The Wines of Germany 101
Taking a look at the where, what, whys and whens of Germany
The German wine industry has undergone a remarkable renaissance since the end of World War Two. Rising from the ashes of that devastating conflict, the German wine industry has rebuilt itself several times since. The first incarnation peaked in the mid 1970s when Liebfraumilch, Blue Nun and Black Tower were notable commercial successes. These wines, originally modest but attractive, gently sweet wine typical of what was consumed domestically, soon fell victim to their own popularity as they became debased with lower quality wines, turning into the rather insipid examples of German wine that many are familiar with.
It took roughly another two decades for the Germans to repair the damage these brands had done to their sweet wines. By the mid 1990s Germany was once being recognized for their remarkable wines, Rieslings in particular and the medium sweet ones at that. Global warming, which has robbed many of these wines of their delicacy, and a changing domestic palate that began to favor drier wines served as the impetus for the last significant change to the German wine scene: the rise of the dry wines and their accompanying classification schemes.
One other development worth noting is the very strong growth of organic and biodynamic farming within Germany. While these methods may be practised by a relatively small percentage of producers, it is a larger percentage than in many other wine producing regions, and these producers are often noteworthy and serving as inspiration for many others in the wine industry.