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Wine-growing region in Germany, named after its two principal rivers, the south and south-west-facing slopes along the narrow river valleys have terraced vineyards with a total vineyard area of 651 hectares. Most of the vineyards are located in the federal state of Sachsen-Anhalt, with only 30 hectares in Thuringia. Wine has been grown here for more than 1.000 years. In a deed signed by emperor Otto III. (980-1002) a grandson of Charlemagne - vineyards were given to the Memleben abbey in 998 AD. Another document shows vineyards existed in the area of the Manfeld lakes as early as 973 AD. The Cistercian monks founded the Pforta abbey in approximately 1100 AD, an established the „Pfortenser Köppelberg” vineyard, which is still in existence today, in the vicinity of Bad Kösen in 1154 AD. The old wine-growing tradition is also reflected in the fact that a grape is included in the coat-of-arms of the city of Jena, where what is now the Friedrich-Schiller University was founded in 1554. Saale-Unstrut is the most northerly wine-growing region in Europe, it lies to the north of the 51st degree of latitude, which is generally considered to be the limit for viticulture. The Werderaner Wachtelberg vineyard site located close to the town of Werder in the federal state of Brandenburg south-west of Berlin is one of the most northerly, officially classified vineyards in the world. The soils are mainly shell limestone and sandstone, producing hearty wines. There is a lot of sunshine and relatively low rainfall, with Saale-Unstrut being one of the wine-growing areas in Germany with the lowest rainfall. The vineyards are divided into 3 districts, 5 regional sites and 21 individual vineyard sites. The Schloss Neuenberg districts includes the four regional sites Kelterberg, Schweigenberg, Blütengrund and Göttersitz. The Thüringen district does not include any regional sites. A new district was created in October 2002, Mansfelder Seen, this includes the Höhnstedter Kelterberg regional site and the Westerhäuser Königstein vineyard site. The most important centres of wine production are Bad Kösen, Freyburg and Naumburg. Well-known producers include Böhme Klaus, Gussek, Kloster Pforta, Thüringer Weingut Bad Sulza and U. Lützkendorf.
The following grape varieties are planted (as per 2001):
Variety Synonyms Colour Hectares % share
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner White 147 22,6
Pinot Blanc Weißburgunder White 76 11,7
Silvaner Grüner Silvaner White 58 8,9
Kerner - White 47 7,2
Blauer Portugieser Portugieser Red 47 7,2
Riesling Weißer Riesling White 40 6,1
Bacchus - White 34 5,2
Dornfelder - Red 30 4,6
Traminer Roter Traminer White 29 4,5
Pinot Gris Ruländer, Grauburgunder White 25 3,8
Chasselas Gutedel etc. White 24 3,7
Pinot Noir Spätburgunder Red 24 3,7
Morio-Muskat Morio White 12 1,8
Regent - Red 12 1,8
Scheurebe Sämling 88 White 7 1,1
White varieties 512 78,6
Red varieties 139 21,4
TOTAL 651 100