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Wine is a cultural product made from the fermented juice of the grape
Where wine is cultivated, unique cultural landscapes have often emerged: Sustainable structures of culture (Photo: Radebeul ) ...
... and landscape (Photo: Wachau ).

Wine (from Middle High German and Old High German wīn from Latin vinum ) is an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of the berries of the noble grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ). Wine is a luxury and intoxicant . Due to specific oenological aging methods , numerous biochemical ripening processes occur during storage , which can be very diverse and also mean that some wines can be aged and kept for decades.

The most common wines are red , white and rosé wines . Sparkling wine (sparkling wine, cava, champagne, etc.) is made from wine during a second fermentation. Low-foaming wines are called sparkling wines ( Prosecco frizzante, Secco, etc.). As a rule, carbon dioxide is technically added to the wine .

The berries required for winemaking grow in grape-like , elongated panicles on the grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ). They mainly come from their subspecies, the European noble grapevine Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera . Since this is one of the vine species that is not resistant to phylloxera, it is grafted onto partially resistant substrates (roots) of the wild grape varieties Vitis riparia , Vitis rupestris , Vitis berlandieri or their interspecific crossings (hybrid vines) to protect against phylloxera .

Technical terms on the subject of wine are explained in the article Wine Language .


A glass of red wine and a glass of white wine
Roman wine, Speyer around 325 , found in the ground in 1867, is considered to be the oldest preserved grape wine in the world ( Historisches Museum der Pfalz , Speyer )
  • Trade name wine: Only a drink made from the fruit of the grapevine may bear the trade name "wine" (without further explanation). According to EU legislation, a wine must contain at least 8.5  percent alcohol by volume .
  • As wines in the broader sense are also referred to:
  • In addition to wine, beverages containing wine contain other substances - for flavoring or dilution. Wine-containing drinks include sangría , vermouth , wine spritzer ( also called spritzter or G'spritzter in Austria ).
  • Wine-like drinks are those that are not made from the juice of the berries of the grapevine, but from the fructose juice of other fruits or from other sugar-containing raw materials, such as fruit wine , mead (made from honey ), rhubarb wine. Wines made from fruits other than grapes must always contain the name of the fermented fruit (e.g. wine made from apples = cider ). Fermented products made from starchy raw materials such as rice wine are not referred to as wine-like drinks.


“Wine” is a classic wandering word that was widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. The Arabic wayn , the Latin vinum , the Greek οἶνος [oínos] or * ϝοῖνος [woínos] - from myk. wo-no  - are related to each other without it being possible to deduce which language it originally comes from. A similar connection can probably be made to the Georgian word ღვინო [ghwino]. It should be noted that only the Georgian word Ghwino has a different meaning and means "boiling".

The High German word wine (from Old High German wîn or winam ) and English. wine , Welsh gwin and Irish fíon are all borrowed from common Germanic Latin vinum and provincial Latin vino , while French. vin (cf. old French li vins ) goes back directly to the Latin word. This is explained by the fact that both Teutons and Celts first came into contact with wine on a large scale via the Romans and thus took over the Latin term.

The term wine came through later trade relations from the Teutons to the Slavs (see the Russian word vinó) and to the Balts, with the term vynas being known in Lithuania and the word vins in Latvia .

The Latin vinum is probably borrowed from a Mediterranean or Pontic language.


Grape Harvest in Ancient Egypt, Tomb of the Night ( TT52 )
Wine and gods: Athena fills a Oinochoe wine in the kantharos of Heracles ; Tondo of an Attic red-figure- drinking bowl of Python and Duris to 480/70 v. Chr.

In antiquity , viticulture received considerable attention and expansion. Viticulture has been practiced since the 6th millennium BC. In the Middle East . Georgia and today's Armenia are considered the countries of origin of wine.

Wine has played an important role as an agricultural product since ancient times , both in economy and medicine, as well as in social and ritual life. In particular, however, it was and is a symbol of numerous mythologies and religions.

Ancient mythology

Wine was and is an essential part of ritual practices in different cultures. The ecstasy sought in drinking wine was seen as something that could create closeness to a deity .

In ancient mythology it was Osiris ( Egypt ), Dionysus ( Greece ), Bacchus ( Roman mythology ) or Gilgamesh ( Babylonia ) who represented wine and wine enjoyment.

In ancient Greece, wine was an object of religious worship and a symbol of culture. He was at the center of the cults and mysteries of the Greek god Dionysus . The importance of wine in the ancient cultural area is also reflected in the festivals that were held in his honor: In December, the Lenées, the festival of the wine press, were celebrated. The new wine was offered to Dionysus. In February the Anthesteries followed , where the wine of the last harvest was tasted. Wine was also an important part of the Greek and Roman libation sacrifice. Wine was sprayed directly on the sacrifices to be offered, on the earth or in the fire. The Romans worshiped Bacchus as the god of wine. The production of the wine was determined by religious norms: priests set the days of the beginning of the harvest. Even pruning the vines was a religious duty. Wine was also an important part of religious festivals in ancient Rome, such as the women's festival of Bona Dea , goddess of female fertility.

Ancient and Medieval Medicine

In addition to oil , water and vinegar , wine has also been widely used in medicine because of its alcohol content since it was first discovered . Wine was used very early on in this area as a disinfectant for wounds, causing a state of intoxication as one of the first pain relievers and, especially in the Middle Ages, it was used as a preservative and for the production of simple medicines , tinctures and extracts . In general, as numerous medieval encyclopedias show, wine was attributed a so-called “fiery nature” based on antiquity, and it was said to have a digestive, diuretic and cleansing effect on the body. Its medical use in connection with medicines is documented in great detail in the 12th century in the writings of Abbess Hildegard von Bingen . Apart from preservation purposes, wine was used in the Middle Ages in a combination of herbs and minerals through soaking, steaming and other sometimes complex extraction processes for the production of simple medicines. With the discovery of improved distillation processes for the production of pure alcohol, wine has been largely replaced in medicine since modern times at the latest .

