Viticulture in Germany

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Viticulture in the Moselle valley near Zell . The typical combination of steep slopes and proximity to the water can be seen.
Large-scale viticulture on Rhine-Hessian hills, here in the municipality of Stadecken-Elsheim near Mainz

The term German wine stands for wine that is produced in Germany . The production and marketing of wine in Germany are regulated by European and German wine law .

Importance and scope

"Rhine viticulture map for the Coblenz - Bonn route, including the Ahr Valley", 1904

Around 80,000 winegrowers grow wine on around 102,000  hectares (as of 2012) and harvest an average of 9.25 million hectoliters per year over a ten-year period . The average yield is a very high 90-100 hectoliters / hectare. 3.9 million hectoliters were exported , especially to the USA (257,000 hl), the Netherlands (217,000 hl) and Great Britain (173,000 hl).

The largest growing area is Rheinhessen with 26,516 hectares , followed by the Palatinate with 23,489 hectares and Baden with 15,815 hectares (as of 2012). Rheinhessen and Pfalz belong to Rhineland-Palatinate , the state with the most wine-growing areas and two thirds of the German cultivation area.

A large part of the German vineyards is located near or south of the 50th parallel . Viticulture of this breadth is unusual in an international comparison and only possible due to a corresponding meso and microclimate . The vineyards are mostly located in particularly sheltered places near the river and are sloping to steep to the south or west and optimally aligned for exposure to sunlight. The soils, which are inclined towards the sun, store heat energy during the day, which they release long after sunset, so that early night frosts are avoided. The steep valley slopes also ensure that cold air can drain off quickly. The northern location of German wine-growing regions continues to lead to considerable efforts in the cultivation of early ripening and winter frost-hardy grape varieties .

Landau in the Palatinate and Neustadt an der Weinstrasse vie for the title of the largest wine-growing community in Germany every year. The German Wine Queen has been elected annually in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse since 1949 . Generally valid information on viticulture - beyond Germany - contains the article viticulture . The German Wine Museum with a lot of additional information is located in Oppenheim .

Outline of the locations

In Germany, the locations are divided into four levels according to size:

The division does not form a strictly hierarchical specification. Not all individual layers have to belong to large layers, there are also individual layers without large layers . A large location can also belong to two different areas or e.g. B. an area consist of only one large layer and several single layers without large layers. The size of the individual steps can also be very different and also changed. So was z. B. the number of areas in Swiss francs increased from three to twelve, which means that the areas are correspondingly significantly reduced and in some cases are only about the size of large locations.

In the case of large communities , the individual location bears the name of the formerly independent district and not the name of the large community; so z. B. Escherndorfer Lump , instead of Volkacher Lump .

History of viticulture in Germany

Celtic silver coin from the Dünsberg , so-called dancing man. The monetary system was taken over by the Greeks and Romans.

The Celts already drank their own wine. Possibly they pressed and fermented fruits of wild vines , which were widespread in the Moselle area as early as the Neolithic . Whether they mastered their cultivation and refinement into grapes has only been proven archaeobotanically for the later Gallo-Roman period. According to archaeological evidence, they imported wine in amphorae well into the times of Roman rule . As a result of the submission of Gaul during the Gallic War by Gaius Iulius Caesar , viticulture with the Roman legions reached the Rhone Valley as far as the Moselle and the Rhine. The elite and wealthy strata of the Roman colonizers preferred wines from the southern provinces of the empire. To protect this trade, in 92 AD, Emperor Domitian (81–96) restricted viticulture in the Gallic provinces by ordinance. Emperor Probus (232–282) allowed the cultivation again around 278 AD because the need for wine increased with the spread of Roman civilization and the stationing of large armies.

Caesar's campaigns during the conquest of Gaul. Viticulture followed to supply the Roman legions with wine.

Despite the short reign of the Roman emperor Probus (232–282), in some regions he is now one of the Roman emperors known to laypeople. This comes from a message in the Probus biography of the Historia Augusta , where it says in chapter 18.8:

"Gallis omnibus et Hispanis ac Brittannis hinc permisit, ut vites haberent vinumque conficerent."

"He allowed all Gauls, Spaniards and British to own vines and make wine."

- Emperor Probus

That is why Probus is considered to be the one who introduced viticulture there in numerous wine-growing regions north of the Alps ( Austria and on the Moselle ) . What is certain is that wine production in these regions gained significantly in importance after the middle of the 3rd century.

Agricultural viticulture in Germany, which has been archaeologically proven since 1977, begins with the excavations of Roman wine presses. During earth movements for land consolidation and reallocation work of old vineyards on the Middle Moselle , systems were found and researched that indicate cultivation from the 1st century on, already on slopes or steep slopes. From 1979 similar finds were made in the Palatinate (Bad Dürkheim Ungstein, Wachenheim), which document viticulture there as early as Roman times. The oldest plants were still pressed after the migration period.

The travel description Mosella , a description from the year 371 of the Moselle landscape and the city of Trier , was written by Ausonius , a high Gallo-Roman civil servant. In this description, viticulture in the Moselle valley is documented in writing.

The Lex Salica (Pactus Legis Salicae) was written 507-511 by order of the Merovingian king Clovis I , making it one of the oldest surviving codes of law . It is one of the Germanic tribal rights . The robbery of vines is equated with the robbery of fruit trees and is punished with a penalty of 600 denier .

In his travelogue De navigio suo from the year 588 about his journey on the Moselle from Metz to Andernach with the Merovingian king Childebert II , the poet Venantius Fortunatus mentions vineyards on the Moselle and Rhine. He wrote:

“All around the view with threatening peaks is mountain heights, where the rugged cliffs rise up to the clouds, the peaks rising vertically up to the rocks, and the rough rock, it towers skyward. Yet one forces the staring slate to produce fruit, even the rock gives birth and the wine flows out. All around you see the heights clad with green vines, and gently smiling air plays the vine in curls. The vine is planted tightly in rows in the slate, and limited terrain is drawn to the browbones of the mountain. Cultivation laughs at planters from staring rock jewelry, even in the pallor of the stone the grapes ripen gracefully. […] There, where the steep crevices produce the most precious sweetness of the berries, and on the vines the fruit laughs in the pure rock. Where leafy vineyards rise to bare mountain heights, and rich, shady green covers the dry rubble: This is where the harvest of the colored grapes of the winegrowers collects, even on the cliff he hangs reading the fruit. "

- Fortunatus :

In 628, the Frankish king Dagobert I donated the city of Ladenburg and Lobdengau to the diocese of Worms . The evidence from this foundation also speaks of vineyards near Ladenburg. This document is considered to be the first mention of viticulture on the right bank of the Rhine. The first documented mention of viticulture in Old Bavaria to the south-facing slopes of the Danube to the time of the Bavarian land grab back, that is, to the 6th and 7th century. Chr. Bishop Aribo of Freising speaks 649 in the Life of Saint Emmeram of Regensburg already from the regio Baiovariorum viniferax , ie the wine-bearing country of the Bavarians . Winzer, Kruckenberg and Bach on the Danube were mentioned as wine-growing sites as early as the 8th century.

The "Niersteiner Glöck" is known as the oldest vineyard in Germany. This expresses the direct relationship between the vineyard and the St. Kilian's Church in Nierstein . Its predecessor, St. Mary's Church, was given to the diocese of Würzburg by Karlmann - the son of Karl Martell and uncle Charlemagne - in 742 . For many centuries the tithe had to be paid to the bishop of Würzburg. With the reference to the document from 742, this vineyard has a special position among the historical vineyards in Germany.

Extract from the Land Estate Ordinance Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii

The Land Estate Ordinance Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii , which Charlemagne issued as a detailed regulation on the management of the crown estates , is a famous source for economic, especially agricultural and horticultural history. The decree is handed down in a single manuscript, which is kept in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel .

