Germany: Wine History and Wine Regions
By Go2 Winery
While it is completely under speculation when the first wine was made, it is believed that grape vines have been on earth for over 130 million years. As far as the evidence goes, it is estimated that wine was first made by humans about 8,000 years ago, although they were vastly different from what they are today. In Germany, wine has been produced since 100 BC, around the time of the ancient Romans. After they conquered lands that are now known as Germany, the Romans began cultivating grapes. During the Middle Ages, Germany saw its first origins of wine production when special monastic orders were established in the best vineyards.
Owing to the meticulous and thorough care of wines and vines, German viticulture has always been regarded as one of the finest in the world. With the expansion of the Catholic Church in the region, the vineyards initially belonged to the church. They were then divided and sold separately to private individuals. Despite these changes, the vineyards were always well taken care and continued to produce the finest wines in the region.
Another thing that makes German wines a lot different from other countries is their labels. With long intimidating names designed in ornate gothic calligraphy, German wines are known for their trademark dark designs in all their varieties. Beautifully contrasting the light and delicate aromas of the wines themselves, most German labels are difficult for beginners to study and are amongst the most descriptive of all wine regions in the world. Most labels in Germany are named after the town or river near the vineyard and can sometimes be difficult to pronounce.
What makes German wines unique?
Germany is known for its signature delicate white wines. The northern wine regions of Germany produce light, delicate and lovely blends of white wine that are known for their subtle nuances and low alcohol content. With perfect balance of flavor and taste, German white wines are unique and the grape varieties grown in this region cannot be relocated or grown in any other climate or soil composition. The types of wine made in Germany are diverse but are closely related in many ways. Some of the most popular German wines include Riesling, Mosel, Rhine, and Silvaner. Apart from these popular brands, Germany is also known for the late harvested wines that are served directly at local restaurants.
Most German wines are known for their light and delightful flavor palette and are usually ready for consumption once bought. The best type of German wines to buy includes those that are not older than 5 years as most varieties from this region are consumed early. Known for their fresh and youthful flavors, most German wines are best consumed within five to seven years of bottling. Some varieties like Spatlese and Auslese peak between 7-10 years of making the wine. Even wines from Rhine and Rheingau take a few years to mature completely, but reach their peak fairly quickly. The Riesling wines are counted as one of the most delicate wines from Germany.
German wine producing regions
Vineyards in Germany account for over 103,000 hectares where many types of white and red wines are produced in 13 unique wine regions. Each wine region in the country boasts a unique climate and geography and has unique blends of white or red wine associated with them.
- Hessische Bergstraße
Most wine regions that are considered classic Germany are named after river valleys, slopes and other geographical descriptions. It is no secret that most of Germany’s best wines come from Riesling grapes with a few exceptions like the Schuerebes, Gewurztraminers and Rieslaners in Pfalz, and Valckenberg from Rheinhessen. Mosel is home to delicate, crispy and racy Rieslings that hold undertones of citrus, green apple and have floral notes. Slightly warmer regions like Rheingau yield strong wines while vineyards in Nahe boast balanced and mineral based Rieslings that are known for their finesse and elegance.
One of the biggest wine growing regions in Germany is Pfalz and is also the warmest. With a great diversity in soil, grape varieties and microclimates, Pfalz yields an interesting range of wines. The most common varieties of wines that emerge from this region include dry white wines as well as Pinot Noir. While these are the most popular wines in the world, several relatively unknown yet acclaimed wine regions include Franken, Baden, Ahr, as well as Wurttemberg that are rarely seen in popular international markets.
Helping connect communities and business owners to the wine industry.
Tracy Lee Thomas
All We Do Is Wine
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