Jewish and Christian religion

Last Supper scene : Wine is also a religious symbol of salvation. The Christianity , the development and spread of viticulture and particularly promoted culture and embossed.
Bridal office with the donation of communion
Kiddush mug for kiddush on Shabbat and on holidays

Wine has a messianic meaning in the Jewish and Christian religions. The traditional cross of the Georgian Orthodox Church dates back to the 4th century and is presented in the form of a vine ( vine cross ).

The Bible - where Noah is considered the first winemaker - makes rich symbolic use of wine. In the Book of Psalms , wine is used for the joy of life, in Solomon it is a medicine for those who suffer, but also an intoxicant to be consumed with caution. The people of Israel are compared to a vineyard ; Jesus describes the connection to his followers like that between vine and branch . The work of the Holy Spirit is compared to fermenting new wine. Wine can seduce and also - as a tumbler  - express divine anger.

The wine stands for the festival. He makes people feel the glory of creation.

In Christianity , wine is the element for the blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist . In addition to the use of mass wine, in the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages wine was also used as consecrated wine in a variety of ways as sacraments .

In the Jewish religion , kosher wine is one of the rituals of kiddush on Shabbat , Passover and wedding .

Art and cultural history

In European art and cultural history , wine represents a central complex of motifs and topics with different levels of meaning. The European culture of the festive table connects wine with the festive event as part of a representative social ritual .

The La Vigna International Library of Wine Culture has existed in Vicenza, Italy since 1981 .

Literature and poetry

Wine has always been celebrated in its own literary genre, the drinking songs, from antiquity to the present day. According to the Greek myth, the god Dionysus donated wine to people. He brought a bottle of wine with him to the house of the plant breeder Ikarios, whom he initiated into the viticulture. The Anacreontics is a literary movement, in which the wine, Dionysus and the celebrations are revered in lyrical form. Wine also appears in numerous stories, such as in the Greek heroic epic the Odyssey . Odysseus finds himself in the cave of the one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemus on his difficult journey home from Troy . The situation seems hopeless, but Odysseus offers the giant wine that he had stolen from the Kikonen . Polyphemus sinks into the wine frenzy, is blinded and Odysseus and his companions can save themselves.

In the Old Testament there is a lot of evidence of viticulture and wine consumption. God himself gave people the vine after the flood and Noah worked as a winemaker.

Even in the carefully adjusted fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm , Little Red Riding Hood , for example, brings his grandmother “cake and wine”, if not as medicine, at least as refreshment. In modern times, poets like Friedrich Hölderlin praise wine as a gift from the heavenly in his elegy “Bread and Wine”.

According to some studies, wine, like other alcoholic beverages with a low alcohol content, is said to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system when consumed in small quantities; however, this is controversial. According to some studies, the positive effects attributed to wine also apply to grape juice.

Wine culture

Wine is one of the oldest cultural assets of mankind. Both the art of winemaking and the culture of wine enjoyment have been continuously developed over thousands of years. The wine culture is cultivated both at public festivals and in private wine tastings and is also the purpose of associations among wine connoisseurs. In Germany, artists' creative engagement with wine as a cultural asset is recognized in the award of the German Wine Culture Prize.

Wine festivals

Wine festivals often have the character of a folk festival. They are celebrated in all wine-growing regions of Europe (and increasingly also outside of them) and often last for several days. It is not uncommon for them to arise from local or regional festivals, for example parish celebrations . Mainly they are celebrated in late summer or autumn. In Switzerland they are often of national importance.

The largest wine festival in the world is the Dürkheim sausage market in Bad Dürkheim with over 600,000 visitors .

Wine fraternities and wine conventions

In many countries, wine lovers and connoisseurs have come together to form associations in order to cultivate wine enjoyment together. In the German-speaking area, these clubs are usually called wine brotherhoods or wine conventions. Some of them look back on centuries of tradition.

The origins lie in pagan fertility rites that were later assimilated and changed by the Christian brotherhoods. Mostly this was also connected with the worship of patron saints . Whereas in the past only men were allowed, the associations are now increasingly open to women as well. While in earlier times the members indulged in conviviality over a glass of wine in the tradition of the Greek symposia , today they also organize public, cultural and professional wine events. Today, wine fraternities cultivate and preserve both the culture and history of wine and knowledge of wine. This often includes remembering historical gems of wine evaluation such as the Tastevin .


Choice of vineyards

Geological factors (soil type)

In Italy, vines were still cultivated in archaic tree training in the 18th century. Painting by Jacob Philipp Hackert , 1784

The structure and texture of the soil largely determine the style of the wine. Calcareous soils result in wines with finesse and good aging potential. Loamy soils stand for powerful wines and sandy and gravelly soils encourage the berries to ripen earlier. The decisive factor is the thickness of the respective soil layer and a balanced moisture balance - in areas with little rainfall, the ability to store existing moisture is crucial, and good drainage is of great importance when there is high rainfall .

In the course of the viticulture past, ideal pairings between soil type and grape variety have emerged within the individual wine-growing regions. The Riesling thrives on the slate soils of the Moselle , the red Merlot shows its size on the loamy and calcareous soils of Saint-Émilion and the Cabernet Sauvignon needs the gravelly soils of the Médoc to be fully ripe .

The vine only produces good quality if the soil is poor or not too fertile. It is the winemaker's job to add only as much fertilizer to the soil as is taken from the plant. Otherwise, yields increase at the expense of quality.

Climate, hydrology (soil moisture), terrain shape and other factors

In addition to the type of soil, the location factors also include the existing microflora, which is influenced by temperature , humidity and light (→ microclimate ).

In wine-growing areas with a cool wine-growing climate ( wine-growing zones A and B), the orientation of the vineyard to the sun and the proximity to heat-storing water (rivers or lakes) play a key role. This can be observed particularly in the German wine-growing regions of Ahr , Mosel , Nahe and Rheingau and explains the great role of the individual vineyard in the German wine law .

Grape varieties

Over the millennia, thousands of grape varieties have developed through natural crossing and subsequent selection, or through targeted crossing of one or more varieties by humans. The different varieties enable the production of differentiated wine qualities, especially if they are well suited for a location.

Out of a total of over 20,000 grape varieties known worldwide, only about 1000 varieties are permitted in the context of the official lists for viticulture.