The regulations of the generally quite short ordinance are quite detailed, stipulating that wine should be kept in barrels, not in wineskins, that the grapes should not be juiced with the feet because of their cleanliness (Chapter 48) etc.

It is an ever-widespread legend that the Capitulare grants the winegrowers the right to pour their own wine (cf. Strausswirtschaft in the Palatinate and Rheingau regions , Besenwirtschaft in Baden and Württemberg or Heckenwirtschaft in Franconia ). However, there is no such provision there.

On June 17, 766, Hairdin made the first donation to the Lorsch monastery with a vineyard from Wintersheim that brings 4 ohms (160 liters) of wine. On January 7, 777 , Charlemagne gave the "fiscus Hammelburg" to the Fulda monastery . The donation of Charlemagne also included vineyards. Because of its early mention, Hammelburg is also known as the oldest wine town in Franconia . In particular, Karl's promotion of Christianity should have a lasting effect on German viticulture. In particular, the church and the monasteries prepared good wine at that time and also consumed it in the form of the mass wine .

The importance of the monasteries in the Middle Ages

Many of the vineyards that are still known today go back to the founding of monasteries at that time. According to legend, the construction of the Rheingau Johannisberg can be traced back to Karl, who is said to have observed from his palatinate in Ingelheim that the snow on the Johannisberg was the first to melt. In fact, in 772 a donation from Geisenheimer lands to the Fulda Abbey was notarized. In 817 the monks exchanged them with Ludwig the Pious for lands in the Wetterau . The contract explicitly mentions the location of the parcel on the Elsterbach , which flows at the foot of the Johannisberg . In 983, Emperor Otto II gave the Mainz bishops sovereignty over the western part of the Rheingau in the Veronese donation ; the name "Bischofsberg" had already been established for the vineyard. Around 1100 the Archbishop of Mainz, Ruthard, gave it to the Mainz Benedictine monastery of Sankt Alban , which was supposed to set up a new monastic community there. The new monastery was consecrated to St. John, and in the middle of the 12th century the name “Sankt Johannisberg” appeared for the first time for the property. The vineyard is still managed by Schloss Johannisberg today .

The history of viticulture in the Ahr Valley can be traced back to the second half of the 8th century. In the year 893 the Prümer Urbar names larger vineyards in eight Ahr settlements. In this list of goods, the Prüm Abbey recorded a number of goods subject to wine tax, including in Ahrweiler , Walporzheim , Dernau and Altenahr .

The Kamp Monastery, founded in 1123, was the first Cistercian monastery in the German-speaking area. According to the statutes of the Cistercian order, each monastery had to own its own vineyard, which Kamp owned as a winery in Moselweiß near Koblenz .

In 1136 was of Bernard of Clairvaux with Eberbach Monastery founded another quite Rhenish Cistercian monastery. Archbishop Adalbert had given the Cistercians the Steinberg site near Hattenheim in advance . Abbot Ruthard and 12 monks moved into the existing monastery buildings. In 1186 the monastery church, begun around 1145, was consecrated by Archbishop Konrad von Mainz .

The Eberbach monks were also very successful in economic terms, with the main source of income soon being the proceeds from viticulture. Good contacts with secular princes were very helpful. The earliest relationships between the Counts of Katzenelnbogen and Eberbach Monastery were established in 1186 through the participation of Hermann II von Katzenelnbogen , the Bishop of Münster, in the consecration of the monastery church. At the beginning of the 13th century, a Countess von Katzenelnbogen gave the monastery a vineyard near Steinheim . In 1219, Diether V. von Katzenelnbogen granted the monastery an exemption from customs duties for its own products at the customs of St. Goar for the first time on the occasion of his departure on a crusade . The most important customs goods were the wine produced in large quantities by the monastery, which was mainly sold on the wine market in Cologne. In 1245 Diether V built the Rheinfels castle on the left bank of the Rhine near St. Goar and was thus able to collect customs duties from both the ships upstream and downstream (the so-called St. Goar double tariff ). In 1252 Diether and his brother Eberhard released the abbot and brothers of the monastery from all customs duties and secured free escort through all of the Katzenelnbogen areas.

The customs exemption opened a flourishing market for the monastery. After the relics of the " Holy Three Kings " (the wise men from the Orient ) were transferred on July 23, 1164, Cologne quickly became one of the most important pilgrimage cities in the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The first journey of the newly crowned emperors and kings led from Aachen to the shrine of the three kings . The pilgrims brought a lot of money with them to the city, which also led to increased settlement and a surge in the city's population. In the Middle Ages, Cologne was the largest city in Europe .

The Eberbach property register from 1211 shows that most of the Hattenheim sites belonged to the monastery. The Eberbacher Weinwirtschaft expanded and operated 205 branch offices from Cologne to Worms at its heyday. On the Moselle, the Archbishop of Trier Baldwin of Luxembourg equipped the Trier Carthusian Monastery of St. Alban in 1335 with vineyards near Eitelsbach an der Ruwer. These locations are known to this day under the name of Karthäuserhofberg .

One of the earliest mentions of different qualities, possibly also of the Hunnish and Franconian varieties , is recorded from around 1200 : the latter (also called Frentzsch in the French sense) was preferred to the former (also called heunsch ) and paid better.
It is debatable whether the term “heunisch”, which was used well into the 19th century, is a quality or a variety designation. Lords of the late Middle Ages z. B. preferred "Elseßer" or "welschen (Franconian) win" for representative celebratory meals. A variety designation was not common, as the wine primarily came from mixed-rate locations, was blended or flavored with herbs.

The importance of secular princes in the Middle Ages

Viticulture was not dominated by the monasteries everywhere. The historical landscape of Leiningerland was also Rebland. In Dirmstein, for example, the cultivation of vines was first mentioned in a document in 1141. Viticulture in this area was dominated by the Leiningers , the Weißenburg monastery was unable to set any accents there.

The parishes of Deidesheim , Forst and Ruppertsberg were secularly owned by the bishops of Speyer . Oppenheim , Nierstein and Bacharach belonged to the Electoral Palatinate , which was ruled by the Count Palatine near Rhine, while Bingen belonged to Kurmainz .

With the first mention of Hornberg Castle in Baden-Württemberg in 1184, the vineyards belonging to the castle are also reported. There are many clues that already suggest viticulture in Neckarzimmern since Roman times . According to documents, the Burg Hornberg winery is now the second oldest still existing winery in the world and the oldest in Baden-Württemberg.

Due to the increasing demands on quality, vineyards with special grape varieties were created. After traditional red wine, more and more white wine was also grown. In the course of 1435, Riesling was grown for the first time in Rüsselsheim by Count Johann IV von Katzenelnbogen, a member of the high nobility of the Holy Roman Empire , while Eberbach Monastery continued to rely on the grape varieties sticky bread and coarse bread around 1470 and its wine in a giant barrel, the greatest of his time, collected. The count owned hundreds of vineyards. The katzenelnbogen trading yard Templerhof in Mainz recorded an amount of 150,000 liters of non-duty wines, according to sources of the Historical Commission for Nassau even 1.5 million liters.

The wine trade in the Middle Ages

Reconstructed temperature history of the last 1000 years according to various sources

The climate was comparatively mild from the 9th to the 14th century . This period is also called the Medieval Warm Period or Medieval Climate Optimum . Regionally and at different times, the annual average temperature during this time was a few tenths and up to 1.0 degrees Celsius higher than usual. Favored by the warm climate, the population generally grew strongly. Viticulture flourished throughout Europe. Significant vineyards were created near the cities in order to be able to supply the local market. Not least because of the fact that wine was often cleaner and poorer than water because of its alcohol content , its popularity rose even further.

