German Wines - Leading the Field Again Worldwide

Winegrowing regions

Germany’s winegrowing regions are among the most northerly in the world. That is what makes German wines so distinctive: the grapes enjoy long periods of growth in moderate summer heat, which gives the wines their renowned lightness and fruity aroma. Except for two regions in eastern Germany, all the country’s winegrowing areas are in the south and south-west, where they are subject to the mild Gulf Stream climate from the west and the dry continental climate from the east. The grapes are less sweet than similar grapes in neighbouring southern European countries and produce delicate wines with a lower alcohol content.

Weinberg in Volkach Suurenda pilti (© picture-alliance/ dpa) German winegrowingsaw its first heyday in the early Middle Ages. The Thirty Years War led to its near-collapse, and it was not until the eighteenth century that winegrowing enjoyed a renaissance in Germany. It was the monasteries that passed on their long-accumulated knowledge to the winegrowers, thus helping to permanently establish German wines. And even today there are some monastery vineyards – albeit under secular management – producing top German wines of international acclaim.

German grapesand the diversity of German wines today

Many of the names of German wines are confined to Germany. This is particularly true of the white Riesling, the white Müller-Thurgau (also known as Rivaner) and the red Spätburgunder. Two wines that have also attained great popularity in recent years are the white Silvaner and the red Dornfelder. Some fifty different grape varieties are of importance in the German wine industry, 70 per cent of them white and 30 per cent red.

The new generation of German winegrowers

For the last couple of years, a new breeze has been blowing through Germany’s vineyards. The “new generation” of winegrowers are adopting new approaches and pursuing fresh goals on their inherited soils. Optimally trained winegrowers with winegrowing experience in the Old and New World, equipped with state-of-the-art technology for their vineyards and wine-cellars, are producing more world-class wines than ever before. The major boom in exports, especially to the United States and Japan, is evidence of these successful changes. Today, German wines regularly win top awards at trade fairs, exhibitions and international wine-tasting events. In 2004, the prize for the world’s best white wine producer went to Germany.

Are the Germans beer or wine drinkers?

Glas Bier Suurenda pilti (© Today, Germans drink more wine than beer. With an annual per capita wine consumption of 23.5 litres, Germany ranks fourth worldwide, after France, Italy and the USA.

Just as German wine culture today displays a modern face and is an integral part of Germans’ lifestyle in the twenty-first century, German cuisine has also changed. Light and cosmopolitan, it ranks second, in terms of international awards, after France. Good wine and modern cuisine are made for one another.