In every wine-growing region in the EU, there is a list of the grape varieties legally permitted for viticulture . The list of authorized varieties for the production of country wines or table wines (in the EU only referred to as "wine" by law) is extensive and also includes mass carriers . The list of varieties for the production of quality wine is smaller. When defining protected designations of origin , the selection of grape varieties within the EU was severely restricted.

In numerous wine-growing regions, wines are made single-variety. In individual wine regions such as Bordeaux , Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Chianti , however, a tradition of blending different varieties has historically developed.

Maintenance work in the vineyard

A vineyard requires a number of care measures such as pruning, upbringing, foliage work, grape thinning, soil care and organic humus fertilization and mineral fertilization (mineral commercial fertilizers) adapted to the vine (and soil). Targeted plant protection measures are necessary to protect against disease and pests.

Grape harvest

The grapes picked in butter are sorted on the trolley and brought to the cellar for further processing with the transport containers standing next to it
Manual reading
Machine reading

When picking grapes , the winemaker can usually choose between manual and mechanical processing. Vintners with very small plots or steep slopes have no choice. Here the vintner only has the manual picking.

Manual harvesting is the first choice if you want to bring in the grapes as undamaged as possible: If the grapes are healthy, undamaged, the required sulphurisation of the wine can be greatly reduced. Manual reading is also required if a readout is to take place during the reading process. In the case of noble rotten berries, berries that have already been infected can be collected individually and in several passes in sufficient quantities and in the best quality. Another motivation for manual labor is to harvest berries with stems and stems. A certain proportion of stems is pressed more gently, as the stalks loosen up the resulting berry pulp, and the tannin present in the stems can be beneficial to the wine. The advantage of careful hand-picking is negated if the harvested grapes are exposed to mechanical pressure in the harvesting containers. In this case, berries are crushed and the juice that comes out can ferment.

Using the fruit harvester is usually an economic decision. In the European high-wage countries , the cost of the harvest can be halved to thirds or become imposed if there are not enough harvest workers available. A qualitative advantage of the mechanical harvest is that the grapes can be brought in within a very short time and promptly at the optimal time of ripening. Not to be underestimated is the advantage of the harvester to harvest the grapes at night or in the early morning hours at very cool temperatures: This prevents the loss of aromatic substances and a slower start of fermentation due to a cooler must temperature.

The disadvantage is that not every grape variety is equally suitable for harvesting with the machine. While varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are very suitable, the Pinot Noir can only be harvested with a loss of quality. A machine harvest also requires special precautions in the wine cellar. Due to the high harvesting capacity of the machines, large quantities of grapes are delivered in very short periods of time. In order to produce quality wine, however, it is important that there should be little time between harvest and pressing (in the case of white wine) or maceration (in the case of red wine). The infrastructure in the cellar must therefore reflect the high harvest performance.

In some wine-growing regions such as Beaujolais , Champagne and among the members of Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus in the Wachau , mechanical harvesting is prohibited. In Germany, hand-picking is compulsory for the member companies of the Association of German Predicate and Quality Wineries from the Auslese rating .

After the harvest, the grapes are sifted on sorting tables. Leaves and unripe or rotten berries can be removed. In the case of berries for the production of red wines, in particular, rotten berries must be rigorously discarded, as the Botrytis cinerea mold has a negative impact on taste and color. With a machine reading, the effort on the sorting table is less, since the majority of the leaves are removed by fans in the harvester. Rotten berries usually fall off too early when the vines are shaken ; Unripe or dried berries do not fall from the cane with a well-adjusted machine.



Every wine has the following basic components:

Acid and sugar
They are found in the juice of the grape. The sugar is converted into alcohol during fermentation. Some of this can be retained as residual sugar - a large amount of residual sugar results in sweet wine, and a small amount in dry wine. In the case of wines from wine-growing zones A and B, sugar may be added before fermentation. Acid as a component of all fruits, on the other hand, is necessary to make the wine fresh and flavorful.
Phenols (dyes) and tannins (tannins)
The phenols in wine comprise a group of several hundred chemical substances from the group of polyphenols . The phenols essentially influence the color , smell , taste and texture of the wine. You are responsible for the difference between white and red wine . Tannins are found in the skin, stems and seeds of the grape. They cause the bitter taste and can leave a furry, astringent feeling in the mouth. However, the right amount can vastly improve the texture and taste of a wine.
Tannins and acid also have the positive property of having a preservative effect. Wines with a high proportion of one or both substances often last for many years in the bottle. White wine, on the other hand, has no significant tannin content.
The alcohol content is an important quality criterion and an important carrier of the wine aromas, it softens the acids and intensifies the taste.
Wine contains different alcohols :
Ethanol : In addition to water, ethanol ( ethyl alcohol ) is the main component. Wine generally contains between 9 and 13 percent alcohol by volume (that is 72–104 g / l). The alcohol content is determined with the help of an oenometer . Wines cannot achieve an alcohol content of more than 16.5 percent by volume through natural fermentation, since the yeasts die offdue to the increased amount of the cytotoxic alcohol.
Methanol : In addition to ethanol, the enzymatic breakdown of pectin also produces methanol. The natural methanol content is low and lies between 17 and 100 mg / l for white wine and between 60 and 230 mg / l for red wine. The difference results from the different contact times with the mash. Methanol is toxic and has an acute, but not a chronic, toxic effect.
Higher alcohols : These are only contained in relatively small quantities (150–700 mg / l). Some of them have distinctive smell and taste properties and play an important role in the aroma of the wine. The higher alcohols are grouped under the term “ fusel oils ”. Glycerine is an exception : it gives the wine full-bodiedness.
According to current knowledge, the wine aroma is composed of almost 1000 different components, which are present in a total concentration of around 1 g / liter. The taste-forming substances in wine are primarily dependent on the grape variety. The location factors (also known as terroir ) influence the aroma formation in the berries during the ripening phase. Other aromas are only formed through the processing of the berries, fermentation, aging and storage of the finished wine.
The majority of the substances, mostly bound glycosidically to carbohydrates, are already in the must as odorless precursors. During fermentation, the glycosides are partially split and the volatile aromatic substances are released. So z. B. 2-phenylethanol , nerol , geraniol or linalool from the corresponding glucoside or rutinoside by splitting off the sugar residues. From the released terpene alcohols, other compounds that are important for the aroma can form in the wine, e.g. B. by cyclizing linalool pyran or furan linalool oxide. On the other hand, free alcohols are partially converted into esters and thus formed by new aromatic carriers. The individual wines differ greatly in the quantitative relationships in which individual aromatic substances are present to one another. It is Z. B. known that terpene alcohols and their esters are increasingly found in wines of the Muscat type , while z. B. in most Riesling wines simple esters, z. B. ethyl , butyl , hexyl , hexanoic acid , ethyl octanoate , aldehydes and alcohols in higher concentrations, as well as phenols ( 4-vinylguaiacol , 4-ethylguaiacol ) occur. For Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon blanc wines a content of the flavor-active substance is 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine characteristic (Odor threshold 2 ng / l). Other important aromatic carriers are norisoprenoids , such as vitispirane and β-damascenone . Vitispirans are created from carotenoids present in the grape through oxidative degradation. For the most part, oak barrels are responsible for the vanillin notes. When the wine is stored in bottles, 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene is reductively
formed in proportion to the length of storage .