Before the Thirty Years' War, the vineyards reached the largest extent in history. Extensive vineyards were also planted in climatically unfavorable areas, they reached in their northern extent to Doberan Monastery , Aller and Weser in Lower Saxony , Königsberg in East Prussia , Thorn in West Prussia or Grünberg in Silesia . Little is known about the quality of the wines of this region and the existence of these vineyards was more due to the need to have the wine available as an important liturgical resource rather than the quality of the product.

At the beginning of the 16th century even the hilly Upper Swabia and the heavily wooded valleys in northern Franconia were cleared. In western Germany, the wine was on the Lower Rhine , the Lahn valley to Wetzlar and Giessen , on the edge of the Taunus , in the Sauerland , on the Ruhr, Westphalia south of Munster documented. The total area under vines was estimated to be more than 300,000 hectares. This value is roughly three times as high as it is today. At this time, however, Alsace was also included in the German viticulture area. The Alsatian vineyards spread to Mulhouse .

The production always exceeded the local demand. Since the vineyards were often located on the Rhine and its major tributaries, the wines could easily reach Holland , Scandinavia and England . The most important trading centers of German viticulture in the Middle Ages were the cities of Speyer , Worms , Mainz, Frankfurt am Main , Colmar , Strasbourg , Bacharach and above all Cologne. (see also the article on historical viticulture and wine trade in Cologne )

The fragmentation into individual territories and countries meant that there were a considerable number of customs borders in Germany. It is said that goods traffic on the Rhine between Strasbourg and the Dutch border passed through 31 customs stations. Incidentally, this situation was still valid for a long time. Within the Prussian provinces alone , there were over 67 local customs tariffs with just as many customs borders at the beginning of the 19th century. For example, when the goods were transported from Königsberg to Cologne , they were checked around eighty times.

Trade relations between Cologne and England had been documented since the 10th century. A major competitor in the wine trade was the Bordeaux wine region . Bordeaux received a big boost in 1152: through the marriage of Henry Plantagenet , later King Henry II of England, with Eleanor , the heiress of Aquitaine , a large part of western France came under British rule. Barely 5 years later, Cologne merchants obtained from King Heinrich II the right to sell the same prices as they did for wines from Bordeaux. At the end of the 14th century, Cologne exported Rhine and Moselle wines throughout Northern Europe.

Frankfurt am Main, on the other hand, concentrated on the trade in Alsatian wine. As early as 1240, the importance of the Frankfurt autumn fair was gradually growing. Emperor Friedrich II. On July 11, 1240 with a trade fair privilege, safe conduct for all travelers to the trade fair in Frankfurt. This made Frankfurt am Main the first trade fair city in the world. In the yearbooks of the Frankfurt Bartholomäusstift already 1270 names of origin of merchants from France , Italy , Hungary , Bohemia and Poland can be found . In contrast to Cologne, they not only served northern areas, but also opened up southern Germany, Switzerland and eastern Central Europe.

The progressive economic development of Eastern Europe led to a considerable expansion of European long-distance trade. Of the trade fairs of that time, the Frankfurt trade fair, which became the hub of long-distance trade, gained the greatest importance. This was true on the one hand for the old autumn fair, on the other hand for the new fasting and spring fair beginning in 1330. Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian granted this to the city of Frankfurt on April 25, 1330. It was mainly intended for winter products such as wool or wine.

The urban development of the city of Ulm reached its economic and cultural climax around 1500: Ulm possessed the second largest imperial urban territory after Nuremberg in what is now the Federal Republic of Germany. Three cities and 55 villages belonged to the area. The city was an important hub for iron, textiles, salt, wood and wine. In particular, wine from Stuttgart (→ Viticulture in Stuttgart ) was exported to the east via Ulm.

In 1482 the emissaries of the Franconian princes , the bishops of Würzburg and Bamberg , the elector Albrecht Achilles of Brandenburg and those of the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg met in Kitzingen . The aim was to stop the widespread wine adulteration. The law passed on September 29 of the same year, known as the Kitzingen Wine Law of 1482 or the 1st Franconian Wine Law , was valid from Lake Constance to Saxony.

The crisis of the 16th century and the period of the Thirty Years War

Johann Paul Knohll : Klein Vinicultur booklet from 1667

From 1524 the local peasant uprisings, known as the German Peasant War (also known as the uprising of the common man ), took place in large parts of the southern German-speaking area. The peasants bore the brunt of maintaining feudal society : princes , nobility , civil servants , patricians and the clergy lived on their labor, and as the number of beneficiaries continued to rise, the taxes the peasants had to pay also rose. In addition to the great tithe and the small tithe on most of their generated income and earnings, they paid taxes , duties and interest and were often obliged to perform labor and tension services to their landlords . In addition, the real division was used locally , which led to ever smaller farms while the total production area remained the same. Many of these small farms could no longer be run economically in view of the high loads.

The strong expansion of the vineyards up to the beginning of the 16th century with simultaneously increasing competition for rich red wines from France and Italy led to an oversupply. The resulting sales difficulties led to falling prices, which first hit those winegrowers who cultivated wine in unsuitable locations. The rebels of the common man's uprising had severe consequences. It is estimated that around 100,000–130,000 peasants lost their lives simply by suppressing the uprisings. In some cases the jurisdiction was lost, festivals were banned and city fortifications razed. All weapons had to be surrendered, and village inns were no longer allowed to be visited in the evenings.

The demand for grain for bread and beer increased. The rising price of grain made arable farming more attractive than viticulture in many areas of Germany.

The electoral viticulture ordinance 1787 for the Moselle viticulture

After the dramatic consequences of the wars of the 17th century, the predominantly agrarian, economically backward, ecclesiastical Electorate of Trier was one of the economically weakest regions in the German Empire. In an effort to make agriculture more efficient and to improve the market, measures were also taken for viticulture, whose foreign trade was almost completely lost due to poor quality. So could z. B. the winery of the Reichsabtei St. Maximin von Trier with the second largest vineyard property in the best locations of the Moselle, between 1785 and 1787 of 921 Trier fuders harvested (volume per barrel 960 l) only sold six. The reasons for this were recognized: ... that 1. too much Kleinberger is grown, which is also 2. mixed with thoroughly reprehensible grapes “Rheinisch” (probably meant “Heinisch, Heunisch”) . 3. The vines would be pulled too high, and 4. The cultivation on areas that are not suitable for viticulture.

Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony , the last Archbishop and Elector of Trier , issued a sovereign ordinance on October 30, 1787 to improve the quality of local viticulture. According to this, within seven years the genus of grapevines known as "Rhenish", which produced grapes with bad properties and too much acid, should be exterminated and replaced by "good" grapes, meaning primarily green and red-stemmed Riesling . It was then left to local bodies to identify bad cultivation and order new planting.

This order is often quoted as valid and also followed for the entire Moselle area under the rule of the Elector of Trier. The Moselle wine-growing region is thus declared a centuries-old Riesling region, which it only became hesitantly from the middle of the 19th century. Until then, the "Kleinberger" (also "Elbling") dominated. The majority of the winegrowers, who, as tenants and smallholders liable to pay interest, were obliged to make a high profit, did not want to do without their previous thick berry, early-ripening and bulky vines. In the outskirts of the territory on the Upper Moselle, near the towns of Nittel , Wincheringen , Nennig , Besch and Perl , where there was often a condominium with France and the Duchy of Luxembourg, or in the spontaneous Protestant enclaves of the Central and Lower Moselle, this arrangement was already in place only recommended.

A few years later, the Electorate of Trier belonged to France; on the Moselle, the French, revolutionary agricultural law of 1792 was in force, which in Article 2 ... grants every owner the freedom to put any crop on his property.

