Over a period of more then 15 years, the Wein‑Plus Wine Guide has established a reputation for its strict and independent wine reviews. Marcus Hofschuster, our head taster and editor in chief, has a precise view of the wines of around 5500 leading wine producers in Europe.
Interesting wines off the beaten mainstream path, wines with an unmistakeable character! Our head taster Marcus Hofschuster personally selects these wines from around 12,000 wines tasted each year: objectively, independently and without any trade interests.
As a member of Wein‑Plus you will profit from benefits we have negotiated with our cooperation partners in the world of wine – and these have a real cash value for you. These offers are exclusively for your benefit: Wein‑Plus receives no fees or commissions from ist partners – and that’s a promise.
Benefit from a significantly higher presence, increased awareness of your products, unbeatable top conditions at important branch service providers as well as useful, up-to-date and comprehensive information on wine and the wine sector.
Germany or the area that belongs to it today has more than two thousand years old wine culture. But already before, imported wine was drunk, which was one in one Grave found Greek wine bottle from clay from around 400 BC Chr. Proves. The oldest vineyards were on the shores of Rhein , Neckar and Mosel , These rivers with their elongated valleys, as well as their tributaries are still the classic growing areas today. Viticulture was founded by the colonization of the Greeks in Gaul and then brought to perfection by Roman culture. By the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), the Roman viticulture of the Rhônetal to the Rhine.
The Roman emperor Probus (232-282) contributed to the further expansion of vineyards through promotional measures. In the 5th century, viticulture was already so widespread in the area of present-day Germany that Chlodwig (466-511) issued the so-called "Salic Law", which criminalized the theft of a vine. In the 6th and 7th centuries, viticulture spread to southern and northern Germany. The Frankish king Dagobert I (610-639) is documented as donor of vineyards or monasteries testifies. A viticulture in the Pfalz is by a document king Siegbert III. dating back to 653 and in the 8th century, well over a hundred wine-growing communities in the Palatinate are mentioned.
Emperor Karl der Große (742-814) gave important impulses for the viticulture, because he had cleared dense forests and planted with vines from Hungary, Italy, Spain, Lorraine and Champagne. He issued his first laws on winemaking and gave permission for the self-produced wine Buschenschanken for sale. Decisive for a cultivated viticulture were the , who founded thousands of monasteries throughout Europe and was involved in a professional way , Varietal selection and winemaking employed. In 1136 twelve monks founded Burgund the famous monastery Eberbach in the Rheingau. Within the next 100 years, between Worms and Cologne, 200 branches were established on the Rhein , In the 12th and 13th centuries, the monastery with its offshoots was, so to speak, the largest viticulture company in the world. First, the monks from Burgundy planted vineyards, especially red wines. But they soon realized that white wines were the best in the Rheingau.
In the High Middle Ages (1050-1250) ranged from the effects of the cultivation limits about 200 m higher than today, so that agriculture and wine growing experienced a large extent. The largest vineyard was then reached in the 15th century with about 400,000 hectares (about four times as much as today). At the time, though, that counted Elsass with extensive vineyards added. The vineyards were mainly in low-lying flatlands heavily wooded areas in the northern Franconia. The Thirty Years&39; War (1618-1648) left behind, as in the rest of Europe destruction in apocalyptic extent, of which the German viticulture recovered only very slowly. Many former flourishing wine regions such as Bavaria, northern, eastern and central Germany were no longer planted with vines. But also the advent of as a mass drink, viticulture was a major factor. The wine became more and more rare and expensive. In 1563 was one Stück Rheinwein (1,200 liters) for 300 gold talers to have, a few years later 500 gold talers.
Further setbacks with cold periods and the resulting many crop failures were caused by the effects of (1450-1850) with particularly cold periods from 1570 to 1630 and 1675 to 1715. Nevertheless, from the beginning of the 18th century, viticulture picked up again. By the The monasteries at the beginning of the 19th century were replaced by noblemen to whom today&39;s standard is due. Quality began to play a big role. In this connection took place 1868 and 1897 the , From the beginning of the 1860s came over Germany the and the Mehltau-Plage which in turn led to severe devastation.
During the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1815), the secularized property of the church was mostly owned by the state Weinbaudomänen , The objective of these "sample / educational wineries" was and still is to some extent still today to disseminate modern viticultural production methods. This was done by testing new methods in the vineyard, as well as production and distribution Grafted. In 1892, the first wine law was introduced, where, among other things, a controlled was allowed. In the first half of the 20th century, there was a great recession during the two world wars and the vineyard shrank to less than 50,000 hectares by 1945. Of the reached a low. From the 1950s, then slowly took a positive change.