The largest proportion of white and red wine grapes is processed into wine (and other products made from it). Physiologically ripe grapes are used in winemaking.

General overview of winemaking:

In white wine production , the grapes are pressed, then the juice ( grape must ) is fermented into white wine :

In red wine production , the mash is fermented into red wine :


Wooden vats (French:
cuves ) are traditional fermentation tanks in red wine production
Modern fermentation cellar with steel tanks

The net reaction equation is as follows:

In words: glucose + 2 adenosine diphosphate + 2 phosphate results in 2 ethanol + 2 carbon dioxide + 2 adenosine triphosphate

There is a large number of yeasts (so-called “wild yeasts”) on the skin of the ripe berries : it would be uncertain which yeast would prevail in the wine preparation. The quality and the end result would therefore also be uncertain to a certain extent. The proportion of desired yeasts is influenced by the cultures present in a well-maintained wine cellar of the winemaker. The cellar flora can intervene in the fermentation process via the wine press (in the case of white wine) or by pumping the still fermenting wine over the cap (in the case of red wine).

In order not to give chance to chance, the pure yeast was developed . Yeast batches of the breeds “Zeltingen”, “Scharlachberg”, “Geisenheim” or “Burgund” can already be read in old wine books.

The various yeast strains available today were, on the one hand, bred for one area of ​​application and, on the other hand, are free from contamination such as bacteria or mold. Since the mid-1980s, there have been cultured yeasts in granulate form that are fluidized-bed-dried . The change in quality in German and international viticulture is partly due to the use of these yeasts. By forming secondary by-products such as esters , the yeast influences the aromas of the wine in its very young stage. However, these aromas can only be stored to a limited extent and disintegrate quickly. The actual bouquet and aromas of the wine develop later. The fermentation bouquet becomes a young wine bouquet, which largely corresponds to the respective bouquet of varieties.

In wineries that specialize in wines with a complex structure, so-called spontaneous fermentation by wild yeast strains may be desirable. In practice, spontaneous fermentation means that fermentation takes place without the addition of pure yeast. The aim is to achieve the diversity of a non-standardized wine taste that can be restricted by pure yeasts. With non-directional or less directional yeasts, a greater range of flavors and characteristics can be achieved, as more yeast strains are involved in fermentation. However, the risk for the manufacturer is often higher here, as fermentation can proceed in a direction that is undesirable for humans (for example, high content of residual sugar or volatile acid ).

Alcoholic fermentation creates heat . Yeasts work in a narrow temperature range between 12 and 37 ° C. In the past, people relied on the autumn climate conditions being warm enough to get the fermentation process going, but at the same time so cool that the temperature in the fermentation vat did not rise above the values ​​of the temperature range. Attempts were made to regulate the temperature by ventilating the cellar well or by spraying the outer wall of the tub with water.

The temperature control was only possible through the use of stainless steel tanks or through the use of heat exchangers . Pumping through a heat exchanger enables fermentation tanks made of wood or concrete to be used. The temperature of the stainless steel container can be regulated by a cooling coil inside the outer wall, so that the fermenting must is treated more gently due to the lower pumping activity.

The amount of alcohol produced in the wine depends on the sugar content of the must (see must weight ) and thus on the state of ripeness of the berries. In areas with a cool wine-growing climate, grapes that are not fully ripe can be harvested in poor vintages. In order to still produce a wine with a sufficiently high alcohol content, sugar can be added to the must. This widespread practice is called chaptalization after one of its chief advocates . Either dry sugar, unfermented grape juice with a high sugar content, the so-called sweet reserve , or, more recently, rectified grape must concentrate are added to the must. The use of this practice as well as the maximum permissible alcohol increase is regulated by the respective national wine legislation.

Fortification with sugar was originally a method of saving weaker vintages, but it has become a common method. Fortified wines taste more pleasant and richer, as alcohol is an excellent carrier of aromas. The trend towards alcohol-rich wines that can be observed cannot only be explained by global warming . This trend is impressively demonstrated by the example of the great Bordeaux wines . The wines that were classified as one of the leading goods in the classification of 1855 would, from today's perspective, be light wines with an alcohol content of 11 to 11.5 percent. Today the values ​​are at least two percentage points higher. The previous rule of thumb that a wine with 12 percent alcohol belongs to the medium-heavy wine category no longer applies in this form.

Basket press, 16th century; the technology is (modified) partly still widespread today
Modern horizontal tank press for gentle pressing of the mash

White wine

Berries for the production of white wine should remain as undamaged as possible from harvest to destemping . If the skin of the berries is damaged, unwanted must fermentation begins on a practically small scale . The must takes on the color and aroma of the berry skin and the wine also tends to oxidize, which is why white wines are usually processed, fermented and matured in a reductive state as far as possible .