After the French Revolution

At the end of the 18th century, the French Republic annexed the territories of the German Empire on the left bank of the Rhine and repealed feudal lords, administrations and laws. The large wineries of the aristocracy, the monasteries and churches were nationalized, divided and auctioned to the highest bidder - often to the tenants who had previously been subject to tenancy obligations. Viticulture became a matter for the rural winegrowers and the bourgeois agricultural trade. But the change from a manorial controlled cultivation to independent cultivation and marketing meant for the majority of the smallholder winegrowers a life on the subsistence level and a stagnation of viticulture and cellar technology. “They (meaning winemakers on the Moselle) still act in the old zeitgeist, where a lot of wine was a daily need, buying and selling acts, family celebrations, guild meetings etc., drinking bouts were held that devoured a lot of wine regardless of its quality . ” Described in 1834 a Baden economist wine quality and consumption.
An extraordinary accumulation of cold and wet summer and autumn months in the first half of the 19th century led to a first-time "wine improvement" on a larger scale: "Gallize" (according to Dr. Ludwig Gall , Trier 1851) was possible with the help of a certain amount tame the acidity with water and replace the missing sun with sugar in order to “produce a very good middle wine even from unripe grapes.” 40 years later, this process was regulated by food law as a so-called “wet improvement”.
In addition to the weather-related quality problems, borders, tariffs and bureaucratic regulations in post-Napoleonic Germany hampered wine marketing. Between 1820 and 1850, the average Fuderfass price on the Middle Moselle fell below 100 Reichstaler in 20 years. For the subsistence level of a family of five winegrowers, 200 thalers per year were calculated. The regionally different impoverishment in viticulture led to larger waves of emigration, but also to the first cooperative associations for financial aid and further training in cellar technology for their members. In the 1820s there were the first winegrowers' associations in Baden and in 1868 the first association with cooperative statutes on the Ahr.

Growing areas

The terms wine-growing area, wine-growing area or growing area are largely used synonymously in official language - sometimes even within the same legal provisions . A distinction is made, however, between the 13 specific wine-growing regions and the 26 country wine regions . The production of quality wine and predicate wine is only permitted in certain growing areas . The country wine regions are geographically broader, but include the specific wine-growing regions. No growing areas are defined for the designation German wine , formerly table wine .

Certain growing area

There are 13 specific growing areas for quality and predicate wine (the production of table wine is also permitted here) according to Section 3 of the Wine Act . The names of the 13 growing areas have been their own Protected Designations of Origin since 2012 :

  • The Ahr wine-growing region (number 1 on the map with the growing areas) takes its name from the river Ahr of the same name . It is the largest closed wine-growing region for red wine in Germany. On a total of 562 hectares of vineyards (as of 2012), 84.7% red wine and 15.3% white wine are produced. The proportion of dry wines reached a proportion of 50.9% in 2005, while the proportion of semi-dry wines was 30.9%. The trend away from sweet wine initiated by Werner Näkel continues.
  • The Baden wine-growing area (number 2 on the map with the growing areas) is the southernmost and, with around 15,815 hectares of vineyards (as of 2012), the third largest wine-growing area. The percentage ratio of the areas under cultivation of white and red grape varieties is about 56:44. It is the only German wine-growing region that belongs to  the European Union's wine-growing zone B , as does neighboring Alsace , Champagne and the Loire Valley, all of which are in France . The most important grape variety in Baden is the Pinot Noir.
  • The Franconian wine-growing region (number 3 on the map with the growing areas) is located in the north-west of the Franconian region . With 6,104 hectares of cultivation area (as of 2012) it is one of the medium-sized cultivation areas in Germany. By far the largest part of the vineyards is in the Lower Franconia district , especially in the area of ​​the Main , Wern and Franconian Saale valleys . Middle Franconia also has significant shares in the wine-growing region, namely on the slopes of the Steigerwald and the Frankenhöhe as well as the middle course of the Tauber . A small part is located in the administrative district of Upper Franconia in the Main Valley northwest of Bamberg , as well as in Middle Franconia. The percentage ratio of the areas under cultivation of white and red grape varieties is about 81:19.
  • Bergstraße is the name of the road from Darmstadt to Wiesloch on the western edge of the Odenwald and the landscape in its vicinity. The independent wine-growing area Hessische Bergstraße (number 4 on the map with the growing areas) with 448 hectares and the dependent area Badische Bergstraße of the wine-growing area Baden are named after the Bergstraße.
  • The area of ​​the Middle Rhine wine region (number 5 on the map with the cultivation areas) with 462 hectares extends over approx. 110 km from the mouth of the Nahe near Bingen to the Siebengebirge ( Dollendorfer Hardt ) near Bonn . While on the upper Middle Rhine, from Bingen to Koblenz , mainly the left side of the slope along the Rhine was planted with vines, on the lower Middle Rhine, which extends from Koblenz to the Siebengebirge, mainly the right bank is planted.
  • The Nahe wine-growing region (number 7 on the map with the growing areas) with 4172 hectares (as of 2012), which has only been managed as an independent wine-growing region since 1971, extends from the mouth of the Nahe upstream to just before Kirn and into the side valleys of Guldenbach , Graefenbach , Ellerbach , Glan and Alsenz . The center is the spa town of Bad Kreuznach . The Nahe wine-growing region has the greatest variety of soils and the narrowest berths in Germany. More than 180 soil variants are suspected and are currently being investigated in a project. Because of this geological diversity, it occupies a special position: Quartz and slate soils can be found on the lower Nahe , porphyry , melaphyre and red sandstone on the middle Nahe. Around Bad Kreuznach there are weathered soils and clay layers made of sandstone, loess and loam . The vineyards are mostly on flat and hilly locations. Only a small part, mainly in the area around Bad Münster am Stein , are steep slopes.
    Especially the Riesling produces very mineral, elegant wines.
  • In the Palatinate wine-growing region (number 8 on the map with the growing areas), quality wines are produced, which are known as Pfalzweine . Until 1993 the area was still called Rheinpfalz . After Rheinhessen, the Palatinate has the second largest German wine-growing area with a good 23,489 hectares (as of 2012). Around 6,800 wineries, less than half of which are their main occupation, cultivate more than 100 million vines here and produce around 2.0 to 2.5 million hectoliters of wine annually. The percentage ratio of the areas under cultivation of white and red grape varieties is about 62:38, with the cultivation of red grape varieties on the increase. Palatinate wine is grown almost exclusively on the western edge of the Vorderpfalz , which forms part of the plain between the Rhine and the Palatinate Forest . There, at the transition between the lowlands and the low mountain range, there is a narrow, about 85 km long and a maximum of 15 km wide hilly step at an altitude of 110 to 150 m, which is the largest wine-growing region in the Palatinate. However, their total area is far from being cultivated with vineyards ; the suitable parts extend mainly on both sides of the German Wine Route , which runs through the middle of the vine hills from north to south.
  • The Rheingau (number 9 on the map with the cultivation areas) extends mainly west of the knee of the Rhine near Wiesbaden on a narrow strip between the Rhine flowing west here and the heights of the Taunus to the north . The westernmost wine village is Lorchhausen , the easternmost Flörsheim am Main . In addition, the Lohrberger Hang in the urban area of Frankfurt am Main and the northernmost vineyard in Hesse , the Böddiger Berg in Felsberg, are among them. This means that the wine-growing area known as the Rheingau is much larger than the actual Rheingau region , which only describes the area on the right bank of the Rhine between Wiesbaden and Lorchhausen . The affiliation of vineyards to the respective growing area is administratively determined and is determined by Josef Staab , Domain Councilor and Chapter Elder of the Rheingau Wine Convention, when you register. In total, the wine-growing region has an area of ​​approx. 3145 hectares, on which predominantly the Riesling grape variety is grown. The percentage ratio of the areas under cultivation of white and red grape varieties is around 85:15.
  • A fifth of the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Rheinhessen (number 10 on the map with the cultivation areas), which is also the least forested in Germany, is planted with vines - 26,516 hectares (as of 2012). This makes Rheinhessen the largest wine-growing area in Germany. Over 6,000 winemakers produce more than 2.5 million hectoliters of wine from around 120 million vines each year. The percentage ratio of the areas under cultivation of white and red grape varieties is about 69:31. Of the 136 communities in Rheinhessen, only Budenheim and Hamm am Rhein do not grow wine. Rheinhessen is also one of the most traditional growing areas. The oldest (742) documented vineyard in Germany is located in Nierstein , the Niersteiner Glöck .
  • In the wine-growing region Württemberg (number 13 on the map with the growing areas) wine is grown, considered Württemberg wine under the slogan "Connoisseurs Württemberg" is marketed. The wine from Württemberg is famous for its red vineyards. The most common grape varieties are Trollinger (red) and Riesling (white). The Württemberger Weinstrasse , which emerged from the former Swabian Wine Route , has been running through the wine-growing region since October 2004 . The Württemberg wine-growing region is located in southern Germany and covers 11,359 hectares (as of 2012). The proportion white to red is 29:71. It extends between the northern area of ​​Kocher-Jagst-Tauber, which adjoins Franconia and is known for its sparkling white wines, along the Neckar valley via Heilbronn and Stuttgart to Tübingen . A small area on the Württemberg shores of Lake Constance near Lindau is also part of it, and the vineyards on the Bavarian shore of Lake Constance are also part of Württemberg's wine geographical area. The favorable microclimate along the Neckar and the hot shell limestone and Keuper soils allow expressive red wines to flourish. Hot summers and sunny autumn days ensure high quality and good harvest yields. Winter frosts in a continental climate lead to yield losses in some years. In the Stuttgart area and the Esslinger area , plump, characterful Trollinger, classy and fruity Riesling wines and spicy Kerner grow on the steep slopes of the Neckar Valley. The soil and the warm climate are also suitable for Müller-Thurgau, Blauer Portugieser and Dornfelder. The brown Jura and volcanic soil put their stamp on the varietal wines in the Upper Neckar Valley and in Metzingen. Tender-nerved and fine, that's how the mainly white drops from Silvaner, Kerner, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Noir are generally declared.

