from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Synonyms Weißer Riesling, Rheinriesling - for more see section Synonyms
Art Grape vine ( Vitis vinifera subsp. Vinifera )
Berry color green yellow
origin upper Rhine valley
VIVC no. 10077

Random crossing of
Heunisch × Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris × Traminer clone

List of grape varieties

Riesling is a white grape and wine variety that is counted among the highest quality and culture-defining plants. The best Rieslings are produced in wine-growing regions with cooler climates. The variety is mainly grown in Germany, but also in numerous other wine-growing countries. Riesling wines enjoy a high reputation on international markets. Many top locations both in Germany and in other wine-growing countries are planted with Riesling. Especially in northern growing countries like Germany, the variety is grown almost exclusively on steep slopes.

There is evidence that Riesling has been cultivated in Germany for more than 600 years.

Lineage and History

Special postage stamp “Five centuries of Riesling cultivation” from the German Federal Post Office from 1990

Riesling is a natural cross of Heunisch × Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris and Traminer clone and was probably selected from wild grapevines on the Upper Rhine.

Ferdinand Regner from the Higher Federal College for Viticulture and Fruit Growing in Klosterneuburg describes the ancestry of Riesling as follows: “Our genetic analyzes reveal three genetic phenomena in Riesling that have led to today's grape variety. Probably the last step was the crossbreeding of the Heunisch grape variety and brought the Riesling some stability, vitality and possibly its acidic potential. Previously it was a vine that was a combination of Traminer with an autochthonous vine from the Rhine. The Traminer crossing could have happened spontaneously and probably represented a qualitative improvement. The Traminer probably brought the Traminer to the Rhine. The original vine is particularly hardy and small-berries. This vine was probably already taken over by the Teutons and could have been selected from them due to the proximity of the Riesling to the wild grapes. The local origin of the Rhine is unquestionable. "

In addition to the white Riesling, there is also a red Riesling . Compared to the White Riesling, this only has red berries, which make a white wine. Black Riesling and Blue Riesling are not related to White Riesling. The latter variety is only found in the assortments of vineyards and is of no economic importance.

From the Rhine Valley , Riesling spread to most of the German growing areas at the end of the Middle Ages . The first written mention of Riesling vines ("Rüssling") comes from 1402 in Worms . The next written mention is in a Rüsselsheim invoice from the Klaus Kleinfisch cellar to his Lord Count Johann IV von Katzenelnbogen on March 13, 1435: For a new vineyard, 22 Schillings were bought for a new white wine variety, Riesling. The penultimate line reads: Item 22 ß umb seczreben rüßlingen in the wingarten (certificate Marburg State Archive). Wine growing had a long tradition in Rüsselsheim am Main. The earliest mention of vineyards in the Rüsselsheim district is contained in a bill from the year 1401 by Zwingenberg and Auerbach - it is not known how long before this date wine was grown in Rüsselsheim.

Further mentions of the name Riesling follow in Bingen (1463), on the Moselle (1464/1465) and in 1552 an entry in the Latin Kreuterbuch of the Palatinate botanist Hieronymus Bock . Because of its low yields and late ripening, it was only slowly able to establish itself.

After a long boom in viticulture, the number of vineyards in Rüsselsheim declined more and more in the 20th century. The last mention comes from the year 1915. In the course of the First World War , the viticulture in Rüsselsheim seems to have been stopped. In the spring of 1980, an 800 m² historic vineyard was laid out on the city's own property. The Wingert is a living monument and, in addition to the first mention of Riesling in Rüsselsheim, it also reminds of the lively viticulture activity of the community in the past. In 1985, in the museum cellar of the nearby historic Rüsselsheim Fortress, a 550-year celebration of the first mention of the Riesling grape took place with a festive wine tasting, at which Rüsselsheim Riesling was again served.

Johannisberg Castle

When the Rheingau vineyards were replanted by Johannisberg Castle in the 18th century under the aegis of the Fulda archbishops , Riesling was almost exclusively used. In 1787 the Trier elector Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony decreed that only Riesling could be cultivated in his domain. This ultimately also meant that the Moselle became the largest contiguous Riesling growing area in the world.

State cultivation recommendations in the 17th century, the pursuit of higher quality and high wine prices led to a sharp increase from the end of the 19th century. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, German Riesling wines were rated as highly (or in some cases higher) than the great red wines from France and achieved similar prices.

In organ building, a certain non-acoustic stop is also known as a Riesling stop .