The berries should be processed as quickly as possible after the harvest. To avoid damage, the grapes are transported in the smallest possible boxes. Otherwise the berries below would be crushed prematurely if the quantities of grapes are too large. In warm areas, harvesting during the night or in the early morning hours is also good for quality. With grape varieties that tend to oxidize quickly, the boxes can be transported from the vineyard to the wine cellar and pressed in an inert gas atmosphere .

Sometimes the grapes are pressed completely with the stems, but mostly the grapes are freed from the stems ( destemming ), as a large part of the less desirable tannins in white wine is contained there. The pulp should remain cool during pressing so that fermentation does not start too early. Modern wineries therefore have cooling chambers in the press area. On the one hand, the presses should allow the highest possible yield of white wine, but not crush the bitter stones.

In some years, brief contact with the peel during fermentation can be helpful in giving the wine a little more extract. In this case, however, the contact is limited to a few hours.

red wine

High quality red wine is also matured in
barriques .

Since the red pigment is only in the skin of the berries, the grapes are not pressed for the red wine , but only completely or partially destemmed and crushed. During fermentation, the skins, seeds and stalks remain in the must. The phenols and tannins dissolve from the skins and increasingly color the must. In order for the color and tannin yield to be sufficiently high, the cap must be mixed with the must on a regular basis. The pomace hat is created by the fact that the solid components of the mash are pressed to the surface by the carbonic acid produced during fermentation. The mixing can be done by pumping must located at the bottom of the fermentation vessel over the hat. Alternatively, the cap can also be submerged over bars or long spoons. Manual immersion is called pigeage in French .

Simple red wines are made from a short maceration period of 2 to 3 days. This time can be up to 4 weeks for first-class wines. The standing time is limited by the duration of fermentation. A maceration time beyond the duration of fermentation usually has a negative effect.

The fermentation time and thus the mashing time can be influenced by temperature control. With a cool fermentation, the fruit aroma and the fineness of a wine can be better worked out. Fermentation at a higher temperature favors the depth of the color and the intensity of the taste.

Various methods have been developed to concentrate taste and aroma. With the Saignée method, after a few hours or a few days, a small proportion of 10 to 20 percent of the must is removed and processed further into rosé wine . The remaining must portion benefits from a comparatively high proportion of skins. Another method, reverse osmosis, can be used to remove water from the must.

After fermentation, the must is drained, sulphurised and further expanding in various containers, barrels or barrels expanded . The pomace is juiced by pressing. In certain wine-growing areas, the amount achieved by pressing, the so-called pouring, is limited.

Sparkling wine

The pearls of the sparkling wine are the result of a second fermentation. Good sparkling wine quality is characterized by fine-pored, persistent pearls.

The basis for the production of sparkling wine is a base wine with a certain residual sugar content, which is subjected to a second alcoholic fermentation. For this purpose, higher-fermenting yeast strains ( Saccharomyces bayanus ) are added to the base wine , which are also known as post-fermentation, sparkling wine or champagne yeast . During the second fermentation, the alcohol content of the base wine is increased. In addition, carbon dioxide is formed , which remains in the liquid.

Sparkling wine can be made using several methods. From a historical and qualitative point of view, bottle fermentation is the classic process. This process is mandatory for the production of Champagne , Crémant , Prosecco and Cava . In Germany, too, high-quality sparkling wines such as sparkling wine are increasingly produced using the so-called champagne method. During bottle fermentation, about 24 g / l sugar and wine yeast (filling dosage) are added to already fermented base wine . The second alcoholic fermentation that takes place in the bottle creates alcohol and carbon dioxide. The closed bottle keeps the carbon dioxide (around 12 g / l) in solution, which results in 6 to 8 bar CO 2 pressure at 20 ° C in the wine when fermentation is complete . The second fermentation also gives the wine around 1.3 percent alcohol by volume, which is why light base wines are preferred.

In addition to carbon dioxide, a deposit of dead yeast is created during bottle fermentation. In contact with this yeast storage, the sparkling wine gains in quality and finesse. The time it remains on the yeast during ripening is a quality factor. To remove the depot, the bottles are subjected to a mechanical clarification process, the remuage (German: shaking). For the process of shaking, the bottles are relocated to shaking racks or shaking panels (French: pupitres ). The bottles are shaken and turned slightly in these racks every day. In addition, you slowly change the inclination of the bottle until it is almost vertical on the bottle head over the course of several weeks. In this manual activity, the yeast deposit sinks into the neck of the bottle. The mechanical shaking is done using a gyro pallet. The entire pallet is vibrated, tilted and rotated under program control. The shaking serves only the optical clarity of the sparkling wine, its shelf life or taste quality are not affected.

When removing the depot, the disgorgement (French: dégorgement ), the bottle neck is immersed in a cooling liquid. As a result, the depot freezes into a plug, which is pressed out of the bottle by the carbon dioxide when the bottle is subsequently opened. The sparkling wine lost during this process is replenished by a shipping dose. The dosage consists of a mixture of wine and sugar. The composition and amount of the dosage determines the later taste of the sparkling wine, ranging from tart (French: brut ) to sweet (French: doux ). After dosing and setting the legally required filling quantity, the bottles are corked, agraffected, encapsulated, labeled and packed in shipping boxes. From this point on, the sparkling wine no longer gains in quality.

The technology of the transvasation process is similar in a first phase to classic bottle fermentation. After a short second fermentation in the bottle, the fermented sparkling wine is transferred to a pressure vessel. The setting of the flavor is done via the direct dosage into the tank. The sparkling wine from the pressure tank reaches the bottle via a filter system. This eliminates the time-consuming shaking and manual removal of the depot. As early as the 19th century, experiments were carried out with the decanting ( French: transvaser ) of the unbound (disgorged) sparkling wine into smaller vessels. The problem of the resulting pressure loss could only be solved with pressure tanks, pressure-stable filter systems and counter pressure fillers. The technical prerequisites for this were only available in the middle of the 20th century.

In large-scale fermentation (also known as the Charmat process or cuve close ), the second fermentation takes place in a pressure tank. Although the fermentation process is similar to that of bottle fermentation, the quality of the finished sparkling wines with the Charmat process does not quite come close to that of wines with classic bottle fermentation.

