Distrikter

Tyskland har områder som er spesielt egnet for druedyrking. Den langsomme modningen gir ofte ekstra rik smak til druer og det ferdige produktet.

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Ahr

The Ahr is one of Germany's northernmost wine regions. It is also one of the smallest, with vineyards extending only 24 km/15 miles along the Ahr River as it flows toward the Rhine just south of Bonn. From Altenahr, in the west, to the spa Bad Neuenahr, the vines are perched on steep, terraced cliffs of volcanic slate. In the broad eastern end of the valley, the slopes are gentler and the soils are rich in loess. Four out of five bottles of Ahr wine are red — velvety to fiery Spätburgunder and light, charming Portugieser predominate, with plantings of Dornfelder on the rise. Lively, fresh Riesling and Müller-Thurgau are the white wines produced here.

Overview Ahr

Geographical location: The Ahr Valley on the fringe of the protective Eifel Hills.

Major town(s): Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. 

Climate: Mild and favorable, greenhouse-like in some of the steeper sites.

Soil types: Deep, rich loess in the lower Ahr Valley (eastern portion); slate, volcanic stone and rocky soils in the middle Ahr Valley (western portion).

Vineyard area (2003): 528 ha / 1305 acres · 1 district · 1 collective vineyard site · 40+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 12.3% · red 87.7%] (2003): Spätburgunder (61.7%), Portugieser (11.2%), Riesling (7%) as well as Müller-Thurgau, Dornfelder and a small quantity of the specialty Frühburgunder, a red variety.

Marketing: Most growers are members of the five cooperatives that produce and market about 75% of the region's wine. The State Wine Domain at the 12th-century monastery Kloster Marienthal is the Ahr's largest wine estate. Nearly all of the region's wine is consumed locally or sold to tourists. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Rotweinstrasse (driving), Rotweinwanderweg (hiking), Ahr-Radtour (cycling).

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Baden

Baden is the southernmost of Germany's wine regions. It is primarily a long, slim strip of vineyards nestled between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River, extending some 400 km/240 miles from north to south. Comprised of nine districts, Baden has many soil types and grape varieties. Nearly half of the vineyards are planted with Burgunder (Pinot) varieties: Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), yielding velvety to fiery red wine and refreshing Weissherbst (rosé), ranging in style from dry to slightly sweet; Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), a dry, food-compatible wine, or marketed under the synonym Ruländer to denote a richer, fuller-bodied (and sweeter) style; and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), neutral enough to accompany many foods. Spicy Gewürztraminer and the noble Riesling are specialties of the Ortenau district near Baden-Baden, where they are known as Clevner and Klingelberger, respectively. Light, mild Gutedel (synonymous with the Chasselas of France and Fendant of Switzerland) is a specialty of the Markgräflerland district between Freiburg and the Swiss border.

 

Overview Baden

Geographical location: The north-central portion of the Tauber Valley and the upper Rhine Valley adjacent to the Black Forest, stretching from Heidelberg to the Swiss border and the Bodensee (Lake Constance).
Major town(s): Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Freiburg.

Climate: Sunny and warm. The Kaiserstuhl district is Germany's warmest area.

Soil types: Shell-limestone in Tauberfranken. Elsewhere, a wide variety including keuper, loam, loess, granite, clay, limestone and sand. The Kaiserstuhl is an extinct volcano, while glacial deposits (moraine) are typical of the Bodensee district. 

Vineyard area (2003): 15,944 ha / 39,396 acres · 9 districts · 16 collective vineyard sites · 300+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 58.7% · red 41.3%] (2003): Müller-Thurgau (20.8%), Spätburgunder (35.1%), Grauburgunder, Riesling and Gutedel (ca. 7-9% each) as well as Weissburgunder, Silvaner and Gewürztraminer. 

