The Wines of Germany 101

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The history of winemaking in Germany goes back to the invasions of the Romans, who brought with them the knowledge of winemaking and their wine drinking culture. In the first century BC winemaking was already established in Germany and prime vineyard sites had been established. Some of these same sites continue to produce highly regarded wine to this day. 
Given the climate and the poor soils Germany contends with those vineyards have been producing roughly the same wines, white wines that may or may not ferment to dryness, for millennia. Combined with what seems to be an innate German desire for order,  you have some of the more complex and certainly longest lasting regulations governing a wine industry anywhere. Consider that Piesporter is home to a press dating from the fourth century AD one can see that the Germans have had ample time to distill all their efforts into layers of rules and regulations. This does make reading a German wine label a bit of a challenge, though we have an easy guide for that. Deciphering German wine labels 

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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 238,748

    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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