Fortified wine

The fortified wine family is large. Port wine , sherry , Marsala , Madeira , Commandaria , Mavrodaphne , Málaga , Moscatel de Setúbal or Vin Doux Naturel have one thing in common: by adding high-percentage alcohol, the alcoholic fermentation, which is usually not yet finished, is stopped.

In the past, wines were stabilized with alcohol in mainly warm wine-growing regions, as the wines often spoiled during transport due to a renewed onset of undesired fermentation. From a technical point of view, it is no longer necessary to spray wines, but rather belongs to the style of liqueur wine.

While alcohol is usually added during fermentation, the spraying of sherry serves to stabilize a condition after aging and blending.

Wine treatment and stabilization

Wines are - like food - (thermodynamically) unstable. Depending on the component of the wine under consideration, the instability manifests itself in its own way. For example, the alcohol in the wine can be broken down into acetic acid ( fermented ). This process requires acetic acid bacteria that are in the air. Such wines are also known as dead wines . They then taste sour, dull, like old raisins. You can suppress this process by protecting the wine from air. Therefore, during the reductive expansion of the wine, care is taken that every wine barrel and every wine tank is completely filled and securely closed so that as little air as possible can affect the wine. After the barrel wine has been bottled , the cork takes on this protective function. Once in contact with air, the wine should soon be consumed.

In addition to the spoilage of the wine, there are numerous other microorganisms that can negatively affect the shelf life of the wine. The stability of a wine depends on whether its ingredients have a stimulating or inhibiting effect on microorganisms: the higher the (natural) content of alcohol, tannic acid (tannins) and other acids ( tartaric acid , citric acid , malic acid and so on, but not acetic acid ), the worse it is for the microorganisms and the better it is for the wine. But this natural protection is not sufficient, at least for wines with an alcohol concentration of less than about 18 percent, so that they have to be additionally preserved.


Since ancient times, wine has been "sulphurized" for preservation by adding sulfur dioxide . This sulfur dose has a strong antimicrobial effect . For sulfurization, elemental sulfur (from sulfur blooms) was burned above the liquid of a wine barrel. Sulfur dioxide was formed in the process.

This sulfur dioxide partially dissolves in wine as sulphurous acid , but is always in equilibrium with free sulfur dioxide (so-called free sulfur).

The sulphurisation of mash, must or wine should

a) prevent oxidation, that is:
  • Protect wine ingredients that are sensitive to oxidation
  • Prevent enzymatic browning
  • prevent the development of an air, sherry or age tone
b) protect against microbial spoilage, that is:

The higher the content of free sulfur, the more stable the wine. The above equilibrium is shifted to the left by a higher acid content. This means that an acidic wine gets along with less sulfur dioxide than a low acid wine.

How much a wine needs to be sulphurized also depends on whether it is to be stored and also on the microbiological contamination itself. A wine made from grapes that were already severely rotten at the time of harvest is significantly stronger more burdened than a wine made from healthy grapes. If these wines are then transported over long distances and are exposed to even greater temperature fluctuations (for example in the case of container transports), the sulfur content must also reflect this.

Today, wines are normally sulphurized by adding gaseous sulfur dioxide from gas bottles or by adding salts of sulphurous acid, as this addition can be dosed much more precisely.

The aging of wine in oak barrels (French: "Barrique") helps to improve the shelf life.

Another way to increase shelf life is to filter before bottling. Yeasts and bacteria are largely filtered out without affecting the other ingredients of the wine. This not only interrupts the fermentation process, but also improves the shelf life.

Chemical processes are also used to preserve wines. Overseas wines in particular are treated with cold disinfectants (e.g. dimethyl bicarbonate ) before they are bottled . These kill all microorganisms in the sealed bottle and the dimethyl dicarbonate then breaks down into natural components of the wine.


Wine is sometimes adulterated . Because it was hardly identifiable in the past and nowadays only with high technical effort (and only if you are looking for it), for example, elderberry blossoms were often used to flavor white wine and its berries to deepen the color of red wine.

In 1985 the glycol wine scandal rocked the wine market. Austrian vintners had " adulterated" late harvest , Trockenbeerenauslese and ice wines with normally high residual sugar but low volume yields and high prices from cheap bulk wines by adding diethylene glycol , German bottlers blended and illegally refined their wines with these inexpensive sweet wines. Great demand for sweet wines at the lowest prices led to the expansion of this illegal practice, until a tax officer accidentally noticed that a winegrower needed excessive antifreeze (which can be seen in the accounts) .

In 1986 in Italy "huge amounts of cheap wine" were fortified with toxic methanol (the alcohol content increased). In 2000, 6 million bottles of Chianti wine (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin DOCG , which can be sold more expensive) were discovered, which had been produced with the addition of lower quality wine from southern Italy. In 2001 it became known that every second bottle of Romanian wine was adulterated for the domestic market. In 2002 French wines intended for export to Belgium were stretched with cheaper wine.

Quality levels in Germany

The quality of a wine defined by wine law is measured according to how it is assessed in the official quality wine test .

The Latin terms color (color), odor (smell) and sapor (taste) are also used in sensory testing of wine . The grape variety, the vineyard area and the proportions of the ingredients, namely the must weight, have an influence on the sensory properties . Other quality-determining factors are the amount harvested, the treatment of the grapes during harvest, the extraction of the must during the pressing , the fermentation and aging of the wine.

The quality defined by wine law is reflected in the quality levels specified in national law . In Germany, quality wines and predicate wines must successfully pass the sensory and analytical test of the official quality wine test in order to be designated as such. Successful passing of the official quality wine test is documented by the official test number (AP number), which is assigned to each quality and predicate wine according to the German Wine Act . It must be declared as mandatory information on the label . Upscale quality wines can receive one of the following predicates as a predicate wine, depending mainly on the must weight:

The quality level determines, on the one hand, the cost of the producer and, on the other hand, the price of the wine that can be achieved on the market.