Ampelographic varietal characteristics

Le Riesling jaune de la Moselle , drawing from the early 19th century
  • The shoot tip is yellowish green and very hairy whitish with a slightly reddish tinge. The yellowish, slightly bronze colored young leaves are slightly hairy.
  • The medium-sized leaves are rounded, mostly five-lobed and only slightly curved. The stem bay is closed or overlapped. The leaf is blunt, medium-sized toothed. The leaf surface is blistered and coarse.
  • The cylindrical grape is small and dense. The grape stalk is short and comparatively woody. The round berries are small and yellow-green in color. With sufficient tanning and ripening, the color changes to yellow-brown and the berries are then dotted with black. The skin of the berry is thick. The aroma of the berry is fine and has a slightly aromatic bouquet.
  • Growth: strong
  • Maturity: late


medium high, approx. 60–110 hl / ha


Location In growing areas to the north, Riesling places high demands on the location, as it ripens very late. The heat-storing stony steep slopes in southwest to southeast orientation along the river valleys, such as those on the Rhine , Ahr , Moselle , Saar , Ruwer , Nahe , Lahn , Main , Elbe and in Austria in the Wachau as well as in the high valleys of South Tyrol in Italy, offer optimal conditions given are.

Soil Skeleton -rich, light to medium-heavy soils are best suited, such as climbing soils (known as primary rock soils ). Heavy, wet and cold floors are not suitable. Deep, fertile soils in flat locations produce full-bodied wines, but they do not produce typical and mineral Riesling wines.

Advantages and disadvantages

Gray mold rot as noble rot on Riesling grapes


  • Riesling has good resistance to winter frost. In years with very good wood ripeness, the Riesling can withstand winter frosts of –20 to –25 ° C.
  • Due to the late budding, it is not at risk of late frost.
  • Riesling wines have a wide range of quality.
  • The variety has a low sensitivity to drought.


  • Riesling places very high demands on the location.
  • The variety ripens late.
  • She is prone to stalk paralysis.
  • It is susceptible to stem rot and berry rot .
  • The berries are sensitive to heat. It causes sunburn damage to the berries.


The wine is classy, ​​lively, fresh and elegant, steely and minerally. It is characterized by the typical piquant, fruity acidity. Fruit aromas of stone fruit ( apricot ) and exotic fruits determine the character of the wine. The color of the wine can range from pale yellow with a green tinge to golden yellow. The full maturity of the wine is only reached after prolonged aging . Young wines can still have an acidic and inharmonious taste. The Riesling has the ability to express the character of the respective location particularly well. Due to their relatively high acidity, Riesling wines can be stored well (5–10 years). Age-matured wines also often have a "petrol note". High-quality sweet wines can also be produced with Riesling. Either harvested as ice wine , or the concentration takes place via the noble rot , which is caused by the gray mold rot ( Botrytis cinerea ). Riesling wine is also suitable for making sparkling wine .


In 2015, the global cultivation area of ​​Riesling was 63,936 ha. Germany has the largest share of the area.

country Area in ha
Germany 23,809
Romania 6.121
United States 4,605
France 4.025
Australia 3.157
Ukraine 2,700
China 2,500
Austria 2,068
Italy 1,681
Moldova 1,343


Vineyards of the Moselle near Ürzig
The "red slope" in Nierstein

In Germany in 2013 about 103,000 ha under vines were cultivated in total. With 23,960 hectares of cultivation area (2018), Riesling is the most widespread grape variety . It takes up over 23% of the vineyard area and is cultivated in all German wine-growing regions . The Rheingau has the largest share of Riesling, the Palatinate has the largest Riesling area.

Growing area Area ha Proportion of %
Germany 23,960 23.3
Baden-Württemberg 3.141
to bathe
1,019 6.4
2.122 18.5
Bavaria, Franconia 336 5.5
Hesse, Rheingau 2,505 78.0
Rhineland-Palatinate 17,023 26.6
46 8.2
Middle Rhine
308 65.5
5,446 62.0
1,221 28.8
4,738 17.7
5,865 24.9

Most of the top German sites are planted with Riesling. Well-known German Riesling locations are


Top Riesling location Singerriedel in Spitz an der Donau / Wachau

In Austria , Riesling is cultivated in several growing areas on an area of ​​2,015 hectares (6.6% of the white wine varieties, as of 2015). In contrast to the popular Welschriesling , Riesling is also known as Rheinriesling in Austria. The Wachau is the best known of the growing areas . The steep stone terraces on the north bank of the Danube and in the Spitzer Graben , thanks to their ability to store heat, help to produce top-quality wines with a balanced acidity and fruity taste.

