatel / Muscat Blanc White 423 0.4 190
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 399 0.4 295
Domina - red 366 0.4 405
Morio nutmeg Morio White 361 0.4 488
Cabernet Mitos - red 300 0.3 320
Colored vine - White 270 0.3 551
Cabernet Dorsa - red 263 0.3 234
Auxerrois Little Heunisch White 267 0.3 190
Dark fields - red 227 0.2 341
Pinot Noir Blauer Frühburgunder, Clevner red 241 0.2 256
Solaris - White 160 0.2 66
Cabernet Blanc - White 158 0.2 0
Johanniter - White 124 0.1 77
Blue Zweigelt Zweigelt, Rotburger red 114 0.1 100
Nutmeg trollinger Trollinger nutmeg red 113 0.1 65
Herald vine - red 97 0.1 147
Syrah Shiraz red 79 0.1 27
Cabernet Franc - red 76 0.1 16
Rieslaner Mainriesling White 76 0.1 87
Winning vine - White 75 0.1 102
Cabernet Cubin - red 62 0.1 59
Muscaris - White 58 0.1 0
Dakapo - red 50 0.1 58
Nobling - White 50 0.1 61
Souvignier Gris - White 50 0.1 0
Phoenix - White 48 0.1 48
Cabernet Cortis - red 46 0.1 28
Reichensteiner - White 43 0.1 100
Ehrenfelser - White 39 0.1 85
Gold muscatel - White 39 0.1 0
Cabernet Dorio - red 30th - 37
Blue Silvaner - White 29 - 38
Green Valtellina Weißgipfler White 29 - 7
Gold Riesling (1) Gelbriesling, gold nutmeg White 28 - 21
Viognier - White 26 - 0
chancellor - White 25th - 33
Bouvier Erratic boulder White 24th - 27
Optima Optima 113 White 24th - 59
Pinotine - red 21 - 0
Red Elbling Elbling White 18th - 18th
Kernling - White 16 - 17th
Nutmeg Ottonel - White 16 - 12th
prior - red 16 - 0
Schönburger - White 16 - 20th
Dove black Blue hangman red 16 - 14
Rubinet - red 15 - 13
Helios - White 13 - 0
jewel - White 13 - 23
pearl Pearl from Alzey White 13 - 33
Sprinkler - White 13 - 42
Albalonga - White 12th - 14
Opaque - red 12th - 20th
Helfensteiner Blauer Weinsberger red 12th - 19th
monarch - red 11 - 0
rondo - red 11 - 10th
Saphira - White 11 - 0
Cabertin - red 10th - 0
Rotberger - red 10th - 15
Tempranillo - red 10th - 0
Cabernet carbon - red 9 - 0
Red muscatel Muscat Blanc, Muscatel White 8th - 2nd
Ehrenbreitsteiner - White 7 - 10th
Neronet - red 6 - 0
Bronner - White 5 - 3rd
Cabernet Carol - red 5 - 0
Hegel - red 5 - 10th
Malvasia Frühroter Veltliner, Formerly red White 5 - 5
Palas - red 5 - 8th
Piroso - red 5 - 0
Wild nutmeg - red 5 - 0
Merzling - White 4th - 4th
Freer - White 3rd - 4th
Hibernal - White 3rd - 1
Woods - White 3rd - 6
Blauburger - red 2nd - 3rd
Staufer - White 1 - 1
Villaris - White 1 - 0
André - red - - 5
Arnsburger - White - - 1
Dye grape Complexion du Cher red - - 1
Fontanara - White - - 1
Mariensteiner - White - - 3rd
Orion - White - - 4th
Pearl of Zala Zala Gyöngye White - - 1
Principal - White - - 3rd
Septimer - White - - 2nd
Silcher - White - - 3rd
Sirius - White - - 1
otherwise. red varieties - red 117 0.1 175
otherwise. white varieties - White 239 0.2 256
RED VARIETIES     34,461 33.5 36,825
WHITE VARIETIES     68413 66.5 65,361
TOTAL     102,874 100 102.186


Wine categories / quality levels

In August 2009 the EU wine market regulations valid with fundamental changes in wine types and quality levels (see under Quality system ). The new names were in Germany PGI and PDO banned until the end of 2011. From 2012, the regulation came into force to continue to use the old traditional designations country wine, quality wine and predicate wine (with all predicate levels). In addition, alternatively on label the new names "protected geographical indication" and "protected origin" are given, but not in abbreviated form:

  • Wine without a closer indication of origin (formerly the now prohibited term Table wine )
  • Wine with grape varieties and / or vintage
  • Wine with protected geographical indication (PGI) Country wine
  • Wine with a protected designation of origin (PDO) Quality wine and Predicate wine

Wine without variety and / or vintage - German wine

Must only be made from grapes harvested domestically. Must only come from approved grape varieties. Must have a natural minimum alcohol content of 5% vol (44 ° Oe) in Zone A and 6% vol (50 ° Oe) in Zone B. Must have an existing alcohol content of at least 8.5% vol = 67 g / l in zones A and B after any enrichment. Must have a total acidity expressed in tartaric acid of at least 3.5 g / l.

Wine with variety and / or vintage - German wine

Only approved grape varieties may be used and indicated.

Country wine and / or wine with a protected geographical indication

Only the long text is permitted; the short form "Wine PGI" is not allowed. The wine must be at least 85% from grapes harvested in the area, e.g. B. Brandenburg country wine. Concentration by cold is not allowed. The must must be enriched before fermentation. The maximum hectare yield is 15,000 l of wine. Must correspond to the taste "dry" or "semi-dry".

Quality wine and / or wine with a protected designation of origin

Only the long text is permitted; the short form "Wein PDO" is not allowed. The traditional name QbA (quality wine from certain growing areas) is still possible (but is hardly used anymore). After postiver sensory and analytical testing the Official test number. The wine must have typical characteristics and be free of defects in appearance, smell and taste. It can be used for growing areas, but also for narrower geographical designations (area, large location, place name, individual location). Vineyard and field names (plots) that were no longer permitted under the 1971 Wine Act can be reused under certain circumstances. The wines require product specifications that describe production (grape varieties, yields, etc.) and the origin-related taste.

The grapes used must originate exclusively from approved grape varieties of the species Vitis vinifera. They must have been harvested in a single "specific growing region" and, in principle, processed into quality wine in the specific growing region. The must obtained from the grapes used in the fermentable filled container must have at least the natural minimum alcohol content specified for each specific cultivation area and for each grape variety. The existing alcohol content must be at least 7% vol = 56 g / l and the wine must have a minimum total alcohol content of 9% vol = 71 g / l. The addition of concentrated grape must and cold concentration are prohibited.

Quality wines

Also a quality wine according to EU law, since there are officially only the three quality levels mentioned. However, traditional designations may continue to be used, which is also used by other countries such as B. Austria, Italy (DOC and DOCG) and Spain is used. According to German wine law, a predicate wine is therefore a higher level of quality wine. There are the six predicate wine types: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Bererenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. These must at least meet the quality wine criteria. In addition, higher must weights also apply (there are detailed descriptions under the relevant keywords):

cabinet : At least 67 ° Oe to 82 ° Oe Must weight different for each growing area. At least 7% vol = 56 g / l existing alcohol content. At least 9% = 71 g / l minimum total alcohol content.

Late harvest : At least 76 ° Oe to 90 ° Oe must weight different for each growing area. The default is a "late harvest" and fully ripe condition of the grapes.

choice : At least 83 ° Oe to 100 ° Oe must weight different for each growing area. All sick and unripe berries must be sorted out.

Berry selection : At least 110 ° Oe to 128 ° Oe must weight different depending on the growing area. Only largely rotten or at least overripe grapes may be used. The naturally present alcohol content must be at least 5.5% vol.

Trockenbeerenauslese : At least 150 ° Oe to 154 ° Oe must weight different depending on the growing area. Must largely be made from rotten grapes.

Ice wine : At least 110 ° Oe to 128 ° Oe must weight (like berry selection). The frozen grapes are pressed and pressed, the ice remains in the pomace.

special wine types

There are a number of specific names or types of wine with legal requirements. These are Badisch rose gold, Classic, Feather white, Liebfrauenmilch, Rotling, Schieler, Schiller wine, Selection and White autumn.

sparkling wine : A higher quality sparkling wine is called "German sparkling wine", in this case it consists of 100% grapes grown in Germany. The designation “Sekt bA” means that the grapes come 100% from a certain region.