Marketing: Most growers are members of the ca. 100 cooperatives that produce and market about 85% of the region's wine. The regional cooperative cellars in Breisach are the largest in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world. Exports play a minor role. Nearly half of production is sold in supermarkets; the other half in wine shops and restaurants, or directly to final consumers. At 35 liters in 1997, the per capita consumption of wine and sparkling wine in the Baden and Württemberg regions is the highest in Germany. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Badische Weinstrasse (driving) · the northern portion of the Romantic Road (driving) traverses the Baden portion of the Tauber Valley, as does the Main-Tauber-Fränkische Radachter (cycling) · the Castle Road (driving) passes through the Badische Bergstrasse at Heidelberg · Weinstrasse Kraichgau-Stromberg (driving) · Markgräfler Wiiwegli from Freiburg to Weil (hiking & cycling).

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Franken

Franken lies some 65 km/40 miles east of the Rhine, in Bavaria, with most of its vineyards planted on the hilly slopes lining the Main River and its tributaries.

Würzburg is home of the famed vineyard Stein, which gave rise to the generic term Steinwein, formerly used to denote all Franken wines. Fuller-bodied, less aromatic, often drier, firmer and earthier, Franconian wines are generally the most masculine of Germany's wines. Part of Franken wines' singular personality is due to the climate: cold winters, high annual rainfall, early frosts long, warm autumns are rare. As a result, the late-ripening Riesling plays a minor role. Müller-Thurgau (also called Rivaner), Silvaner and new crossings, such as Bacchus and Kerner, are the most important white varieties.

Red wine grapes thrive in the western portion of the region between Aschaffenburg and Miltenberg.The finest Franken wines are traditionally bottled in a Bocksbeutel, a squat green or brown flagon with a round body which lends considerable recognition value to the region's wines.

Overview Franken

Geographical location: East of Frankfurt on the south-facing slopes lining the Main River and its tributaries.

Major town(s): Würzburg.

Climate: Continental, with warm, dry summers and cold winters.

Soil types: Weathered, primitive rock and colored sandstone in the Spessart Hills north of Miltenberg. Shell-limestone predominates in the central district, while heavier gypsum and keuper soils are found further east, near the Steiger Forest. 

Vineyard area (2003): 6,005 ha / 14,838 acres · 3 districts · 23 collective vineyard sites · 200+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 85.6% · red 14.4%] (2003): Müller-Thurgau (36.1%), Silvaner (20.7%), Bacchus (12.4%) as well as Kerner, Riesling, Spätburgunder, Scheurebe and a small quantity of the specialty Rieslaner, a white variety. 

Marketing: The regional cooperative cellars in Kitzingen and smaller cooperatives produce and market about 40% of the region's wine, the remainder is handled by private and state-owned estates. Exports play a minor role. Four out of five bottles of Franken wine are consumed within a 250-km/155-mile radius of where it is produced. 

Signposted routes through wine country: There is no officially signposted Franconian Wine Road. The Romantic Road (driving) passes through the Franconian portion of the Tauber Valley, and the Main-Tauber-Fränkische Radachter (cycling) route includes wine villages northwest and southeast of Würzburg.

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Hessische Bergstraße

The tiny region Hessische Bergstrasse takes its name from an old Roman trade route known as the strata montana, or mountain road.

It is a pretty landscape of vines and orchards scattered on hilly slopes famous for its colorful and fragrant springtime blossoms, the earliest in Germany. Riesling and Müller-Thurgau account for two-thirds of the area under vine. The wines tend to be fragrant and rich, with more body and an acidity and finesse similar to those of the Rheingau.

Overview Hessische Bergstrasse

Geographical location: Bordered by the Rhine on the west and the protective Oden Forest on the east, the Hessische Bergstrasse extends from Darmstadt to just north of Heidelberg. The region also boasts a small "island of wine" near Gross-Umstadt on the eastern outskirts of Frankfurt.

Major town(s): Bensheim, Heppenheim.

Climate: Ample sunshine and sufficient precipitation for vines to thrive.

Soil types: The soils are varied, ranging (north to south) from porphyry-quartz to weathered granite to sand and loess-loam. 