Storage of the wine bottles

Despite the tendency of wine producers to produce wines that are ready to drink as early as possible, numerous traditionally produced quality wines get a better taste note through post-maturation during bottle storage. Bulk goods and small-priced branded wines do not improve through storage, as they are bottled ready to drink. Many Bordeaux wines of the Cru Bourgeois class also gain character during bottle storage of five to eight years. Only very high-quality plants only reach their optimal point of development after 15 to 20 years.

The ideal storage place for wine is a light-protected, cool room without major temperature fluctuations and free from vibrations. Bottles with natural corks should be stored horizontally so that the cork is kept moist. The only exception to this is Madeira wine , which should be stored upright.


Even today, Madeira or Port wine is still without a label, as it could be damaged during long storage

The optimal storage temperature of 10 to 13 ° C is rarely maintained and mostly exceeded. The higher value in relation to the optimal temperature (typically 13 to 15 ° C) causes the wines to mature a little faster and can be desired if you want very young wines with great storage potential, such as Grand Cru wines from Bordeaux or vintage port wines wants to drink with pleasure within 12 to 15 years. The gastronomy uses this effect in order not to have to store the wines for too long.

The optimal conditions are only essential for old and very old plants.

Temperature fluctuations

More problematic than the absolute storage temperature are temperature fluctuations that have a negative effect on the quality of the wine: The storage room should have a temperature that is as constant as possible. Changes in the volume of the wine in the bottle occur due to temperature fluctuations, so that there is increased gas exchange via the cork. The more often bottles are exposed to such fluctuations, the more oxygen is available to oxidize the wine and lead to accelerated aging.

The many years of experience of the wine producers, however, show that seasonal fluctuations of 5 degrees are quite acceptable and hardly have any negative effects on the wine.


If wine bottles are closed with natural corks, the humidity at the storage location should be at least 60 percent so that the cork does not dry out. In the past, excessive humidity could cause the label to mold or peel off. This is the reason why vintage port wines and corresponding Madeira wines are not labeled . The relevant information is printed directly on the glass of the bottle. In addition, top wineries mark the cork with the vintage and the name of the winery.


Classic wine tasting: numerous glasses, white bread, water and a small menu are included
Annual wine consumption in liters per person:
  • under 1
  • 1 to 7
  • 7 to 15
  • 15 to 30
  • over 30
  • Wine is enjoyed from wine glasses , of which there are special shapes and sizes depending on the type of wine. The different glass shapes serve two purposes: Firstly, the overall shape of a glass should support the development of the aromas absorbed by the nose. Secondly, the type and arrangement of the mouth should influence the posture of the head when drinking and control the perception of the tongue (glasses for sweet wines, for example, due to their shape, require an attitude that ensures that the taste perception is "sweet" in the background when drinking occurs in order to enable the drinker to capture the remaining aromas).

    While white wines are served chilled (8 to 12 ° C), red wines are drunk at 14 to 18 ° C. Wine coolers are usually used for cooling at the table, vase-like containers that work either through insulation, ice or through evaporative cooling (porous, soaked terracotta containers or a damp cloth placed around the bottle).

    In upscale gastronomy, it is customary to first open wine bottles at the table and let the guest taste it first. A particularly old red wine, in which ingredients such as cream of tartar are crystallized, is first an expert from the bottle into a carafe decant, where he him decanted . When pouring slowly over the edge of the bottle neck, any residue, the depot , remains in the bottle. Then the red wine is allowed to “breathe” for a longer period of time, that is, the contents are given the opportunity to form compounds with the oxygen in the air . In the case of very old wines, caution is advised, since oxidation caused by atmospheric oxygen for too long can lead to spoilage. In 2006, the Institut national de la recherche agronomique in Paris published a study according to which excessive oxidation can be prevented by adding a pinch of common table salt.

    Economical meaning

    Change in the per capita consumption of wine in some countries 1992–2004

    According to initial estimates by the “ International Organization for Vine and Wine (OIV)”, 259.5 million hectoliters of wine were produced worldwide on 7,528,000 hectares (2012) of cultivation area. The three largest producers were Italy (48.8 million hectoliters), France (41.9 million hectoliters) and Spain (37.8 million hectoliters).

    Wine-growing area and production volume of the largest wine-producing countries and their global share in% of the total area in 2012

    Producer country Acreage in ha proportion of Production in 1000 hl proportion of
    France 800,000 16.21% 41,422 16.44%
    Italy 769,000 15.58% 40,060 15.90%
    Spain 1,018,000 20.63% 30,392 12.06%
    United States 407,000 8.25% 20,510 8.14%
    China 570,000 11.55% 14,880 5.90%
    Australia 169,000 3.42% 12,660 5.02%
    Chile 205,000 3.42% 12,554 4.98%
    Argentina 221,000 4.48% 11,778 4.67%
    South Africa 131,000 2.65% 10,037 3.98%
    Germany 102,000 1.29% 9.012 3.58%
    Portugal 239,000 4.84% 6.141 2.44%
    Romania 205,000 4.15% 3,311 1.31%
    Greece 110,000 2.23% 3,150 1.25%
    Brazil 91,000 1.84% 2,917 1.16%
    total 7,528,000 252,000

    Germany is a net importer of wine. In Germany, more than twice as much is drunk as the winemakers in this country harvest. Europe accounts for a little more than half of the world's wine production. Germany ranks around in 20th place, far behind China, Russia and the United States.

    In the early 1980s, around a quarter more was produced than today. During the financial crisis in 2008 and the economic crisis in 2009, there was an economic slump. Around a fifth of German wine is exported.

    Global wine production developed between 2000 and 2017 as follows (in million hectoliters ): 2000: 279, 2001: 266, 2002: 257, 2003: 254, 2004: 298, 2005: 278, 2006: 283, 2007: 268, 2008 : 269, 2009: k. A., 2010: 264, 2011: 268, 2012: 258, 2013: 290, 2014: 270, 2015: 277, 2016: 273, 2017: 251 (provisional).

    Training opportunities for viticulture and cellar management

    The training in the occupational fields of viticulture and cellar management can take place in the listed German-speaking countries in agricultural technical schools (viticulture schools), technical secondary schools, technical colleges and universities.