Organic wine : The production is at least subject to the guidelines EU organic regulation, as well as the often stricter rules of organic associations. The German umbrella organization is BÖLW (see also in detail under the keyword Organic viticulture ).

important wine law provisions

The German standard work on wine law is “Weinrecht” (Walhalla-Verlag), which in its June 2012 edition comprises 4,068 pages in four folders plus CD-ROM. It offers EU wine law, Germany and the federal states. Another extensive work is the "Weinrecht Commentary" by Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg cook. See also under the keyword Wine Law.

Must weight : There is a minimum must weight for each quality level (see above). Within the quality levels, a differentiation is made according to grape varieties. In order to do justice to the different climatic conditions, these quantities are different for each growing region.

Yield : The maximum quantities in hectoliters / hectare are defined responsibly by the growing areas and are per growing area and in the federal state Rhineland-Palatinate also different for each quality group. Regardless of the quality group, these are 80 hl / ha (Saxony), 90 (Baden, Franconia, Saale-Unstrut), 100 (Ahr, Hessische Bergstrasse, Rheingau), 105 (Middle Rhine, Nahe, Palatinate, Rheinhessen), and 110 (Württemberg) . In Rhineland-Palatinate (Mosel, Nahe, Palatinate, Rheinhessen) these are for quality wine 105 and 125 for Moselle, 125 for regional and grape varietal wine, 150 for German wine and 200 for Base wine for the production of cults or distillates.

origin / vintage / Grape variety : At least 85% of a wine must come from the specified origin, grape variety and vintage. If the third-party share (from another origin, grape variety or a different vintage than specified in the description) reaches the maximum limit of 15%, then a maximum of 10% third-party sweet reserve may be added. Because the total third-party share, including the sweet reserve, must not exceed 25%. “German wines” must originate 100% from grapes harvested domestically. According to seed law, there are 87 crop cancers (66 of which are listed above), 15 root crops and 12 Decorative varieties authorized. A detailed description with the viticultural characteristics can be found in the "Descriptive Grape Variety List" of the Bundessortenamt (see under Plant variety protection ). The information sorted is only allowed if the wine is 100% from the specified grape variety.

Sugar content : The content of Residual sugar is optional on label contain. As dry a wine with max. 4 g / l or 9 g / l if the Total acidity is not more than 2 g / l lower than the residual sugar. At z. B. 8 g / l requires this. 6 g / l total acid. The remaining grades are semi-dry at 12 g / l or 18 g / l if the total acidity is not more than 10 g / l lower, lovely with a higher value than for semi-dry but max. 45 g / l, as well sweet with to. 45 g / l. Terms that are not relevant to wine law fine dry, Franconian dry and tart.

Sweetener (Increase residual sugar): The wine must not be sweetened by more than 4% vol alcohol (to be understood analogously). Only one as Sweet reserve designated grape must, concentrated grape must and RTK are prohibited for country wine, quality wine and premium wine (is even a restriction of EU law; the reason is the preservation of the originality of the wine). When grape must is added to the predicate wine, it must correspond to the same predicate wine level.

Enrich (Increase the natural alcohol content): May be carried out for all types of wine (regardless of wine color and quality level) by a maximum of 2% vol alcohol content using the approved agents (see details under Enrichment). In the past, only sucrose (dry sugar) was approved for country and quality wines in Germany. Due to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the German Wine Law was changed in 1989. After a successful application, quality wine b. A. an alcohol content of 15% vol not be exceeded. In the case of predicate wine, enrichment is not permitted in principle.

Institutions and bodies

Important institutions, bodies, authorities and the like Research institutes that perform research, organizing, controlling, journalistic or educational functions in connection with viticulture German Wine Academy, DLG (German Agricultural Society), DWF (German Wine Fund), DWI (German Wine Institute), DWV (German Wine Association), Freiburg, Geilweilerhof, Geisenheim, Society for History of Wine, Julius Kühn Institute (Geilweilerhof), VDP (Association of German quality wine estates), Franconian wine ring and Weinsberg (Wine Institute).

Influential German wine authors or Wine critic are / were among others Paula Bosch, Armin Hallway, Gerhard Eichelmann, Marcus Court cobbler, Rudolf Knoll, Norbert Pobbig, Jens Priewe, Mario Scheuermann and Eckhard Supp. They work in many wine magazines and Wine guides such as the Berliner Weinführer, Busche Winzer & Weingüter, Eichelmann Germany wines, Gault Millau, Meiningers wine world and Wein-Plus.

Map: DWI (German Wine Institute)

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