Vineyard area (2003): 444 ha / 1,097 acres · 2 districts · 3 collective vineyard sites · 20+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 84% · red 16%] (2003): Riesling (50.6%), Müller-Thurgau (9.2%), Grauburgunder (8.3%) as well as Silvaner, Spätburgunder, Kerner and Weissburgunder.

Marketing: Well over half of the region's wine-growers deliver their grapes to the regional cooperative cellars in Heppenheim. The State Wine Domain in Bensheim is the region's largest vineyard owner. Given the small size of the region, Bergstrasse wines are scarce and almost without exception consumed locally.

Signposted routes through wine country: The route B-3 (driving) traverses the length of the Bergstrasse. The Bergsträsser Weinlagenweg (hiking) is a marked path through the vineyards from Zwingenberg to Heppenheim.

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Mittelrhein

The stretch of the Rhine Valley between Bonn and Bingen known as the Rhine Gorge. Beginning just below Bonn and extending about 100 km/60 miles south along the banks of the Rhine, the Mittelrhein is a beautiful region of steep, terraced vineyards and some of the wine world's most splendid scenery - medieval castles and ruins clinging to rocky peaks, sites of ancient legends where Siegfried, Hagen and the Loreley seem to spring to life. Nearly three-fourths of the vineyards are planted with the noble Riesling grape. The clayish slate soil yields lively wines with a pronounced acidity. In years when the wines are particularly austere, they are sold to the producers of Sekt , Germany's sparkling wine, where high acidity is an asset.

Overview Mittelrhein

Geographical location: The stretch of the Rhine Valley between Bonn and Bingen known as the Rhine Gorge.

Major town(s): Koblenz (confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers), Boppard, Oberwesel, Bacharach, Bingen (confluence of the Nahe and Rhine rivers). 

Climate: The steep hillsides of the valley protect the vines from cold winds and there is ample sunshine. The Rhine serves as a large, heat-reflecting surface.

Soil types: Primarily clayish slate and greywacke. 

Vineyard area (2003): 495 ha / 1,223 acres · 2 districts · 11 collective vineyard sites · 100+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 86.9% · red 13.1% (2003): Riesling (69.1%), Müller-Thurgau (6.6%), Spätburgunder (7.8%) 

Marketing: About one quarter of the region's wine is produced by seven cooperative cellars. As in the Ahr, nearly all of the wine is consumed locally or sold to visitors. 

Signposted routes through wine country: The routes B-9 and B-42 (driving) run on either side of and parallel to the Rhine. There are two hillside routes (driving) that offer views: the Rheingoldstrasse through the Hunsrück Hills, from Rhens to Niederheimbach, and the Loreley-Burgenstrasse through the Taunus Hills, from Kaub to the Loreley and from St. Goarshausen to Kamp-Bornhofen. Two signposed trails (hiking) on either side of the Rhine are the Weinwanderweg, between St. Goar and Trechtingshausen, and the Rhein-Wein-Wanderweg, between Kaub and Kamp-Bornhofen.

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Mosel

The Mosel Valley, a gorge the river carved between the Hunsrück and Eifel hills, and the valleys of its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer rivers.

The Mosel River is the sinuous spine of the Mosel region, changing direction so often as it flows northeast toward the Rhine that it meanders nearly 250 km/150 miles, to cover about half that distance as the crow flies. Together with its two small tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, the Mosel composes one geographical entity. Although each river's vineyard area produces a wine with its own distinctive personality, the three share a family resemblance: a fragrance reminiscent of spring blossoms, a pale color, light body and a refreshing, fruity acidity. To add to their charm, they often have the slightest hint of effervescence. Most display their finest charms in youth; the late- and selectively-harvested wines merit aging. Along the serpentine route of the Mosel, the river banks rise so sharply that the vineyards carpeting these slopes are among the steepest in the world, with some planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient. On these precipitous inclines, nearly all labor must be done by hand. That includes tying each vine to its own eight-foot wooden stake, and carrying up the slate soil that has washed down with the winter rains.