The most famous Riesling vineyards in Austria are:


  • Dürnstein : Kellerberg, Höhereck, Hollerin
  • Loiben : Loibenberg, Schütt, Steinertal, Kreutles
  • Spitz : Thousand Bucket Mountain, Singerriedel, Setzberg, Bruck
  • Weissenkirchen : Achleiten, Klaus, women's gardens
  • Mautern : Süssenberg




  • mountain


  • Nussberg
  • Bisamberg
Unterloiben with the Loibenberg in the background
View from the winery to the vineyards of Dürnstein, Ober- and Unter Loiben


Vineyard in Alsace above Kaysersberg

In France , Riesling is only allowed to produce quality wines in Alsace . The cultivation area there is 3480 ha (source ONIVINS). Characteristic of Alsace are dry wines with an enticing aroma and strong alcohol content (often 12% or more). In the dry Alsatian climate, there is very little risk of rot and extended periods of ripening are possible, which can then lead to Vendanges Tardives or the even sweeter Sélections de Grains Nobles. The Riesling is also part of the approved grape varieties of the Alsace Grand Cru appellation .


In Luxembourg , with 159.1 hectares (as of 2008) around twelve percent of the total area of ​​1,300 hectares is planted with Riesling. It produces dry wines , thanks to Chaptalisation, quite full-bodied, which are closer to the Alsatian style than that of the neighboring Moselle .


The planted area under vines is estimated at around 4432 hectares (as of 2007).

The first Riesling in Australia was probably planted by William Macarthur in 1838 near Penrith in New South Wales . Until 1992 it remained the most widely grown white grape variety in the country. In Australia the wine is also known as Rhine Riesling . Until a few years ago, however, almost all fruity white wines were called Riesling. This is how the Sémillon grape was called Hunter River Riesling . Because of the warm climate, Riesling in Australia suffers from identity problems; up to now it has not yet been possible to obtain good quality wines across the board. The cultivation focuses on the Clare Valley near Watervale, Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills , all of which are in South Australia near Adelaide .

New Zealand

New Zealand is a wine producing country with a cool climate. This is particularly true of the South Island . In particular, the Marlborough growing area and the area around the city of Nelson produce Rieslings with excellent acidity and great delicacy. Since the history of high-quality Riesling wines in New Zealand is still very short (it began in the late 1980s), the future promises a lot. In 2008, the area under vines was 917 hectares, with an upward trend. In 2007 the vineyard area was still 868 hectares.


The planted area of ​​Riesling is 1,343 hectares (2015). Riesling is processed as a single variety or into sparkling wine.

United States

Riesling is grown more and more in the USA . Winemakers in New York State produce Riesling wines in the Fingerlake region (Niagara Falls and Buffalo), and on the west coast there are growing areas in California and Oregon.

New breeds

The Riesling was often used for new breeds . He was the godfather of the following varieties as father or mother variety:

As a mother places served Riesling at the intersection of varieties Alb de Yaloven , Arnsburger , August Riesling , bags Riesling , Bouquet Riesling , Dalkauer , Danube Riesling , precious nutmeg , Ehrenfelser , fine Riesling , Floricica , breakfast Riesling , St. John , Kocsis Zsuzsa , Manzoni Bianco , Marie Riesling , Müller-Thurgau , Multaner , Muscat de la Republique , Oraniensteiner , Osiris , Osteiner , Quanyu B , Rabaner , Rieslaner , Rieslina , Riesling Magaracha , Romeo .

Riesling was used as the father variety when crossing the grape varieties Aris , Arnsburger , Aurelius , Dona Emilia , Dr. Deckerrebe , Elbriesling , Kamchia , Kerner , Lafayette , Misket Varnenski , Negritienok , President Carnot , Rabaner , Rieslaner , Riesling Bulgarski , Ruling , Scheurebe , Thurling , Witberger .

In more complex breeds it served as a cross partner of Albalonga , Bacchus , Breidecker , Goldriesling , Grando , Königsast , Merzling , Perlriesling , Primera , Quanyu B , Rotberger , Ruling .

Some breeds such as Müller-Thurgau , Kerner and Scheurebe have gained greater importance.


