What wines are produced in Germany? What types of German wines should you try if you are traveling in Germany? What do the markings on German wines mean? Today we will figure out how to choose a good wine in Germany and learn some specialized vocabulary.

The whole world is enthusiastically talking about German beer, its varieties, types and differences. Germany, indeed, is famous for its foamy golden drink, but not for them alone! German wines are gaining more and more popularity in the world, and this is well deserved. 

Today there are even tourist trips that include visits to the main Rhine vineyards and lots of tastings. This route is called the German Wine Route 

The age of German winemaking is calculated for thousands of years. Grapes were brought to the territory of modern Germany by Roman legionnaires, who loved the heady drink so much. They planted vines along the Rhine River and its tributaries, where the climate was most favorable. Red vines took root worse than white ones, since red grapes love warmth and sun, which is lacking in modern Rhineland-Palatinate. This explains the huge number of white German wines.

Vineyards of the Rhine ValleyThanks to strict laws and standards, as well as refined techniques and winemaking traditions, German wines are famous for their high quality. Those who have been to the Rhine vineyards have seen how difficult and difficult they are: the vines are planted in even rows on steep slopes, along which people had to climb for many centuries, insuring themselves with heathers (now they use special equipment).

In German, the vineyard is even called “Weinberg“, that is, “wine mountain”. When you look at this landscape, it doesn‚Äôt fit in your head how people didn‚Äôt give up this business in the Middle Ages, didn‚Äôt give up. In general, everything corresponds to German accuracy and diligence.

In autumn, not only the well-known Oktoberfest is held in Germany , but also many wine festivals , which are not inferior to the first in popularity.

What grape varieties are grown in Germany

If we talk about grape varieties, then the hallmark and pride of Germany is Riesling (German: Riesling ). In no other part of the world does this vine produce such refined white wines with optimal acidity. Riesling – technical, that is, a wine grape variety.

There is historical evidence that in a place near Russelsheim Castle, the manager of Count Katzenelnbogen planted new Riesling vines back in 1435, supposedly some of them still exist (which, of course, is doubtful, most likely, their children and grandchildren). But the fact remains that a wine tourist road passes through Russelheim today, every second bus with travelers goes for a walk in this town in order to buy as many different Riesling wines as possible.

The well-known Eiswein or ice wine is also made from this grape variety . This is a wine that you should definitely try if your budget allows (a small bottle can cost from 20 euros). Only one way of making it already deserves deep respect: berries are harvested from the vine, frozen in a natural way, they are pressed in a frozen state, as a result of which the sugar content in such wines increases. The taste of the drink is incomparable to anything.   Gew√ľrztraminer (German: Gew√ľrztraminer ), which is grown mainly in Alsace and the Palatinate, is also considered a no less famous variety . Wines from this variety have a very rich and spicy aroma, not without reason the word ” Gew√ľrz ” (spice) is present in the name of the variety. We also recommend trying this white wine when you are in Germany. With red grape varieties, things went worse in Germany – they are more thermophilic and took root worse on the blown Rhine slopes. Varieties currently cultivated include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Schwarzriesling and some “house” varieties. However, it is worth noting separately Trollinger (German Trollinger). The grape was bred in Tyrol, however, in the south, and since South Tyrol is now in Italy, it is nominally an Italian grape variety. This fact will be fiercely disputed by the southern Germans, as the trollinger is grown not only in the vicinity of Bolzano, but also in W√ľrttemberg.

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The same Romans brought this variety to Germany and populated the slopes of the Rhine with it, then the vines spread along the Neckar tributary river and thus moved to the south of Germany. Trollinger is now the most common red grape in W√ľrttemberg, and the town of Heilbronn even hosts an annual festival called ” Trollinger Marathon “. The wine itself is a German version of “Beaujolais Nouveau”, it matures quickly (about one year) and, accordingly, has a fresh taste.

There is also a sub-vine variety Muscat Trollinter , from which a rather complex wine is made. This grape requires a longer exposure, as well as time for ripening, however, the wine acquires a special nutmeg aroma.

What are German wines

The classification of German wines can sometimes seem strange, especially for those who do not know German. But such a classification is accepted throughout the country, and if you go to a wine cellar or cellar for something specific, then calling the data below “keywords” will get almost a 100% hit.

  • Deutscher Tafelwein is a German table wine. Grapes come from all regions. As a rule, such wine is not exported. Table wine is table wine, it is easy to drink, it has no particularly pronounced notes, but it is natural and tasty (by the way, a bottle of such wine in Germany costs only 1.5-2.5 euros).
  • Deutscher Landwein is a German local wine. Made by small wineries. It has a high quality, but a different taste from year to year, depending on the harvest. By the way, this is how small wineries differ from large factories, where wine comes in the same taste from year to year (not all, of course, but in general).
  • Qualit√§tswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) – “quality wine from a specified area”. Corresponds to the DOCG label on French wines, for example. The wine must come from one of the thirteen wine regions in Germany, and grapes from different localities cannot be mixed. The production of such wines is strictly monitored, tests are made, and only then such labeling is issued.
  • Pr√§dikatswein (previously called: QmP) is a quality wine made from selected grapes of special ripeness, the most valuable German wine.

This category includes those wines in the production of which something unusual and mysterious happens. For example, this includes the Eiswein already described above (since the grapes are harvested while still frozen), it also includes wines from “dry berries” (Trockenbeerenauslese), which are harvested already raisined, which increases the sugar content, which means that the wines are very sweet, concentrated and expensive.

If you ask Beerenauslese(“selected berries”), then you will be shown bottles of wine, also made from overripe, raisined grapes, often these berries are affected by a fungus that draws moisture out of them. These are, of course, dessert wines.

There is also simply the category Auslese(“selected”), in which the berries are selected by hand, based on the ripeness of the grapes. Apart from this, there are two more categories: Sp√§tlese(literally “late collection”) and, of course, Kabinett (cabinet). The Cabinet is assembled immediately after the QbA grape harvest, and 12-14 days after that Spatl√§se is assembled.4

To drink or not to drink wine in Germany

If you are not going to Oktoberfest , then you should definitely try good German wines! Depending on your preferences and budget, you can choose different brands and varieties.

Unfortunately, the opinion of many people about German winemaking is formed by white semi-sweet (!) Liebfraumilch wine (it is also called “Beloved Woman’s Milk”), which is mainly made for export. Export “milk” falls far short of the German wine quality law and is synonymous with “bad wine”. However, in Germany, all laws are respected, so it is possible that in the country the taste of this brand will be very different from the powdered wine from the supermarket.

And yet, while in Germany, you need to try exactly Pr√§dikatswein – that is, magic wines, the grapes for which are harvested a little later than the main collection (from “cabinet” to “dry berries”). By the way, even Liebfraumilch can, if desired, also be found in the Sp√§tlese (“late harvest”) and Auslese (“selected”) varieties, that is, already in the highest markings.

Of course, the drinking culture in Germany is not limited to a variety of beers and wines. Read more about national German drinks in our article at the link.

At the end of the conversation about alcoholic beverages, of course, we must remind you that everything is good in moderation, and excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to your health.

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