Overview Mosel

Geographical location: The Mosel Valley, a gorge the river carved between the Hunsrück and Eifel hills, and the valleys of its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer rivers.

Major town(s): Koblenz (confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers), Cochem, Zell, Bernkastel, Piesport, Trier.

Climate: Optimal warmth and precipitation in the steep sites and valleys.

Soil types: Clayish slate and greywacke in the lower Mosel Valley (northern section); Devonian slate in the steep sites and sandy, gravelly soil in the flatlands of the middle Mosel Valley; primarily shell-limestone (chalky soils) in the upper Mosel Valley (southern section, parallel with the border of Luxembourg).

Vineyard area (2003): 9,533 ha / 23,555 acres · 6 districts · 19 collective vineyard sites · 500+ individual sites

Grape varieties [white 91.7% · red 8.3%] (2003): Riesling (56.8%), Müller-Thurgau (16.1%), Elbling (7.2%) an ancient variety cultivated by the Romans and because of its pronounced acidity, often used as a base wine for Sekt, Germany's sparkling wine as well as Kerner, Bacchus and Spätburgunder.

Marketing: About one fifth of the region's grape harvest is handled by the regional cooperative cellars in Bernkastel-Kues. Overall, the producers of bottled wine are cooperatives (13%), estates (28%) and commercial wineries (59%). The latter also bottle and market a healthy quantity of wines from other German wine-growing regions (e.g. the Pfalz and Rheinhessen) as well as less expensive, imported wines. Much of this production is exported. Nevertheless, direct sales to final consumers is an important sales outlet for smaller growers, who benefit from the region's tourism. Zell, Bernkastel and Piesport are among the few German appellations of origin with a recognition value far beyond their borders.

Signposted routes through wine country: Mosel Weinstrasse (driving) · Moselhöhenweg (hiking trails on both sides of the river) · Römische Weinstrasse (driving) from Leiwen to Schweich · Elbling Route (driving) from Konz to Perl, parallel with the Luxembourg border

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Nahe

The Nahe region is named after the river that traverses the valleys of the forested Hunsrück Hills as it gently flows toward Bingen on the Rhine.

It is a peaceful landscape of vineyards, orchards and meadows interspersed with cliffs and striking geological formations. Although the Nahe is one of the smaller German wine regions, its extraordinary range of soil types is second to none. For this reason, the region is able to produce quite diverse wines from relatively few grape varieties. The steeper sites of volcanic or weathered stone, and those with red, clayish slate seem predestined for elegant, piquant Riesilng wines of great finesse and a light spiciness, while flatter sites of loam, loess and sandy soils yield lighter, fragrant Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner) wines with a flowery note. The Silvaner grape thrives in a number of soils and produces full-bodied, earthy wines.

Overview Nahe

Geographical location: In the Hunsrück Hills between the Rhine and Mosel valleys. Vineyards are on or near the banks of the Nahe River and its tributaries, the Glan and the Alsenz, as well as the streams north and west of Bad Kreuznach (Gräfenbach, Guldenbach, Trollbach and Ellerbach).

Major town(s): the spas Bad Kreuznach, Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Bad Sobernheim.

Climate: Mild and balanced, with little frost.

Soil types: The entire rock cycle of igneous (volcanic), sedimentary (sandstone, clay, limestone) and metamorphic (slate) rocks is present in the Nahe. 

Vineyard area (2003): 4,221 ha / 10,430 acres · 1 district · 7 collective vineyard sites · 300+ individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 77.3% · red 22.7%] (2003): Riesling (25.1%), Müller-Thurgau (15.6%), Dornfelder (10.1%) as well as Silvaner, Kerner, Scheurebe, Bacchus and the red varieties Spätburgunder, Portugieser.