Total vineyard area

The total area under vines in these quality wine growing areas was 102,000 hectares in 2012.

Wine-growing area
for quality wine
Vineyards ha
Harvest hl
Yield hl / ha
Ahr 545 30,232 55
to bathe 15,429 1,169,209 76
Francs 6,040 469.943 78
Hessian mountain road 431 30,268 70
Middle Rhine 450 26,809 60
Moselle 8,594 669.125 78
Near 4.063 309.715 76
Palatinate 22,885 2,356,593 103
Rheingau 3,076 231.108 75
Rheinhessen 26,685 2,602,262 101
Saale-Unstrut 775 27.193 35
Saxony 456 19,615 43
Württemberg 11,140 1,138,973 102
Growing areas for quality wine

The hectare yields are based on the yielding vineyard area, which is lower than the entire planted area due to newly created vineyards. In 2012, the area under vines in Germany was 99,586 hectares.

Country wine

There are 26 growing areas for country wine according to Section 2 of the Wine Ordinance . They have also been registered as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) since 2014 .

Country wine region assigned certain wine-growing regions
Ahrtaler country wine Ahr
Baden country wine to bathe
Bavarian Bodensee country wine Württemberg
Brandenburg country wine without assignment
Country Wine Main Francs
Country wine of the Moselle Moselle
Country wine Neckar Württemberg
Country wine Upper Rhine to bathe
Country wine Rhine Ahr, Hessian Bergstrasse, Middle Rhine, Moselle, Nahe, Palatinate, Rheingau, Rheinhessen
Country wine Rhein-Neckar Baden, Württemberg
Country wine of the Ruwer Moselle
Country wine of the Saar Moselle
Mecklenburg country wine Stargarder Land
Central German country wine Saale-Unstrut
Nahegau country wine Near
Palatinate country wine Palatinate
Regensburg country wine Lower Danube
Rheinburgen country wine Middle Rhine
Rheingau country wine Rheingau
Rhenish country wine Rheinhessen
Saarland country wine Moselle
Saxon country wine Saxony
Schleswig-Holstein country wine without assignment
Swabian country wine Württemberg
Starkenburger country wine Hessian mountain road
Taubertäler country wine to bathe

Viticulture without a protected origin

Vines on the vineyard in Hitzacker
Vineyard at the Stintfang in Hamburg

Even in federal states that do not have a share in the well-known wine-growing regions, there is occasional wine-growing. In Brandenburg, in particular, there are a number of other vineyards in addition to the vineyard at Sanssouci Palace . In Berlin, the Kreuz-Neroberger grown on the Kreuzberg has achieved a certain level of awareness. There are also vineyards in the Volkspark Humboldthain , at the Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg in the Wilmersdorf stadium , at the Britzer WeinKultur in Neukölln and a small show vineyard at the Hessian state representation at the federal government in the Mitte district. In Cologne there have been vines in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral at the regional council since 1981, the wine of which is auctioned annually for a good cause. The then governor of Antwerpes planted the vines . On the slope of the vineyard in Hitzacker , which rises 40 meters above the Elbe, viticulture has been practiced with 99 vines since 1980 and the “Hidesacker Weinbergströpfchen” is pressed. In Hamburg there has been a small vineyard with 100 vines on the southern slope of the Stintfang near the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken since 1995 , which claims to be Germany's northernmost vineyard.

Grebin: "So mookt wi dat"

And wine has also been grown in Schleswig-Holstein since 2009 . A 3 hectare vineyard is located in the middle of Holstein Switzerland in Malkwitz , one was planted near Keitum on Sylt , and another was created in Grebin near Plön with 5300 vines.

Lower Saxony was the last federal state to receive vine planting rights for the first time in 2016. The first vineyards have now been planted. For example, Bad Iburg near Osnabrück has the only hillside location in Lower Saxony with 1.5 hectares of wooded area. There are a total of 19 land owners with 17 ha of approved land. (As of 2018)

Cultivation forms

Viticulture in a land-cleared parcel

Viticulture in Germany can be traced back to the cultural influence of the Romans , who recognized the favorable locations of the natural river terraces from the Quaternary and developed them for the first time on a large scale, especially in southern Germany. The Romans planted the vines in a chamber built in a wooden chamber frame . Viticulture was still practiced after the retreat of the Romans and still shapes the cultural landscape in Germany today . Carefully tended vines can reach an age of more than 400 years and distinguish wine locations with a long tradition and high quality. In the course of time, the forms of cultivation on small-parceled terraces with loosely set dry stone walls from the local parent rock have changed. These were and are the cause of the introduction of new grape varieties and adapted forms of education as well as changed economic framework conditions. Until the end of the 1950s, vintners in Germany cultivated the vines using stick culture , the Stickelwingert. When growing sticks, each vine receives a stick made of wood as a support. The individual sticks in turn form a wooden frame. At the beginning of the 1960s, the cultivation method was changed to Guyot upbringing and the vines were planted in trellises or high culture in downward-facing rows of wood on the slopes. Numerous high-quality old vines were sacrificed to the land consolidation that went along with it, and the stock was rejuvenated through new breeds under the premise of yield and mechanical cultivation . The land consolidation also intervened in the geomorphology of the vineyard slopes and large artificial terraces were created on the Kaiserstuhl . The natural soil profile above the loess was thus irretrievably destroyed, which resulted in an increased susceptibility to erosion , reduced soil fertility and ultimately a lower yield indicator . For the efficient use of full harvesters , there is now an increasing switch to wire-frame upbringing of the vines, in which galvanized metal posts are set instead of stickels.

Grape varieties

A total of almost 140 grape varieties are grown in Germany, of which over 105 are used for white wine and 35 for red wine making . Internationally, Germany is still considered a classic white wine country; however, the demand for German red wines has been increasing steadily since the mid-1980s. This has led to a doubling of the area under vines to around 35% of the total area. Part of the red harvest is also used to make rosé wine . Of the grape varieties grown, only about 30 are of any market significance.