Belo Vodno, Beregi Riesling, Beyaz Riesling, Bialo Vodno, Biela Disuca Grasiva, Biela Grasevina, Biela Grasevina Bey Pecke, Bukettriesling, Dinca Grasiva Biela, Edelriesling, Edle Gewuerztraube, Feher Rajnai, Feher Rajnai Rizling, Gelber Aromatique., Gentil Aromatique., Gentile Aromatique , Gentile Aromatique Petracine, German Riesling, Gewuerzriesling, Gewuerztraube, Graefenberger, Graschevina, Graschewina, Grasevina, Grasevina Rajnska, Grauer Riesling, Grobriesling, Grosser Riesling, Hochheimer, Johanisberger, Johannisberg, Johannisberg Riesling, Johannisberger, Johannisberger, Gontis Aromatique White, Jonanisberger Riesling, Karbacher, Karbacher Riesling, Kastellberger, Kis Rizling, Kleigelberger, Kleiner Riesling, Kleinriesler, Kleinriesling, Klingelberger, Klingenberger, Klingerberger, Krauses, Krausses Roessling, Lipka, Moselriesling, Nieberlander, Niederlaender, Oberkircher, Oberlaender, Petit Rhin, Petit Riesling, Petracine, Pfaelzer, Pfefferl, Pfoelzer, Piros Rajnai Rizling, Plinia Rhenana, Plinia Submoschata, Pussilla, Raisin Du Rhin, Rajinski Rizling, Rajnai Rizlin, Rajnai Rizling, Rajnai Rizling Gm 239-20, Rajnski Rizling, Rajnski Ruzling, Rano, Rauschling Blanc, Reichsriesling, , Rendu, Reno, Renski Rizling, Reuschling, Rey Rislinqi, Reyn Rislinqi, Reyn's Risling, Reynai, Rezlik, Rezlin, Rezling, Rezlink, Rhein Riesling, Rheingauer, Rheinriesling, Rhine Riesling, Riesler, Riesling, Riesling Bianco, Riesling Blanc, Riesling Blanc Sans Pepins, Riesling de Rhin, Riesling Echter Weisser, Riesling Edler, Riesling Giallo, Riesling Grau, Riesling Grosso, Riesling Gruener Mosel, Riesling in Alsace, Riesling Mosel, Riesling Reinskii, Riesling Renano, Riesling Renano Bianco, Riesling Rhenan, Riesling Rhine , Riesling Rothstieliger, Riesling Weisser, Riesling White, Rieslinger, Rieslingtraube, Rislinenok, Risling, Risling Reinskii, Risling Rejnski, Risling Renano, Rislinock, Rislinok, Rislinq, Rizling Linner, Rizling Rajinski, Rizling Rajnai, Rizling Rajnski, Rizling Rajnski Bijeli, Rizling Rejnskij, Rizling Rynsky, Roesling, Roessling, Roesslinger, Rohac, Rossling, Rosslinger, Ruessel, Ruessling, Russel, Ryn-Riesling, Rynse Druie, Ryzsky Rynsky, Ryzlink, Ryzlink Johannisberg, Starosvetske, Starovetski, Szuerke Rizling, Uva Pussila, Vitis Rhenensis, Weiser Riesler, Weisser Kleiner Riesling, Weisser Riesling, White Riesling.


  • Hans Ambrosi , Bernd HE Hill, Erika Maul, Ernst H. Rühl, Joachim Schmid, Fritz Schuhmann: color atlas grape varieties. 3rd, completely revised edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2011, ISBN 978-3-8001-5957-4 .
  • Karl Bauer, Ferdinand Regner , Barbara Schildberger: Viticulture. 9th, updated edition. AV book published by Cadmos Verlag, Vienna 2013, ISBN 978-3-7040-2284-4 .
  • Dagmar Ehrlich : ABC of grape varieties. Vines and their wines. Hallwag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7742-6960-2 .
  • Christina Fischer, Ingo Swoboda : Riesling. The whole variety of the noblest vine in the world. Hallwag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7742-6994-7 .
  • Pierre Galet : Dictionnaire encyclopédique des cépages. Hachette Livre, Paris 2000, ISBN 2-01-236331-8 .
  • Walter Hillebrand, Heinz Lott, Franz Pfaff: Paperback of the grape varieties. 13th, revised edition. Fachverlag Fraund, Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-921156-53-X .
  • Michael Matheus : From the “noblest of all grape families”. Notes on the history of Riesling. In: Festschrift on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the "Riesling Friends of Trier". Koch, Trier 1989, pp. 15-23.
  • Michael Matheus: The Moselle - Germany's oldest Riesling growing area? In: Regional history quarterly papers. Vol. 26, 1980, ISSN  0458-6905 , pp. 161-173.
  • Stuart Pigott : Planet Riesling. Top class white wine. Tre Torri, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-944628-41-7 .
  • Jancis Robinson : The Oxford Wine Lexicon. 3rd, completely revised edition. Hallwag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-8338-0691-9 .
  • Jancis Robinson: grape varieties and their wines. Hallwag, Bern et al. 1997, ISBN 3-444-10497-9 .
  • Directory of the Austrian quality wine grape varieties and their clones. Higher Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture and Fruit Growing Klosterneuburg, Klosterneuburg 2008.