Marketing: A high proportion of the region's wine is sold directly to consumers by individual estates. The portfolio of the world's largest direct marketing winery, WIV in Burg Layen, includes Nahe wine. There are cooperative cellars in Meddersheim and Bretzenheim (the latter receives members' grapes; the wines are produced and marketed by the Mosel's regional cooperatives cellars), but their role in the Nahe is less significant than that of cooperative cellars in other regions (e.g. Baden, Württemberg, Franken). 

Signposted routes through wine country: Nahe-Weinstrasse (driving) · Weinwanderweg Nahe (hiking) · Radweg Nahe (cycling)

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Pfalz

Bordered by Rheinhesen on the north and France on the south and west, the Pfalz's vineyards sweep across this remarkably pretty, peaceful land for nearly 80 uninterrupted kilometers (50 miles).

It is Germany's second largest wine region in acreage, but often has the largest crop of all. The word Pfalz is a derivation of the Latin word palatium, meaning palace. The English equivalent, Palatinate, is sometimes used to refer to the Pfalz. Modern technology and viticultural training have made their mark here in the past four decades. Yet for the visitor driving through the sea of vines along the German Wine Road, the scene is still pastoral with the tree-covered Haardt mountain range, castle ruins, fruit trees, and old walled villages of half-timbered houses. The Pfalz is second only to the Mosel in acreage planted with the noble Riesling grape. Here, it yields wines of substance and finesse, with a less austere acidity than their Mosel counterparts. Pleasant, mild white wines rich in bouquet and full of body are produced from Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner and Scheurebe grapes, while smooth, fruity red wine is made from the Portugieser grape. In response to the growing demand for red wine, there are many new plantings of Dornfelder, which produces a deep-colored wine that can be quite complex, depending on the winemaking techniques employed.

 

Overview Pfalz

Geographical location: Between the densely forested Haardt Mountains (an extension of the Vosges) and the Rhine plain, extending from south of Worms all the way to the French border. Major town(s): Bad Dürkheim, Neustadt, Landau.

Climate: Hoher Anteil an Sonnentagen; Temperaturmittel bei 11 Grad

Soil types: Loam is prevalent, often in a mixture with other soil types, such as loess, chalk, clay, colored sandstone or sand.

Vineyard area (2003): 23,394 ha / 57,804 acres · 2 districts · 25 collective vineyard sites · 300+ individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 62.2% · red 37.8%] (2003): Riesling (20.4%), Dornfelder (13.2%), Müller-Thurgau (12.2%), Portugieser (10.7%) as well as Kerner, Silvaner, Scheurebe, Spätburgunder, Morio-Muskat, Weissburgunder and a small quantity of the specialty Gewürztraminer. 

Marketing: About a third of the region's wine is sold directly to consumers and half is marketed through commercial wineries and some two dozen cooperative cellars. The Pfalz is an important supplier of the components for Liebfraumilch, much of which is bottled by large wineries in other regions and most of which is exported.

Signposted routes through wine country: Deutsche Weinstrasse (driving) · Wanderweg Deutsche Weinstrasse (hiking)

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Rheingau

The Rheingau is one of the most distinguished wine regions of the world. Moving from east to west, the fairly flat, dimpled landscape evolves into progressively steep slopes. It is a quietly beautiful region, rich in tradition. Early on, its medieval ecclesiastical and aristocratic wine-growers were associated with the noble Riesling grape and, in the 18th century, were credited for recognizing of the value of harvesting the crop at various stages of ripeness from which the Prädikate, or special attributes that denote wines of superior quality, evolved. Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for Hochheim's wines contributed to their popularity in England, where they, and ultimately, Rhine wines in general, were referred to as Hock. The world-renowned oenological research and teaching institutes in Geisenheim have contributed significantly to the extraordinarily high level of technical competence in the German wine industry today. Two grape varieties predominate: the Riesling and the Spätburgunder. The former yields elegant wines with a refined and sometimes spicy fragrance; a fruity, pronounced acidity; and a rich flavor. The Spätburgunder wines are velvety and medium- to full-bodied, with a bouquet and taste often compared with blackberries.

