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VDP classification

This classification is based on a private law statute of the VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) and has no legislative function. It is a declared goal, the valence of the best situations ( individual layers ) Germany to restore the preservation of a unique cultural landscape, to regain the status of large dry wines from Germany and the importance of the traditional fruit sweet Prädikatsweine emphasized. The statute defines the quality of a wine according to the internationally well-known term " terroir ", That is the one ancestry in connection with the quality. The principle is "the narrower the origin, the higher the quality". The quality of the vineyard is defined by the ground with topographical location and the prevailing one climate or microclimate (see under this topic under Weinbauwürdigkeit ).

VDP classification - logo, quality pyramid and wine glass

The knowledge of the best locations and the right ones due to their specific characteristics varieties results from centuries of experience of countless winemakers. The classification of the locations is carried out by the individual VDP regional associations in close consultation with their members. As a reference, old layer ratings such as the Prussian layer classification taken from the years 1868 and 1897. The classification of vineyards in the VDP has a very long history. The beginning took place in 1984 with the founding of the Charter Rheingau which then merged in 1999 in the VDP-Rheingau. In the period 1992 to 1998 took place in the growing areas palatinate and Rheinhessen Classification initiatives.

The classification model of the VDP describes the general framework conditions of the Federal Association. However, these conditions are sometimes different or narrower in the individual growing areas. For all wines, the VDP grape eagle guarantees the management by means of Organic (ecologically) oriented viticulture, vinification exclusively using traditional methods, regular audits, sensory Quality controls and certain marketing guidelines.

The cultivation area Nahe became in the year 1997 one Riesling Statute which later came up in the VDP classification model. In July 1998, the VDP set uniform principles for classified plants of German origin of the highest quality as internationally comparable Grands Crus created. In July 2001, the VDP introduced a three-step model: Level 1 - Large crops from the best parts of first layers (which very often led to confusion due to the nomenclature contradiction), Level 2 - classified vineyard wines from First Tier, Level 3 - Estate Wines and Local Wines. This model was valid for 11 years.

Four-level quality pyramid

In January 2012, the further development of the VDP position classification with a four-level quality pyramid was decided in the following descending order, whereby this regulation became valid from the 2012 vintage:

  • VDP.ERSTE LAGE ® (optional)

The previous "first layers", which were for dry and residual sweet top wines, are renamed "large layers". This repeals the contradiction between "first layers" and "large plants" and underlines the equality of fresh-sweet wines from top locations. Thus, only the confusing nomenclature was resolved and no new higher-value category was created. The mention of the location on the label is possible in the new classification only in the top two categories, with the second highest level being optional. The previous Classified documents are critically reviewed with the aim of continuing to label only very good layers on the label. Thus, all with respect to terroir insufficient meaningful layers away. The use of the layer is greatly reduced and is reserved for wines with a layered character.

The individual VDP regional associations in the growing areas can then introduce "first layers" as an additional hierarchical level. Even if this level is the same as the highest category before, it is not the same (especially since this was renamed), but subordinated to the new "Great Locations" and contains other layers than these. The quality system was the inspiration in the Burgundy With Grands Crus (Large layers) and Premiers Crus (First layers). In the implementation, the regions first have to set their "big positions", in order to then identify "first layers" as an option in case of a cross-company agreement. Thus, each region decides on the three or four stages of their origins. The option can be realized at a self-chosen time. Easier and middle layers are based on respective regional decision in the "estate wines" and "Ortsweinen".

Each VDP member company can produce one dry vineyard wine from each "big vineyard" it owns and from each approved grape variety, which is then referred to as the "big crop" with the vineyard name and grape variety. Even with the "first layers" a wine can be produced for each layer and permitted grape variety, but in contrast to the "large plant", the place must also be mentioned.

The predicates ( cabinet to Eiswein ) are rest and noble sweet vineyard wines reserved - dry wines from "large vineyards" and "first layers" can not bear any predicate. The same applies to dry "local wines"; only in "estate wines" are predicates in both the dry and in the fruit and noble sweet range allowed, but the relationship between "dry" and the predicates choice is prohibited upwards. The indication "dry" is obligatory with appropriately developed wines. For all Prädikatsweine the VDP regional associations determine on their own responsibility specific flavor profiles.