Web links

Wiktionary: Riesling  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Riesling  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Directory of the Austrian quality wine grape varieties and their clones. 2008.
  2. F. Regner's email on the origin of Riesling from September 25, 2006 .
  3. Hans Ambrosi, Bernd HE Hill, Erika Maul, Ernst H. Rühl, Joachim Schmid, Fritz Schuhmann: color atlas grape varieties. 3rd, completely revised edition. 2011, p. 204.
  4. ^ Wine Atlas of Germany by Dieter Braatz et al., P. 178
  5. Alexander Demandt on the Counts and Riesling Alexander Demandt, Chronicle of Katzenelnbogen
  6. ^ Karl Bauer, Ferdinand Regner, Barbara Schildberger: Viticulture. 9th, updated edition. 2013, p. 83.
  7. Hans Ambrosi , Bernd HE Hill, Erika Maul, First H. Rühl, Joachim Schmid, Fritz Schuhmann: Color Atlas Rebsorten 3rd Edition, Eugen Ulmer, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8001-5957-4 .
  8. ^ Karl Bauer, Ferdinand Regner , Barbara Friedrich: Weinbau , avBuch im Cadmos Verlag, Vienna 2013, 9th edition, ISBN 978-3-7040-2284-4 .
  9. Ferdinand Regner , Karel Hanak, Cornelia Eisenheld: Directory of Austrian quality wine varieties and their clones , 2nd edition, 2015, HBL and BA for WB, Klosterneuburg.
  10. German Wine Statistics 2014/2015 , accessed on June 29, 2015
  11. German Wine Institute : Statistics 2019/2020 . Bodenheim 2019 ( deutscheweine.de [PDF; 706 kB ] (Planted vineyards and important grape varieties according to growing areas in 2018)).
  12. State Statistical Office of Rhineland-Palatinate (2014): Vineyards: Riesling at a new high ( memento of the original from February 27, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , at statistik.rlp.de, accessed on June 29, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.statistik.rlp.de
  13. Almost one percent of the world's vineyards are in Rhineland-Palatinate - viticulture from a statistical point of view ( memento of the original from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.statistik.rlp.de
  14. Statistics Austria, Weingarten Grunderammlung 2015, quick report 1.19
  15. LES CEPAGES BLANCS DANS LE VIGNOBLE (PDF) ( Memento from March 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), statistics on white grape varieties per greater region, part 1, publication of the OFFICE NATIONAL INTERPROFESSIONNEL DES FRUITS, DES LEGUMES, DES VINS ET DE LHORTICULTURE - in short ONIVINS, as of 2008.
  16. LES CEPAGES BLANCS DANS LE VIGNOBLE (PDF) ( Memento from March 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), statistics on red grape varieties per greater region, part 2, publication of the OFFICE NATIONAL INTERPROFESSIONNEL DES FRUITS, DES LEGUMES, DES VINS ET DE LHORTICULTURE - in short ONIVINS, as of 2008.
  17. ^ Publication of the Statistics Office (PDF) ( Memento of June 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), page 144.
  18. https://www.awbc.com.au/winefacts/data/free.asp?subcatid=102 ( Memento from July 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Statistics of the Australian Government.
  19. ^ Queensland Government Wine Development-Riesling ( Memento July 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  20. New Zealand Winegrowers Statistical annual 2008 ( Memento of 15 May 2010 at the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  21. New Zealand Winegrowers Statistical annual 2007 ( Memento of 3 March 2009 at the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  22. Erika Maul: Vitis International Variety Catalog. Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof (IRZ), Siebeldingen, 2007, accessed on August 29, 2007 .
  23. Riesling in the database Vitis International Variety Catalog of the Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof (English), June 2020