The Wines of Germany 101

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Geographical Overview
Every region is permanently defined first and foremost by its geography. The type of climate, soils, and location are fundamentally entwined with the types of wines a region is capable of producing. Germany is located at the heart of Europe and as such is quite insulated from the profound influence the Atlantic Ocean has to its west and the Mediterranean to its south. 
The vast majority of Germany’s vineyards do take what little advantage there is to be offered by the warming influence of the Atlantic and lie within about 150 miles of the western border the country shares with Belgium, Luxembourg and France. This concentration of vineyards leaves the vast majority of the country vineyard free, with the cold climate that is no surprise. Though it is surprising to think of how densely planted most other famous wine producing countries tend to be. Germany’s grand reputation is mostly due to the incredible production from the vineyards that line the steep hillsides along the Rhine and Mosel rivers, which incidentally are among the northernmost wine producing regions in the world. Bested only by vineyards in the UK,  British Columbia, and the eastern German region of Saxe and Saale-Untstrut.

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  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 833

    Nice article there GDP. What is amazing about Germany is that there are so many producers and so many great wines. Unknown producers (to US consumers) can make as great a wine as the famous producers. Exploring the wine country to find these gems is a real thrill. Finding a great wine outside of the classic Mosel and Rheingau areas is quite common and rewarding. There have been some great wines produced from the co-ops (Winzergenossenschaft & Winzerverein) as well. My favorite German producer? Frank Schiffmann, Brauneberg. But there are about 20 others that would be a close second.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM

  • Seems a little strange that you didn't list Frits Ritter, since their kabinet is one of the top selling German wines in the US, Also, Vereinigte Hospitien is one of the oldest, and in my opinion finest, vineyards in Germany. Their Scharzhofberger Auslese is, again in my opinion, in a class of it's own and easily the equal of any of the producers you have listed.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 5:33 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Zuiko, Thank you for the kind words. There are indeed many great producers in Germany, far too many to list in such a short overview.

    American Storm, Perhaps in my follow up articles on Germany 201 we'll dive deeper and cover some of the producers I've missed on this first pass.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 6:24 PM

  • The Pinot Noir wines from the Ahr valley are generally from the Fruhburgunder rather than the Spatburgunder. This is an earlier ripening version more suited to the cooler climate.

    Stephen Freeland

    Nov 22, 2013 at 5:23 AM

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