VDP.GROSSE LAGE® - The top of the vineyards

These absolute top locations and large plants are defined as "high-quality, parcel-delimited terroirs, in which mature wines with a very special character that reflect their origin and have a particular aging potential":

  • Position indication obligatory
  • no location information - the "Grosse Gewächs" speaks for itself so to speak
  • grape varieties specified mandatory
  • dry (<9 g / l residual sugar ): "Big plant", predicate statement forbidden
  • medium-dry (9-18 g / l residual sugar): not specified, "semi-dry" or " feinherb ", Predicate verb.
  • fruchtsüß and sweet (> 18 g / l residual sugar): Prädikatsangabe obligatorily
  • maximum yield 50 hl / ha
  • selective hand-picking prescribed
  • Mostgewicht at least Spätlese level
  • additional control of "quality-oriented work in the vineyard" u. sensory Testing the wines
  • prescribed marketing for sweet and noble sweet wines not before 1 May of the crop year, for "large crops" not before 1 September of the crop year, for red wines not before 1 September two years after harvest

VDP.ERSTE LAGE® - First Class

This level is optional - it is not used by all regions. These layers are defined as "first-class vineyards with independent character, in which optimal growing conditions prevail and proven over long time wines of lasting high quality were produced":

  • Location information and location mandatory
  • Varietal indication obligatory
  • dry (<9 g / l residual sugar): QbA dry, predicate prohibited
  • Semi-dry (9-18 g / l residual sugar): not specified, "semi-dry" or "fine dry", predicate verb.
  • sweet and sweet (> 18 g / l residual sugar): Prädikatsangabe obligatorily
  • regional specifications for approved grape varieties suitable for the vineyard
  • Maximum yield 60 hl / ha
  • selective hand-picking prescribed
  • Most weight at least on late reading level
  • additional control of "quality-oriented work in the vineyard" and sensory testing of the wines required
  • prescribed marketing of the wines not before the date of the VDP wine market (usually at the end of April), from the year 2015 not before May 1 of the crop year

VDP.ORTSWEIN - ambassador of the best soil

Comes from "high-quality, characterful and traditional" vineyards within a village, which are planted with typical regional grape varieties:

  • Location information prohibited
  • Location mandatory
  • Varietal indication obligatory
  • dry (<9 g / l residual sugar): "QbA dry", predicate not allowed
  • semi-dry (9-18 g / l residual sugar): not specified, "semi-dry" or "fine dry", predicate verb.
  • sweet and sweet (> 18 g / l residual sugar), predicate optional
  • Maximum yield 75 hl / ha
  • Hand picking from predicate grade selection required
  • In so-called terroir wines soil type can be indicated on the label
  • recommended marketing not before 1 March of the crop year

VDP.GUTSWEIN - good from the ground up

Comes from vineyard-own situations, where at least 80% of the respective regional federation recommended, area-typical grape varieties are cultivated. Is defined as "base wines at a high level":

  • Location information prohibited
  • Location not allowed
  • Region information obligatory
  • Varietal indication obligatory
  • dry (<9 g / l residual sugar): "QbA dry", "Kabinett" or "Spätlese" as an optional extra
  • Semi-dry (9-18 g / l residual sugar): not specified, "semi-dry" or "fine-dry", predicate opt.
  • sweet and sweet (> 18 g / l residual sugar): predicate optional
  • Maximum yield 75 hl / ha
  • Hand picking from predicate grade selection required


The growing areas can even determine the approved grape varieties. First, those for the Great Plains, in parenthesis those for the First Plains are called (no application = these growing areas do not take the possibility of the First Plain):

  • Ahr : Spätburgunder, Frühburgunder, Riesling only sweet, Pinot Noir (no application)
  • to bathe : Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Spätburgunder, Chardonnay, Lemberger only in the two areas Badische Bergstraße and Kraichgau (Auxerrois, Gewürztraminer, Muskateller, Rieslaner only sweet, Sauvignon Blanc, Scheurebe, Silvaner, Schwarzriesling)
  • Franconia : Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc (Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rieslaner, Scheurebe, Traminer, supplemented on request: Chardonnay, Lemberger, Müller-Thurgau, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Hessian mountain road : Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, White Burgundy (like Grosse Lage)
  • middle Rhine : Riesling, Pinot Noir (no application)
  • Moselle : Riesling (no application)
  • Near : Riesling (no application)
  • palatinate : Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer only sweet, Muskateller, Scheurebe)
  • Rheingau : Riesling, Pinot Noir (like Grosse Lage)
  • Rheinhessen : Riesling, Pinot Noir (no application)
  • Saale-Unstrut : Frühburgunder, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Traminer, Pinot Blanc (Blauer Zweigelt)
  • Saxony : Frühburg., Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Traminer, Pinot Blanc (like Grosse Lage)
  • Wuerttemberg : Pinot Gris, Lemberger, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc (Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Muskateller, Muskattrollinger, Samtrot, Sauvignon Blanc, Schwarzriesling, Silvaner, Trollinger)

Additional information

See a list of the various European classification systems under the keyword Grand Cru, The EU-wide classification system is under the keyword quality system described. Complete listings of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the wine-regulated wine, sparkling wine and distillate types are under the keyword winemaking contain. Comprehensive information on wine law is available under the keyword wine law,

Source: Website of the VDP (Association of German Presidential Wineries)
Redakt. Collaboration: Carsten M.
Come ; Freelance journalist and copywriter;
Pictures: © VDP.The predicate wineries

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