The German Weinbaugebiete belong to the the world and are thus in the border area between the humid Gulf Stream climate in the west and the dry continental climate in the east. The sometimes very different soils consist of basalt, Buntsandstein, rock, loess, shell limestone, porphyry, slate and volcanic rock. The best vineyards are in the north. In 2012, were produced by 102,000 hectares of 9,012 million hectoliters of wine (see also ). The export is about 25%, the traditional buyers are Great Britain, USA, Netherlands and Japan. In 1972 there were still more than 100,000 winegrowing enterprises, since then there has been a continuous structural change and an enormous reduction to less than half.
Country vineyard: This quality level was introduced in 1982. Since August 2009, instead of the previous 21, there are now 26 land vineyard areas, most of which are subdivisions within or outside of the cultivation areas. These are Ahrtaler LW, Badischer LW, Bayrischer Bodensee LW, Brandenburg LW, LW Main (formerly Franconian LW), LW Mosel, LW Neckar, LW Upper Rhine, LW Rhine, LW Rhein-Neckar, LW Ruwer, LW Saar Mecklenburg LW, Central German LW, Nahegauer LW, Palatine LW, Regensburg LW, Rhine castles - LW, Rheingauer LW, Rhenish LW, Saarland LW, Saxon LW, Schleswig-Holstein LW, Swabian LW, Starkenburger LW and Taubertäler LW.
: There are 13 growing areas, which are divided into areas, large and single layers. Only with these the designation Qualitätswein or QbA may be used. They are mainly concentrated in the southwest in the valleys of the Rhine and the Moselle and their numerous tributaries. In the south, they are rather loosely interspersed in the landscapes. Due to the reunification in 1990, the two new growing areas of Saxony and Saale-Unstrut were added to the east. Outside the cultivation areas, vines on a total of 56 hectares of vines are also grown in Bavaria, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein. However, the wines produced by them may only be marketed as country wines.
(BER): With the exception of Ahr, Nahe and Rheingau, the production areas are divided into two or more areas. The areas are structured in large scale.
(GL): This includes several adjacent but not necessarily adjacent single layers. Most of the time, this large layer bears the name of the once most famous single layer (before the reduction). From the indication on the bottle label is not clear whether it is a single location or a large location.
(EL): This is rarely less than five hectares in size. But there is a bandwidth of less than one to 200 hectares. Over the centuries, about 25,000 vineyard names have often developed with few vines. These were approved by the Wine Law 1970 and the 1971 very much reduced. However, of the remaining 2,709 individual layers, around 50 are not earning or are no longer planted.
: The now smallest geographic unit protected by origin. Since 2014 can be applied for by any winery, registered in the cadastre to be defined as a cadastral situation, which can then be indicated on the label.
Germany&39;s growing areas are in the European with a single exception only the Baden region (like Austria) belongs to the Weinbauzone B. The following table shows the vineyards of the years 1999 and 2009. In these ten years, there were only two changes per cent in percentage terms. In Mosel (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer in 1999) this was a reduction of 26.5% or 3,239 hectares and in the Saale-Unstrut growing area an increase of 39.1% and 198 hectares, respectively. There were only minor changes in the remaining 11 growing areas. The total area decreased by 3.5% and 3,688 hectares, respectively:
German wine differs from wine from other countries by its lightness, liveliness and fruitiness. The long growing season and the low summer heat make the wines and not too rich in alcohol. The secret lies in the good balance of sweetness and acidity; in conjunction with the lower alcohol content, this results in a particular breed. The wines are often characterized by an amazing longevity. Over 140 grape varieties are officially approved, but only a dozen of them have market significance. In the last ten years, the grape variety has changed significantly. Almost two-thirds of the grape varieties are white wine and a good third, with a tendency to red wines. In 1998, the ratio was still 71% white grape varieties to 29% red grape varieties.