Overview Rheingau

Geographical location: The Rhine Valley, along the 50° of latitude. The region is practically one long hillside on the northern bank of the river on its 30-km (20-mile) east-west journey from Wicker and Hochheim (near the confluence of the Main and Rhine rivers) to the river's bend at Rüdesheim and beyond, to the border with the Mittelrhein at Lorchhausen. 

Major town(s): Wiesbaden, Eltville, Rüdesheim. 

Climate: Mild winters and warm summers. The vineyards are protected from cold winds by the forest-capped Taunus Hills and benefit from the heat-reflecting surface of the Rhine.

Soil types: Although the region is compact, there are many kinds of soil, including chalk, sand, gravel, all types of clay, loess, quartzite and slate. 
Vineyard area (2003): 3,167 ha / 7,825 acres · 1 district · 10 collective vineyard sites · 100+ individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 84.4% · red 15.6%] (2003): Riesling (78.2%), Spätburgunder (12.7%), Müller-Thurgau (1.9%) as well as Ehrenfelser, Kerner and Weissburgunder. 

Marketing: Compared with other German wine regions, the Rheingau has a high proportion of full-time wine-growers; sales of bottled, rather than bulk, wine predominate; and much of the region's wine is sold directly to consumers. The region enjoys a broad domestic and international following. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Rheingauer Riesling Route (driving) · Rheingauer Riesling Pfad (hiking) · Rheingauer Radwanderweg (cycling)

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Rheinhessen

Germany's largest wine region, Rheinhessen, lies in a valley of gentle rolling hills. While vines are virtually a monoculture in the Rheingau or along the Mosel, they are but one of many crops that share the fertile soils of this region's vast farmlands. Steep vineyard sites are confined to small areas near Bingen and south of Mainz along the Rhein Terrasse. Varied soils and the favorable climate make it possible to grow many grape varieties, old and new. In fact, many of Germany's aromatic, early-ripening new crossings were bred in Rheinhessen by Professor Georg Scheu, after whom the Scheurebe grape is named (pronounced "shoy"). The region boasts the world's largest acreage planted with the ancient variety Silvaner and is the birthplace of Liebfraumilch, the soft, mellow white wine originally made from grapes grown in vineyards surrounding the Liebfrauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, in Worms. Rheinhessen wines are often characterized as being soft, fragrant, medium-bodied and mild in acidity - pleasant, easy-to-drink wines. There are also wines of great class and elegance, with a depth and complexity second to none.

Overview Rheinhessen

Geographical location: The Rhine Valley, bordered on the west by the Nahe River and on the north and east by the Rhine. 

Major town(s): Mainz, Worms, Alzey, Bingen. 

Climate: Mild. The region is ringed by protective hills and forests: in the west, the forested, hilly countryside known as Rheinhessen's Switzerland; in the north, the Taunus Hills; in the east, the Oden Forest.

Soil types: Loess, limestone and loam, often mixed with sand or gravel, are the main soil types. Rotliegendes is a red, slaty-sandy clay soil in the steep riverfront vineyards of Nackenheim and Nierstein and near Bingen, there is an outcropping of quartzite-slate. 

Vineyard area (2003): 26,171 ha / 65,666 acres · 3 districts · 24 collective vineyard sites · 400+ individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 71.2% · red 28.8%] (2003): Müller-Thurgau (18%), Dornfelder (12.5%), Silvaner (10.3%), Riesling (10.1%) as well as many new crossings, e.g. Kerner, Scheurebe, Bacchus, Faberrebe and Huxelrebe, and the red varieties Portugieser, and Spätburgunder.