    Monument to Eduard von Lade (from left) and main building of the Geisenheim Research Station (right)
    The state teaching and research institute for viticulture and fruit growing Weinsberg in Weinsberg; on the right the old building, in the middle of the picture the wine press from 2002
    • Apprenticeship in viticulture at the Rheinpfalz service center , Mußbach - Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
    • DLR - Service Center for Rural Areas, offices: Bad Kreuznach, Oppenheim.
    • University of Applied Sciences - Viticulture
    • German Wine Academy


    • Viticulture department at the University of Wädenswil
    • Changins University of Applied Sciences specializing in oenology


    University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Mendel House, 2016
    Lower Austria
    Viticulture School Krems



    Wine professions

    Alcoholism and Health Hazard

    Excessive consumption of wine can lead to physical and psychological dependence , as well as conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver , inflammation of the pancreas , stomach cancer , esophageal cancer and nervous disorders; Regular consumption of even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer .

    Alcohol-free wine

    Alcohol-free wine is an alternative to traditional wine with alcohol. Despite the designation non-alcoholic, it is unsuitable for people who want or have to forego alcohol due to health issues, as it can still contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume.

    Alcohol-free wine is mainly made using vacuum distillation . At low temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius, the alcohol is removed from the wine under reduced pressure.

    The production of alcohol-free wine is regulated by law in Germany. Section 47 of the Wine Ordinance explicitly regulates the provisions for alcohol-free wine. According to this, alcohol-free wines must be made from wine by removing alcohol. The prerequisite for the designation non-alcoholic is an alcohol content of less than 0.5 percent by volume.

    See also


    • Mondovino. Documentary, 135 min., USA, France 2004, director: Jonathan Nossiter. (Critical documentary about the globalization processes in the wine world.)




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    • Hubert Canik, Helmuth Schneider: The new Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity. Volume 12/2, Ven-Z. Verlag J. B. Metzler, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-476-01487-8 .
    • Daniel Deckers : Under the sign of the grape eagle: A history of German wine. von Zabern, Mainz 2010, ISBN 978-3-8053-4248-3 .
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    • Roderick Phillips: The Great History of Wine. Campus, Frankfurt and New York 2003, ISBN 3-593-37390-4 .
    • Michael Matheus (Hrsg.): Viticulture between the Meuse and the Rhine in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Trier Historical Research 23, Mainz 1997.
    • Michael Matheus (ed.): Wine production and wine consumption in the Middle Ages. Historical regional studies 51, Stuttgart 2004.
    • Michael Matheus: Historical dimensions of viticulture. In: M. Besse, W. Haubrichs , R. Puhl (eds.): From wine to dictionary - a specialist dictionary in progress. Contributions to the International Colloquium at the Institute for Palatinate History and Folklore in Kaiserslautern, 8./9. March 2002 (Academy of Sciences and Literature, treatises of the humanities and social science class, individual publications No. 10). Stuttgart 2004, pp. 237-273.
    • M. Matheus, L. Clemens: Wine forgery in the Middle Ages and at the beginning of the early modern period. In: H.-G. Borck (Ed.): Injustice and Law. Crime and society in transition from 1500 to 2000. Publication by the Landesarchivverwaltung Rheinland-Pfalz 98, Koblenz 2002, pp. 570–581.
    • M. Matheus, R. Matheus: "The older the Rhine wine gets, the more firne it gets, whichever the connoisseur likes most!" Observations on the change in taste in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period. In: Mainzer Zeitschrift , 96/97 (2001/2002) (Festschrift F. Schütz), pp. 73–85. Mainz in the Gutenberg period. In: Gutenberg 2000 (Rhein Main Presse), Mainz 2000, p. 9.

    Cellar management / oenology


    Web links

    Portal: Wine  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of wine
    Commons : Wine  album with pictures, videos and audio files
    Commons : Wine  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wikiquote: Wine  Quotes
    Wiktionary: Wine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wikisource: Wine  - Sources and Full Texts

    Individual evidence

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    2. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th ed., Ed. by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 848.
    3. See also Eero Alanne: The advance of Roman or Romanesque wine-growing terminology in the North and Baltic Sea regions. In: Gundolf Keil, Rainer Rudolf, Wolfram Schmitt, Hans J. Vermeer (eds.): Specialist literature of the Middle Ages. Festschrift for Gerhard Eis. Metzler, Stuttgart 1968, pp. 167-176.
    4. Alois Walde : Latin etymological dictionary. 3rd edition obtained from Johann Baptist Hofmann , I – III, Heidelberg 1938–1965, Volume 2, p. 794 f.
    5. ^ Professor unearths 8,000-year-old wine , Independent , December 28, 2003 with a quote from the Independent in German: Georgia: The oldest wine country in the world
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    7. Georgia's Giant Clay Pots Hold An 8,000-Year-Old Secret To Great Wine , NPR , June 1, 2015
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    21. Homer, Odyssey 9, 195-215; 9, 344-361
    22. Homer, Odyssey 9, 370-541
    23. ^ A b "Alcohol: Beer, Wine and Schnapps are Risk Factors for Cancer" Cancer Information Service of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg. May 20, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2014
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    31. ^ Richard Meißner : The cooper's wine book . 2nd Edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1921.
    32. Julius Wortmann : Use and effects of pure yeast in winemaking. Parey, Berlin 1895.
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    41. WDR service time ( Memento from July 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
    42. a b c d e Reinhardt Hess: Wine Basics. ISBN 978-3-833-83525-4 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
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    44. Source: OIV 2004.
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    46. situation of the global wine sector in 2012. ( Memento of 5 December 2013 Internet Archive ) In: OIV report. Retrieved July 3, 2013, unavailable February 6, 2017.
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    49. ^ LVWO Weinsberg State teaching and research institute for viticulture and fruit growing Weinsberg
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    51. ^ DLR - Service Center for Rural Areas, offices: Bad Kreuznach, Oppenheim. ( Memento from February 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
    52. Ludwigshafen am Rhein University of Applied Sciences ( Memento from May 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    54. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
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    56. ^ Bundeslehranstalt Klosterneuburg ( Memento from April 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
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    64. ^ "Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer" ,, March 1998
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