The most common grape variety in Germany is still Riesling, which accounts for more than one fifth of the total, and whose stock has declined only insignificantly in the last ten years (by 513 ha). The clear climbers are the red ones Regent (12 times), St. Laurent (4.3 times) and Dornfelder (3.7 times), then the Burgundy varieties Burgundy (94%), Grauer Burgunder (76%), Pinot Noir (58%), Auxerrois (171%) and Chardonnay (268%), as well as the new varieties from France (which did not even exist in 1999) Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
Amongst the strongest descendants are Müller-Thurgau (-40%), Grüner Silvaner (-31%), leading in Germany until 1995, and the new white varieties Bacchus, Faberrebe, Huxelrebe, Kerner, Ortega and Scheurebe (halving). It is to be expected that the trend will continue and, above all, the Burgundy varieties and French varieties continue to rise sharply. Grape variety status 2009 (0 = less than 0.5 ha):
Wine Categories / Quality Levels : In August 2009, the EU wine market regulations became valid with fundamental changes of the wine types and quality grades (see under ). In Germany, the new names were g.g.A. and g.U. banned until the end of 2011. From 2012, the scheme came into force to continue to use the old traditional names Landwein, Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein (with all predicate levels). Additionally, alternatively at the new terms "protected geographical indication" and "protected origin" are cited, but not in abbreviated form:
Wine without a closer indication of source (formerly the now forbidden term )
Wine with grape varieties and / or vintage
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) wine logo CNRS logo INIST
Wine with protected designation of origin (PDO) logo CNRS logo INIST and Prädikatswein
Wine without variety and / or vintage - German wine : Must be made exclusively from grapes harvested domestically. Must come exclusively from approved grape varieties. Must have minimum natural alcoholic strength in Zone A of 5% vol (44 ° Oe) and in Zone B of 6% vol (50 ° Oe). Must after any enrichment have an existing alcohol content of at least 8.5% vol = 67 g / l in zones A and B. Must have a total acidity of at least 3.5 g / l expressed in tartaric acid.
Wine with variety and / or vintage - German wine : Only approved grape varieties may be used and given.
Land wine and / or wine with protected geographical indication (only long text is allowed) Must be at least 85% of grapes harvested in the area, eg. B. Ahrtaler Landwein. Cold concentration is not allowed. Enriching the must before fermentation is permitted. The hectare maximum yield is 15,000 liters of wine. Must be "dry" or "semi-dry".
Quality wine and / or wine with protected designation of origin (only long text is allowed) The traditional name QbA (quality wine from specific growing areas) is still possible. After postive and the assignment of the , The wine must have typical characteristics and be free from defects in appearance, smell and taste. It can be used for growing areas, but also for narrower geographic names (area, location, place name, individual location). Vineyard and (Parcels), which were no longer allowed under the Wine Law of 1971, may under certain circumstances be reused. The wines require product specifications that describe the production (grape varieties, yields, etc.) and the origin-related taste.
The grapes used must come exclusively from approved varieties of the species Vitis vinifera. They must have been harvested in a single "designated area" and, in principle, have been processed into quality wine in the designated area. The must obtained from the grapes used in the fermentation-stable container shall have at least the natural minimum alcoholic strength by volume specified for each specific region and for each variety. The actual alcoholic strength must be at least 7% vol = 56 g / l and the wine must have a minimum total alcoholic strength of 9% vol = 71 g / l. Addition of concentrated grape must and cold concentration are prohibited.
Prädikatsweine This must at least correspond to the quality wine criteria. In addition, among other things higher must weights apply. There are six predicate wine types:
: At least 67 ° Oe to 82 ° Oe Mostgewicht different depending on the growing area. At least 7% vol = 56 g / l of existing alcohol content. At least 9% = 71 g / l minimum total alcohol content.
: At least 76 ° Oe to 90 ° Oe must weight varies per growing area. The default is a "late harvest" and fully ripe state of the grapes.
: At least 83 ° Oe to 100 ° Oe must weight varies per growing area. There must be a separation of all sick and immature berries.
: At least 110 ° Oe to 128 ° Oe Mostgewicht different depending on the growing area. Only largely noble rotten or at least overripe grapes may be used. The naturally existing alcohol content must be at least 5.5% vol.
: At least 150 ° Oe to 154 ° Oe Mostgewicht different depending on the growing area. Must be largely pressed from noble rotten grapes.
: At least 110 ° Oe to 128 ° Oe must weight (like Beerenauslese). The frozen grapes are pressed and pressed, the ice remains in the pomace.