Marketing: There are a large number of part-time wine-growers in the region who sell grapes or bulk wine to commerical wineries and producer associations who make and/or bottle and market the wine. Because of the large number of individual sites, about half the region's wine is marketed under the name of a few collective sites (e.g. Niersteiner Gutes Domtal, Oppenheimer Krötenbrunnen). About one third of all Rheinhessen wine is exported, not least because it is the primary supplier of the components for Liebfraumilch.

Signposted routes through wine country: There is no officially signposted Rheinhessen Wine Road. (One explanation is that nearly every village in the region is involved with wine and hence, all roads are "wine roads.") The road parallel to the Rhine (B-9) from Mainz to Worms is known locally as the Liebfrauenstrasse.

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Saale-Unstrut

Vines have been cultivated since AD 998 on the hillsides lining the Saale and Unstrut rivers which lend their name to the small, but growing, Saale-Unstrut region.

It is among the northernmost of Europe's traditional wine regions. Due to this, and the cooler climate, the weather is more variable than in the regions to the west. As such, many of the vines are planted on labor-intensive stone terraces that help temper the climate. Yields are low and Spätlese or Auslese can be produced only in exceptionally warm years. The wines are labelled as varietals and, with the exception of extremely rare dessert wines, all wines are vinified dry and have a refreshing acidity.

Overview Saale-Unstrut

Geographical location: Situated on the 51° of latitude, in the valleys of the Saale and Unstrut rivers about equidistant between Weimar and Leipzig. About 30 km /19 miles to the north is a small island of vines near Eisleben, where Martin Luther was born and died.

Major town(s): Freyburg, Naumburg, Bad Kösen. 

Climate: Continental, with warm, dry summers and cold winters.

Soil types: Shell-limestone and colored sandstone.

Vineyard area (2003): 652 ha / 1,611 acres · 2 districts · 4 collective vineyard sites · 18 individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 76.2% · red 23.8%] (2003): Müller-Thurgau (21.8%), Silvaner (8.7%), Weissburgunder (11.7%) as well as Kerner, Riesling and Traminer (ca. 6% each). Portugieser is the main red variety, followed by Spätburgunder and Dornfelder. 

Marketing: Most of the region's vines are tended by part-time wine-growers who deliver their crop to the regional cooperative cellars in Freyburg. There are 14 private wine estates that produce and sell their own wine. The state-owned cellars "Kloster Pforta," named after the 12th-century monastery between Bad Kösen and Naumburg, is the region's largest estate. The amount of wine produced annually varies tremendously, depending on weather conditions, and nearly all of it is consumed locally. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Weinstrasse (driving) [sections of the wine road are identical with the Romanesque Road, with signs leading to historical castles and churches] · Wanderweg (hiking) · Radwanderweg (cycling)

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Sachsen

Sachsen is Germany's easternmost and smallest wine-growing region. Its recorded viticultural history dates from 1161 and parallels that of other wine regions, where the Church and the aristocracy were the primary medieval property owners and responsible for the development of the vineyards. In addition to viticulture, their legacy includes a wealth of art and architectural gems throughout the region. Most of the vineyards are between Dresden and Diesbar-Seusslitz, the northern end of the Saxon Wine Road. A few vineyards are being restored on the southern outskirts of Dresden and further south, in Pillnitz and Pirna, the gateway to Saxon's Switzerland. Many of the small parcels are planted on steep, labor-intensive stone terraces. The proximity of the Elbe River helps temper the climate, but given this northerly location and growing conditions similar to those of Saale-Unstrut, it is not surprising that the early-ripening Müller-Thurgau predominates. Here, too, the wines are marketed as varietals and nearly always vinified dry.

Overview Sachsen

Geographical location: In the upper Elbe Valley, along the 51° of latutide. The region extends some 55 km/ 34 miles north and south of Dresden. About 100 km/62 miles to the north are a few patches of vines not far from Wittenberg, where Martin Luther posted his famous theses in 1517.

Major town(s): Dresden, Meissen, Radebeul. 

Climate: Continental, with warm, dry summers and cold winters.