Leading grape varieties

Source: German Wine Statistics 2019/2020

variety Wine Area ha 2018 synonym Surface % Area ha 2008 Area ha 2005 Area hectares 2001
1. Riesling White 23,960 22.2 22,434 20,794 21,514
2. Müller-Thurgau White 12,057 Rivaner 13.1 13,721 14,346 18.609
3. Pinot Noir red 11,762 Pinot Noir 11.5 11,800 11,660 9,806
4. Dornfelder red 7,581 7.8 8.101 8,259 5,530
5. Silvaner White 4,744 5.1 5,236 5,383 6,422
6. Pinot Gris White 6,713 Ruländer, Pinot Gris 4.4 4,481 4.211 2,905
7. White Burgundy White 5,540 Klevner, Pinot Blanc 4.2 3,731 3,335 2,795
8. Blue Portuguese red 2,766 3.9 4,354 4,818 5,039
9. Kerner White 2,463 3.2 3.712 4,253 6,054
10. Trollinger red 2.172 Vernatsch 2.3 2,472 2,543 2,615
11. Black Riesling red 1.910 Pinot Meunier 2.2 2,361 2,459 2,481
12th Regent red 1,784 2.0 2.161 2.158 649
13. Bacchus White 1,667 1.9 2.015 2,205 2,967
14. Lemberger red 1.912 Blaufränkisch 1.7 1,729 1,612 1,267
15. Scheurebe White 1,412 1.5 1,672 1,864 2,693
16. Chardonnay White 2,100 1.4 1,171 1,018 719
17. Gutedel White 1,121 Chasselas 1.1 1,136 1,129 1,177
18. Traminer White 1.012 0.9 835 826 845
19. St. Laurent red 618 Laurel grape 0.7 669 669 350
20. Sauvignon Blanc White 1,324 0.6 434 186 217
21. Ortega White 440 0.6 634 715 951
22. Huxelrebe White 424 0.6 635 711 1,132
23. Elbling White 493 0.5 578 610 890
24. Merlot red 696 0.5 450 399 155
25. Faberrebe White k. A. 0.5 587 758 1,305
26. Acolon red 461 0.5 478 428 76
27. Morio nutmeg White k. A. 0.5 502 576 905
28. Dominatrix red 366 0.4 404 381 228
29. Cabernet Mitos red 300 0.3 320 307 102
30. Dark fields red 227 0.3 352 379 317
31. Cabernet Sauvignon red 321 0.3 288 267 136
32. Frühburgunder red 241 0.3 252 233 123
33. Cabernet Dorsa red 263 0.2 227 198 200
34. Yellow muscatel White k. A. 0.2 174 126 94
35. Auxerrois White k. A. 0.2 185 150 96
36. Herald vine red k. A. 0.2 155 176
37. Zweigelt red k. A. 0.2
38. Winning vine White k. A. 0.1 103 115 145
39. Johanniter White k. A. 0.1
40. Solaris White k. A. 0.1
41. Reichensteiner White k. A. 0.1 106 129 124
42. Rieslaner White k. A. 0.1

Approved grape varieties

The lists of varieties approved for commercial cultivation provide a more complete overview. This also includes the varieties selected only for trial cultivation.

Permitted white wine varieties

Approved red wine varieties

Grape varieties in italics are not (yet) approved for the production of quality wines. as well as the Descriptive Variety List of the Federal Plant Variety Office 2008

New breeds

The northern location of the German wine-growing regions made special efforts necessary to find early-ripening and frost-hardy grape varieties. In the 1920s, Prof. Bernhard Husfeld introduced modern genetics to grapevine breeding and enabled new breeding by crossing on a scientific basis. The work was and is still being carried out at numerous institutes.

In addition to the aspect of early ripening, the creation of rootstock vines to solve the phylloxera problem and the breeding of fungus-resistant varieties were also devoted to. The latter problem in particular is currently of great importance.

The first successful new breed was the Müller-Thurgau variety. Despite the sharp decline in numbers, it is the undisputed number 2 of the white varieties behind the classic Riesling. After the Second World War, the aromatic varieties Scheurebe and Morio nutmeg came on the market and corresponded to the taste of the time. A plethora of other varieties followed, and during 1960 and 1980 the new varieties seemed to overtake the old varieties.

In particular, a strict clone selection of the old varieties led to a significant increase in the quality, yield and health of the plants and enabled the classic varieties to return. For at least 15 years there has been a steady decline in the area under vines for new varieties. The red varieties Dornfelder and Regent are currently still exceptions.

Quality levels

The German Wine Act (WeinG 1994) divides the wines into four quality classes based on the extract content of the must (in degrees Oechsle ), combined with a regional designation, but without a classification of origin or location:

Stages are

  1. the predicate wine , quality wine with predicate (QmP),
  2. followed by quality wine from certain growing areas (QbA),
  3. the country wine
  4. and the wine (formerly table wine) .

A "quality wine with a predicate" is now called a "predicate wine". The German Federal Cabinet decided on August 9, 2006 to change the Wine Act accordingly. The simplification of the terms had already established itself in marketing and is to apply from the beginning of the 2007/2008 wine year. The companies are granted a transition period of two years.

The achievement of the upper two levels requires the passing of an official wine test , an essentially sensory test , which aims primarily to not be marketable, i.e. H. faulty wines to be sorted out. Passing the official test is shown on the labels of the wines with the official test number (AP no.).

"The quality of the wine is evident in the glass."

With the German Wine Law of 1971, a classification was created which links the quality level to the must weight at the time of harvest. The minimum must weights vary from region to region. In the northern wine-growing regions (Ahr, Mosel and Middle Rhine) the lowest values ​​apply, while Baden has the highest values.

  • Table wine is the lowest category of wines. Table wine in wine-growing zone A must come exclusively from approved grape varieties and have a natural minimum alcohol content of 5 % vol or 44 ° Oechsle (wine-growing zone B 6% vol or 50 ° Oechsle). After enrichment, it must have an existing alcohol content of at least 8.5% vol, as this is the minimum alcohol content of a wine according to EU legislation. In Germany, table wine may be enriched in wine-growing zone A by a maximum of 3.5% vol, in wine-growing zone B (Baden only) by max. 2.5% vol. The maximum enrichment limits in viticulture zone A are 12% vol for red wine and 11.5% vol for white wine, and 12.5% ​​vol or 12.0% vol in viticulture zone B. If a table wine is not fortified, there is no upper alcohol limit, so a higher grade wine can also be downgraded to table wine. Table wine is qualitatively mostly an unimportant, simple table wine. However, there are winemakers who consciously only produce table wine because they shy away from the expense of the official quality wine test or reject it entirely. These wines can be of very high quality. Until barrique winemaking was recognized for quality wine in Germany, these wines were marketed as table wines. German table wines are not allowed to have site names , names of communities or districts, and names of specific growing areas . These designations are reserved exclusively for quality wines . They are also not allowed to take part in officially recognized awards.
  • Country wine is the second quality level of the wine. The designation Landwein as a quality level has existed in Germany since 1982. In Germany it describes a table wine of high quality. The limits for alcohol and Öchsle weight are slightly higher than for table wine, namely 5.5% before enrichment and 47 ° Öchsle. Country wine is always typical of the region, which means that it may only be made from grapes that are grown in the region.

The next category is already that of quality wines. These are in turn divided into two subcategories: quality wines from certain growing areas and quality wines with predicate (or predicate wines for short). The rule for all quality wines is that they must come from a wine-growing region for the quality wine. In addition, the wine must pass an official test.