Other wine names or types of wine There are a number of specific names or types of wine with wine-defined production specifications. These are . Classic . Federweißer . . Rotling . . Schillerwein . Selection and Weißherbst (see a list of mostly non-wine designations under ). Other types of wine are:
: A higher-quality sparkling wine carries the name "German sparkling wine", in this case it consists of 100% grapes grown in Germany. The term "sparkling wine bA" means that the grapes are 100% from a specific region.
: The production is subject to at least the guidelines according to the EU Eco-Regulation and, if necessary, the often stricter rules of organic associations. The German umbrella organization is BÖLW (see also in detail under the keyword ).
Important wine regulations The changes resulting from the EU wine market regulations valid from August 2009 are taken into account:
: For each quality level there is a minimum must weight (see above). Within the quality levels is again differentiated by grape varieties. In order to cope with the different climatic conditions, these quantities vary per growing area.
: The maximum quantities in hl / ha are defined by the growing areas and are per growing area and in the federal state Rheinland-Pfalz also different per quality group. Regardless of the quality group, these are 80 hl / ha (Saxony), 90 (Baden, Franconia, Saale-Unstrut), 100 (Ahr, Hessische Bergstrasse, Rheingau), 105 (Middle Rhine, Nahe, Pfalz, Rheinhessen), and 110 (Württemberg) , In Rhineland-Palatinate (Mosel, Nahe, Pfalz, Rheinhessen) these are for quality wine 105 and 125 for Mosel, 125 for land and varietal wine, 150 for German wine, and 200 for for the production of cults or distillates.
// : A wine must be at least 85% from the specified origin, grape variety and the given vintage. If the third party (from another source, grape variety or any other vintage than indicated in the name) reaches the maximum limit of 15%, then a maximum of 10% foreign sugar reserve may be added. Because the entire foreign portion, including the sweet reserve, may not exceed 25%. "German wines" must be 100% sourced from grapes harvested domestically. There are 87 yield varieties (66 of which are listed above), 15 sub-varieties and 12 authorized. A detailed description of the viticultural characteristics is contained in the "descriptive grape variety list" of the Bundessortenamt (see under ). The indication is only allowed if the wine comes from 100% of the grape variety mentioned.
: The salary is optional on contain. As trocken applies a wine with max. 4 g / l or 9 g / l if the not more than 2 g / l lower than the residual sugar. At z. B. 8 g / l requires this to. 6 g / l total acid. The remaining degrees are 12 g / l or 18 g / l, if the total acidity is not more than 10 g / l lower, with higher value than for semi-dry but max. 45 g / l, as well süß with to. 45 g / l. Wine-legally not relevant terms are feinherb . and ,
(Increase residual sugar): The wine may be sweetened by not more than 4% vol alcohol content (to understand mutatis mutandis). It may only be used as a Süßreserve denominated grape must, concentrated grape must and RTK are prohibited for land, quality and predicate wines (even limited by EU law, because of the preservation of the originality of the wine). If grape must has been added to the predicate wine, it must correspond to the same predicate wine level.
(Increase of the natural alcoholic strength): For all types of wine (irrespective of the wine color and quality level), a maximum of 2% vol alcohol content may be used by authorized means (see enrichment below). In the past, only sucrose (dry sugar) was authorized in Germany for agricultural and quality wines. Due to a judgment of the European Court of Justice, however, the German Wine Law was changed in 1989. After a successful application, quality wine b. A. an alcohol content of 15% vol. For Prädikatswein enrichment is not allowed in principle.
Important institutions , committees, authorities and others Research institutes that perform research, organizing, controlling, journalistic or educational functions in connection with viticulture: . DLG (German Agricultural Society), DWF (German Wine Fund), DWI (German Wine Institute), DWV (German Winegrowing Association), . Geilweilerhof . Geisenheim . . . VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter), and ,
The German standard reference regarding wine law is "Weinrecht" (Walhalla publishing house), which in the edition published in June 2012 comprises 4.068 pages in four folders plus CD-ROM. It offers the wine law of the EU as well as of Germany and the federal states. Another extensive work is the "Weinrecht commentary" by Prof. dr. Hans-Jörg , See also under the keyword ,
Influential German wine authors or are or were among others Paula Bosch , Armin Diel , Gerhard Eichelmann Marcus , Rudolf Knoll , Norbert Pobbig, Jens Priewe , Mario Scheuermann and Eckhard Supp , They work in many wine magazines and such as The Berlin Wine Guide, Busche Winzer & Weingüter, Eichelmann Germany&39;s Wines, Gault Millau , Meininger&39;s wine world and Wein-Plus ,