Soil types: The steepest slopes are of weathered granite and gneiss, with loess or sand deposits in some of the vineyards.

Vineyard area (2003): 446 ha / 1,102 acres · 2 districts · 4 collective vineyard sites · 17 individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 85% · red 15%] (2003): Müller-Thurgau (20.9%), Riesling (15.9%), Weissburgunder (12.6%), Grauburgunder, Traminer, Kerner, Elbling and Scheurebe, as well as a small quantity of the specialty Goldriesling, are the most important white varieties. Spätburgunder and Dornfelder are the primary red varieties.

Marketing: Most of the region's vines are tended by part-time wine-growers who deliver their crop to the regional cooperative cellars in Meissen. There are a handful of private wine estates that produce and sell their own wine. The state-owned cellars in historic Schloss Wackerbarth (1730) in Radebeul and the region's oldest estate at Schloss Proschwitz (privately owned) are Sachsen's largest estates. Saxon wines are rarities, available in very limited quantities, and nearly all are consumed locally. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Sächsische Weinstrasse (driving), which is also the starting point for many a Wanderweg durch die Weinberge (hiking trail through the vineyards) · Elberadweg (cycling

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Württemberg

Apart from the urban centers of Stuttgart and Heilbronn, Württemberg is a rural, hilly countryside with vineyards and orchards scattered amidst forests and fields.

Most of the terraced vineyards of the past have been reorganized to improve efficiency. However, a number still exist, notably the so-called "cliff gardens" near the Neckar's scenic loops between Besigheim and Mundelsheim. With more than half of its vineyards planted with red wine varieties, Württemberg ranks as Germany's premier red wine region. The main variety is Trollinger, seldom found outside of this region, followed by Schwarzriesling, also known as Müllerrebe or Pinot Meunier, and Lemberger. An additional 919 ha / 2,270 acres are planted with Spätburgunder, Dornfelder and Portugieser. Much of the wine is light, fruity and easy to enjoy; but deep-colored, rich, full-bodied red wine with great class is also produced here. Riesling is an important variety in Württemberg, accounting for nearly a quarter of the vineyard area, followed by Kerner and Müller-Thurgau. Kerner, a crossing of Trollinger and Riesling, was bred at the region's oenological research and teaching institute in Weinsberg. In general, the wines are hearty and full-bodied, with a vigorous acidity.

Overview Württemberg

Geographical location: East of the Rhine and Baden, between the Tauber Valley and the foothills of the Swabian Jura. The vineyards are located primarily along the valleys of the Neckar River and its tributaries, the Enz and the Rems, north and east of Stuttgart.

Major town(s): Stuttgart, Heilbronn. 

Climate: Mild temperatures; the hills of the Black Forest and Swabian Jura are protective and the rivers help temper the climate.

Soil types: The soils are varied and include shell-limestone, keuper, marl, loess and clay.

Vineyard area (2003): 11,459 ha / 28,314 acres · 6 districts · 16 collective vineyard sites · 200+ individual sites 

Grape varieties [white 30.8% · red 69.2%] (2003): Riesling (19.1%), Trollinger (22.4%), Schwarzriesling (16.5%),Lemberger (11.7%), Spätburgunder (10.3%), as well as Kerner, Müller-Thurgau,  and Silvaner. 

Marketing: Four out of five growers cultivate less than one ha / 2.5 acres of vines. As such, most are members of cooperatives. The regional cooperative cellars in Möglingen process 80% of an average harvest, including the grapes from 36 local cooperatives. An additional 32 local cooperatives make and market their own wine. Exports play a minor role and indeed, very little wine is sold outside of the region. The local inhabitants are thirsty, loyal customers. At 35 liters in 1997, the per capita consumption of wine and sparkling wine in the Baden and Württemberg regions is the highest in Germany. 

Signposted routes through wine country: Schwäbische Weinstrasse (driving) · Weinstrasse Kraichgau-Stromberg (driving) · Radweg Schwäbische Weinstrasse (cycling)

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