  • The alcohol content and must weight requirements for quality wine in certain growing areas are between 7% and 9% natural alcohol content, and the must weight between 57 ° and 72 ° Öchsle. Sugar can be added before fermentation.
A grape with noble rot berries. You can clearly see that not all berries have gone through the concentration process through evaporation. To achieve the highest must weights, it is therefore necessary to select individual berries
  • The level of the predicate wine is divided again into predicates. The only quality feature is the must weight. No statement about the quality of the wine can be derived from this.
    • Cabinet : The lowest predicate wine level immediately follows the quality wine of certain growing areas. The Kabinett wine is usually comparatively light and low in alcohol, as it cannot be improved despite the low must weight. The minimum must weight is between 67 ° and 83 ° Öchsle, depending on the growing area
    • Late harvest : from grapes that are harvested after the main harvest according to an old rule. In times of the cooler climate, late harvest qualities could only be obtained with a certain amount of effort, today the required must weights are relatively easy to obtain in particularly suitable individual layers. The minimum must weight is 76 ° to 90 ° Öchsle, depending on the growing area.
    • Selection : from absolutely perfect grapes - damaged, diseased or unripe berries are separated. The minimum must weight, depending on the growing area, is between 83 ° and 95 ° Öchsle (for red wine up to 100 ° Öchsle).
    • Berry selection : from overripe or noble rot grapes (Botrytis cinerea), the berries of which often have to be picked individually. The minimum must weight is 110 to 128 ° Öchsle, depending on the growing area.
    • Trockenbeerenauslese : consists largely of noble rot, botrytis-infested berries. The minimum must weight is 150 ° to 154 ° Öchsle, depending on the growing area.

Ice wine is a specialty . It is made from berries that were frozen when harvested. The harvest takes place at −6 ° C or colder. The water in the berries solidifies to ice and therefore does not get into the must during the pressing process. A juice concentrate is therefore obtained in which both the sugar values ​​and the acid values ​​rise sharply. As with Beerenauslese, the minimum must weight is 110 to 128 ° Öchsle, depending on the growing area.

Wine types

The taste indications, also called degrees of sweetness, are uniformly regulated in the EU , but are designated differently in the countries.

The taste balance of a wine is determined on the one hand by the sweetness (residual sugar and alcohol) on the one hand and the acidity and tannins on the other. This equilibrium is simplified with white wines, since the proportion of bitter substances (i.e. the tannins) is only present to a small extent. Wines with a low sugar content can therefore taste sweetly with a low acidity or tannin content.

The German white wine has a comparatively high acid content. Therefore, attempts are often made to harmonize the acidic wine by adding a residual sweetness and / or a higher alcohol content. In order to provide the consumer with a statement about the taste balance aimed for by the producer, different wine styles have been defined. A distinction is made between the following grades of taste for wine:

  • Dry

Wine with a residual sugar content of a maximum of 9 g / l, whereby the acid content may not be lower than 2 g / l. Classic dry only allows 4 g / l residual sugar. Until July 2007, wines with a residual sugar content of up to 2 g / l were allowed to have the words "Suitable for diabetics" on the label with the addition "only after consulting a doctor". Due to an EU regulation that came into force on July 1, 2007, according to which "health-related information" is prohibited on wine labels and price lists, this was no longer possible.

  • Medium dry

Semi-dry wine may contain a maximum of 9 to 18 g / l unfermented sugar, whereby the sugar may not exceed the acid content by more than 10 g / l. These wines have a slight residual sweetness. If they have a high acid content, they can still taste dry . The statement about the residual sweetness that serves is therefore most likely to apply to this degree of flavor .

  • Lovely, semi-sweet

Wine with a distinctly sweet taste. According to the German wine law, the residual sugar content is higher than that of semi-dry wines, i.e. from 18 g / l up to 45 g / l residual sugar.

  • Sweet

The taste of sweet wines is dominated by sugar or other sweet wine ingredients. The European wine law defines a residual sugar content of more than 45 g / l for sweet wines.


In 2012, 1.3 million hectoliters of German wine were exported. This confirms a trend that is that less wine is sold in terms of volume, but the value of the exported qualities is increasing. German wine is mainly exported to the USA, followed by the Netherlands and Great Britain as export countries. The German exporters were able to push through a price increase of 8.4%.

Export countries
for German wine
Value (million euros)
Quantity (hectoliters)
United States 89 257,000
Netherlands 36 217,000
United Kingdom 27 173,000
Norway 24 61,000
Canada 17th 55,000
Sweden 16 105,000
Japan 14th 34,000
China 13 34,000
Russia 7th 61,000
Belgium / Luxembourg 7th 35,000

The wine label

Wine label on a Bocksbeutel

The wine label provides the consumer with information about the purchase of wine. Every wine container with a volume of less than 60 liters must be labeled.

The labeling law for wine regulates in detail the content and sometimes also formal criteria (such as font size) of the information on the label. In principle, the principle applies that information on the label is prohibited unless it is expressly permitted. Certain of the possible information are mandatory information, others are to be used optionally.

Required information

Mandatory information must be clearly legible in the same viewing area on the label.

  • Quality level : for example quality wine, country wine
  • Geographical origin : The indication of the geographical origin is partly mandatory, partly to be used optionally. That depends on the quality level and how detailed the geographical indication is.
  • Bottler : The details of the bottler must also include the place where the bottler is based. Under certain circumstances, the bottler information can be coded with a code number.
  • Alcohol content : The actual alcohol content must be given in the unit volume percent .
  • Nominal volume denotes the volume of the bottle.
  • Type of wine, for example red wine. This information is only mandatory to a limited extent.
  • Lot identification to identify the wine; In the case of quality wine, the lot identification is replaced by the official test number .
  • contains sulphites : This information has been mandatory since 2006 if the wine was sulphurised during production.
  • further exceptions to the labeling requirement expire on June 30, 2012 (according to EU regulation No. 1266/2010 on labeling regulations for wines). Potential allergens must then be shown as mandatory information. This applies to isinglass (label: contains fish), albumin (label: contains egg) and casein (label: contains milk). According to allergological experts, however, there is no clear risk assessment on this point.

Optional information

The most important optional information to be used are:

  • Vintage , d. H. the year in which the grapes for the wine were grown and usually also harvested. The vintage may only be indicated if at least 85% of the wine comes from the harvest of the respective vintage.
  • Grape variety , such as Riesling. The grape variety from which at least 85% of the wine was pressed can be specified. It is also possible to specify two grape varieties, but then the wine must consist of 100% of these grape varieties.
  • Indication of taste The terms "dry", "semi-dry", "sweet" or "sweet" are permitted.
  • Wine location and location , this describes the exact origin of the wine: for example Assmannshäuser Höllenberg. For the consumer, however, it is often not clear whether it is a large location or an individual location.
  • Additional information such as drinking temperatures and food recommendations have been permitted since 2007.

Classic, Selection and Hochgewächs

Since German wine, with its complexity of degrees of taste, grape varieties and a confusing system of locations, is difficult to market, there are repeated efforts to simplify labeling with recognizable taste.

High growth

The designation "Hochgewächs" was anchored in 1987 for a "type wine of special origin" in the wine law. This designation is reserved for Riesling alone, which the Q. b. A. quality level. The Hochgewächs is therefore potentially lighter than a Riesling cabinet. Tall plants must have a natural alcohol content of at least 1.5% vol or 7 ° Oechsle above the guide value that applies to the growing area. In the test for the official test number, the wines must achieve at least 3.0 (instead of 1.5) points.

