In Germany there exist more levels of quality wines than in every other country.
As an overview, we have compiled for you
a list of the most important terms.
Tafelweine (table wines):
- Minimal quality requirements
- No indication of grape variety needed, starting at 44° on the Oechsle density scale.
Landwein (local or superior table wine):
- Higher level of table wine
- Indication of the area where the grapes are grown required, 47° and
above on the Oechsle density scale.
Quality wines produced in specified regions (abbr. Q.b.A. in German):
- Designation for higher grade wines
- The wines must be 100 % from grapes grown in one of the 13 German
wine-growing regions, at least 55° on Oechsle density scale
Quality wines with distinction (abbr. Q.m.P. in German):
- Highest quality requirements
- Depending on the degree of ripeness, that is, the density of the grape
must, and the type of harvest, the wines are labelled with one of the
6 different distinctions which has to appear on the label.
A special wine in the autumn season - the Federweißer new wine!
When the autumn leaves start to turn and the first grapes are harvested, it is the time for the Federweißer new wine. During the first phase of fermentation in the casks, the yeasts in the new must start to act. They convert the sugar in the grapes into alcohol and carbonic acid, and the must turns whitish. This is how Federweißer (feather white) gets its name, as the milky and cloudy liquid is reminiscent of thousands of swirling little feathers. In other regions in Germany, it is also known as Rauscher, Sauser or Bitzler. The Federweißer new wine is a drink that can offer all the tastes on the palette that the vintage will have later on. It contains a lot of vitamins, especially Vitamins B1 and B2. Many Strausses offer this delicacy along with a piece of onion tart, making for a very special culinary experience.
- Light, delicate wines with moderate alcohol content from ripe
- Weight of the must at least 73° on the Oechsle density scale
Spätlese (late vintage):
- Ripe, elegant wines with fine fruit that are harvested
later in the season
- At least 80° on the Oechsle density scale
Hochgewächs (high vine):
- A distinction introduced in 1987 for a “wine
of special origin”
- It may be produced in all German wine-growing regions
- It is pressed exclusively from the Riesling grape variety
- The must weight has to exceed the required minimum value by at
least 7° Oe and its natural alcohol content has to exceed the
applicable benchmark for the wine-growing area by at least 1.5 %
- For the official designation number, the wines must
make at least 3.0 (instead of 1.5) points in the inspection.
- Noble wine from fully ripe grapes (small proportion of overripe
grapes), at least 88° on the Oechsle density scale
- Full, fruity wines from mostly overripe or
- High degree of ripeness and must weight, often features the flavour
of the botrytis noble rot
- Colour reminiscent of amber, can be stored for long time
- at least 110° on the Oechsle density scale
- Only raisin-like shrunken and botrytised grapes,
only grapes that are overripe
- extreme ability to age for decades, at least 150° on the
Oechsle density scale
Eiswein (ice wine):
- From fully ripe, grapes that are frozen while still on the vine, and in
which the grape contents have been concentrated by the frost
- For the harvest in the vineyard the outside temperature must be at
least [H1] -7 °C
The new dry quality pyramid for German wines:
When purchasing wine, have you ever had a confused look on your face, wondering what the new melodious names Classic and Selection on the label actually mean?
Then look no further - here is an overview of the most important information:
“Classic” has class:
If you buy a wine with the signet “Classic” on the label, then this wine offers a harmoniously dry bouquet. Classic wines are rich, full-bodied and aromatic and meet high quality standards.
- A wine made from a classic grape variety typical for the region is it
- Approved grape varieties for Moselle, Saar, Ruwer regions are:
Riesling, Rivaner, Elbling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris
- The residual sugar is limited to max. 15 g/l
- The alcohol content must be at least 11.5 %
- The flavour is not listed on the label
Or would you like a Selection?
For wine connoisseurs, the term “Selection” refers to a dry top wine of outstanding quality made from grapes typical to the region. Low yields and a high minimum must weight provide for excellent wines. For a sensory evaluation, wines with a Selection label are tested for the typical flavours and elegance of the respective grape variety.
A wine must meet several conditions in order to be labelled as a Selection wine:
- Only selected sites are eligible for cultivating
- Grape varieties typical to the region, low yield, maximum 60 hl/ha
- The minimum must weight is 88° on the Oechsle density scale
- The grapes may only be harvested by hand
- The residual sugar is limited to max. 9 g/l (except for
- Information on vineyard, grape variety and vintage
is provided on the label
- The description “dry” may not be listed on the label