A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Saucy in Germany's Wine Regions

Most German wine regions specialize in the white grape variety—namely, Riesling. But you'll soon know that this northernmost major wine-producing country in Europe isn't a one-trick pony. Follow the Rhine and Mosel rivers, and our comprehensive guide below, to explore Germany's finer side.
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Riesling Grape in the Rheingau Wine Region, Germany
White Riesling Grape in the Rheingau Wine Region, Germany  (iStockphoto)

With its well-developed niche in the beer industry, Germany is generally associated with biergartens, Oktoberfest, and the pub grub that comes along with them—bratwurst, pretzels, schnitzel. But it doesn’t take a pinkie-poker to know that Germany also has a hand in the finer things of life—wine, for instance.

When it comes to wine, Germany is synonymous with Riesling, a white grape variety that first originated here in the Rhine region. Written references prove that the “Rießlingen” existed in the Rhine as early as 1435.

Today, it is the leading grape variety, produced in all 13 of the country’s wine regions and accounting for 22 percent of all vineyards’ yields. Of the world’s Riesling-devoted vineyards, more than half are found in Germany. But the deep history of wine in this country doesn’t begin and end with the highly acidic Riesling.

Some regions focus on red grapes, and others have varieties that never leave the area. Others bring visitors with their world-famous festivals or kitschy towns—but all are distinctly German, with hillsides crowned in castles, timber-framed houses, and remnants of an unstable history with the French. In some, there are even ruins of a great Roman occupation.

In no particular order, here is your guide to Germany’s 13 wine regions, including some of the most famous vineyards, must-see sights, and wine-related events.

Published: 11 Jan 2013 | Last Updated: 17 Jan 2013
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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