Classic wine type

The Classic wine is marketed as a dry wine, but in its definition it is a mixture of dry or semi-dry. The stipulation is that the residual sugar content may not be more than twice as high as the acidity of the wine, but never more than 15 grams / liter. The natural alcohol content must be at least 12% vol. The exception are the Moselle wines, where the minimum is 11.5% vol. The wines should embody the typicality of a growing region. There is no indication of vineyards. The wines may only be made from a single grape variety. The exception here is the Württemberg Trollinger with Lemberger . The choice of grape varieties is limited to classic grape varieties that have been defined for each growing area. Nevertheless, some new varieties were added to the list:

  • Ahr: Frühburgunder, Riesling, Spätburgunder
  • Baden: Pinot Gris, Gutedel, Riesling, Rivaner, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Franconia: Domina, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Spätburgunder, Weißer Burgunder
  • Hessische Bergstrasse: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Middle Rhine: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Moselle: Elbling, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rivaner, Pinot Blanc
  • Nearby: Dornfelder, Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, Portugieser, Riesling, Scheurebe, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Palatinate: Dornfelder, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rivaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Rheingau: Riesling
  • Rheinhessen: Dornfelder, Pinot Gris, Portuguese, Riesling, Rivaner, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Saale-Unstrut: Gewürztraminer, Kerner, Müller-Thurgau, Portugieser
  • Saxony: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Württemberg: Dornfelder, Pinot Gris, Kerner, Lemberger, Riesling, Black Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Trollinger

Wine type selection

The Selection wine is also marketed as a dry wine. The residual sugar content may not exceed 9 grams / liter (with acidic Riesling max. 12 grams / liter). The natural alcohol content must be at least 12.2% vol. The wines may only be made from a single grape variety. The grape material comes from a single location, which the winemaker must register as a suitable location. Hand-picking and a yield restriction of 60 hectoliters / hectare are also required. The choice of grape varieties is limited to classic grape varieties that have been defined for each growing area. Here, too, various new breeds were added to the list:

  • Ahr: Frühburgunder, Riesling, Spätburgunder
  • Baden: Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gutedel, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Saint Laurent, Black Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Franconia: Pinot Gris, Rieslaner, Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Hessische Bergstrasse: Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Rivaner, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Middle Rhine: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Mosel: Riesling
  • Nahe: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Palatinate: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Rieslaner, Riesling, Black Riesling, Saint Laurent, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Rheingau: Riesling, Pinot Noir
  • Rheinhessen: Chardonnay, Frühburgunder, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Portuguese, Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Saale-Unstrut: Riesling, Silvaner, Spätburgunder, Weißer Burgunder
  • Saxony: Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc
  • Württemberg: Dornfelder, Pinot Gris, Kerner, Lemberger, Riesling, Black Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir, Trollinger


The German-language specialist terminology of viticulture is recorded in the dictionary of the German winegrowing language and the word atlas of continental Germanic winegrowing terminology .


The German post office has been bringing in 2018 a stamp vineyards in Germany to 0.70 € out.


Audio CD

  • Hans Reiner Schultz tells the basics of modern viticulture . Concept and direction: Klaus Sander. 2 audio CDs, 139 minutes. Berlin: supposé 2015, ISBN 978-3-86385-010-4


Web links

Commons : Viticulture in Germany  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b German Wine Statistics 2013/2014. (PDF; 725 kB) German Wine Institute , 2014, accessed on June 15, 2017 .
  2. K.-J. Gilles: Recent research ... , p. 19.
  3. Gerald Kreucher: The Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus and his time . Steiner, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-515-08382-0 (Historia individual writings 174).
  4. K.-J. Gilles, Fritz Schumann `` Newer Research ... '' p. 5 ff., P. 74 ff. ''
  5. Verses 25-36, 39-42; based on Eduard Böcking : Bonner Jahrbücher, 1845
  6. Fuchß, Peter: On the history of the Niersteiner Glöck, a famous wine location on the Rhine. Anniversary publication 1250 years of Niersteiner Glöck. Oppenheim / Rhein: Self-published by the state teaching and research institute for agriculture, viticulture and horticulture 1992.
  7. Everyday vocabulary in Old High German ( Memento from March 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  8. German Wine Institute: Bouquets, Hecken, Besen ( Memento from August 13, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 13, 2014.
  9. Proof of the legend
  10. After Kloster Kamp had to sell the winery in Moselweiß in 1355 due to financial difficulties, the monks planted a vineyard in the south of the church. In a chronicle from 1483 it can be read several times about this wine that it is said to have been stingy with charms: "The Kamper wine only causes pain at the table" ( lat : Vinum Campens non facit gaudia mense ).
  11. B. Weiter-Matysiak quoted from the list of goods of the Rupertsberg Monastery (MRUB II and III) in Weinbau im… , p. 4, “[…] franconici et hunici vini […]”.
  12. Ottraud Rozumek-Fechtig: The Counts of Katzenelnbogen. Wine consumption and viticulture in the 14th and 15th centuries . Society for business des Weins, No. 106, Wiesbaden 1993, p. 10 ff.
  13. Rudolf Kraft : Das Reichsgut in Wormsgau (=  sources and research on Hessian history . Volume 16 ). Hessischer Staatsverlag, Darmstadt 1934, p. 259 .
  14. Militzer, Klaus: The Cologne wine trade in the late Middle Ages. In: City and Commerce. Sigmaringen 1995. (= City in History. Vol. 22.), pp. 23–47.
  15. ^ Friedrich Seidel: The poverty problem in the German Vormärz with Friedrich List . In: Cologne Lectures on Social and Economic History - Issue 13, Cologne 1971, p. 4.
  16. ^ Rothmann, Michael: The Frankfurt fair as a wine trading place in the Middle Ages. In: Viticulture between the Meuse and the Rhine in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. Mainz 1997. (= Trier historical research. 23.), pp. 365-419.
  17. ^ Dachs, Hans: On the history of the wine trade on the Danube from Ulm to Regensburg. In: Negotiations of the historical association of Upper Palatinate and Regensburg. 83. Regensburg 1933, pp. 36-96.
  18. It is said to have been repealed in 1791. See also Dr. Richard Laufner, Trier: Riesling Wenzeslaus .
  19. The Riesling grape as an express cultivation recommendation does not appear at all in the often cited electoral ordinance.
  20. ^ Johann Philipp Bronner (1792–1864), Viticulture in the Province of Rheinhessen, in the Nahethal and Moselthal , Heidelberg 1834.
  21. Felix Meyer, Viticulture on the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer , p. 54 ff., Koblenz 1926
  22. Stuart Pigott / Manfred Lüer, Mosel , Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-502-15173-9 .
  23. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Project Stein und Wein )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  24. This is how the Pankow Riesling tastes , in: Berliner Abendblatt , news from August 8, 2015.
  25. All grapes stolen - the vintage in Hamburg must be canceled at SHZ on September 7, 2018.
  26. Our wine from Schleswig-Holstein. In: Retrieved April 11, 2019 . .
  27. Weingut Hof Altmühlen ( Memento from June 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  28. Why pig farmers grow wine on the Iburger Urberg ,, accessed on April 11, 2019
  29. German Wine Statistics 2019/2020
  30. List of the classifications of grape varieties for wine production according to Article 20 of Regulation (EC) 1227/2000, as of November 2007
  31. List of classifications of grape varieties for wine production (PDF; 502 kB) ( Memento from February 26, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  32. Descriptive list of varieties of the Federal Plant Variety Office 2008 (PDF; 507 kB) .
  33. Press release No. 125 of the BMELV of August 9, 2006.
  34. Stefanie Widmann: Trend to expensive drops , Rhein Main Presse from March 21, 2013 online .
  35. Information from the German Wine Institute 2013.
  36. With the aim of optimal consumer protection, an amendment to the EC Food Labeling Directive (2000/13 / EC) was passed in November 2003.
  37. ↑ Wine label: contains egg, fish or milk? Article in Der Deutsche Weinbau 21 | 07
  38. Results of the test with the enzyme allergy sorbent test (EAST) ( Memento from October 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 68 kB).
  39. ^ German Wine Institute - information on the label ( memento of July 27, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on July 22, 2014.
  40. Viticulture in Germany, postage stamp for € 0.70 ( Memento from December 28, 2017 in the Internet Archive ).