Ah, Germany. A Land of beer, pretzels, and wurst. While I love beer and pretzels, (wurst not so much unless it’s a vegan version) I’m not here today to talk about any of those things. Instead, I want to talk about German wine. The regions, what they make, and some important things to know about these incredible wines.
Germany has some incredible wines and is a country that I feel doesn’t get enough credit. Though, when you are so close to France and Italy, it’s easy to be overshadowed. Nothing personal Germany you just made your name in beer more so than wine. Aber naja, soweiso!
Germany has a wine history dating back to 100BC. That’s quite a significant amount of time, so as you can imagine they’ve revamped it quite a bit to perfect its quality. It’s something they take pride in. I mean, fermenting is a science and Germans are definitely great in that area. And with a few schools specifically focusing on mastering brewing and fermenting, Germany has incredible talent working in their gorgeous wine regions to create incredible quality.
So where are these regions you may ask?
Vineyards are all over Germany but you will find most in the Southwest of Germany, especially near the border of France with the Rhine river. You have the Rheingau, Mittelrhein, Ahr, Mosel, Nahe, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, and Hess.
Slightly to the East of this you also have Franken, Wurttemberg, and Hess Berstr. And farther to the East you find Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut.
And what kind of wines are they making here?
Germany’s most famous wine goes to the luxurious Riesling (which is sometimes why I think Germany is underrated in the wine world). Too often people have tried a Riesling that was too sweet that put them off of trying it again. Truthfully though Germany has many more great varietals to offer, not to mention that German Rieslings are not all super sweet.
With regards to white grapes Germany also produces Chardonnay, Muller-Thurgau, Grauburgunder (or Pinot Grigio), Muskat, Silvaner, Weissburgunder (also known as Pinot Blanc in France) and several more but those are the typical whites.
For reds you’ll find Spätburgunder (or Pinot Noir), Gewürztraminer, Dornfelder, and Portugieser. While white wine dominates in Germany, red wine has moved up to being 1/3 of the grapes grown in Germany.
For those who don’t speak German there are a few words to look out for on the bottles of German wines that may help you decide on which is best for you.
Trocken and Halbtrocken – these basically just mean dry and half-dry.
Sekt – sparkling.
Sussreserve – a process in which they add in grape juice before it was fermented to sweeten it. This is not common these days but still exists.
Suss (Suβ) – sweet.
There is also the VDP to look out for, which stands for The Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates). This association is all about holding certain standards for wine, stricter than Germany’s Government laws if you can imagine, and are “committed to terroir driven viticulture at the highest level”. There are four classifications which include:
VDP Grosse Lage
The very best vineyards in Germany. Incredible soils planted with traditional grapes specifically for that region.
VDP Erste Lage
First-class vineyards with distinct potential.
Village wines growing wines suited for that region.
Entry level estate wines that hold the requirements for the VDP laws.
These are just very brief overviews of the classifications, but basically, they’re all tremendously delicious with exceptional quality.
And I thought learning the German language was hard, finding more info on German wine is just as difficult! In any case, I feel like this information is a really good starting point for those who don’t know too much about Deutscher Wein. It’s complex, it’s underrated, and it’s oh so delicious.
Ready to pour yourself a glass of German wine now? If you’re still not convinced that not all German wines are not sweet then just plan on eating a spicy meal as sweet wines pair perfectly with spicy food. But trust me, the more you explore German wines the more there is to love!
Tschüss und Prost!