• The Hessische Bergstraße wine region, market square in Heppenheim
    The Hessische Bergstraße wine region, market square in Heppenheim ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Ahr wine region
    The Ahr wine region ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Palatinate wine region, view from Kalmitwingert near Ilbesheim
    The Palatinate wine region - view from Kalmitwingert Ilbesheim ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Baden wine region, Achkarren in the Kaiserstuhl mountains
    The Baden wine region, Achkarren in the Kaiserstuhl mountains ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Middle Rhine wine region, Kaub, Gutenfels Castle and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle
    The Middle Rhine wine region - Gutenfels Castle and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Franconia wine region, Hofkeller in Würzburg
    The Franconia wine region, Hofkeller in Würzburg ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Moselle wine region, Moselle loop
    The Moselle wine region, Moselle loop ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)
  • The Rheinhessen wine region, view of Gau-Odernheim from Petersberg hill
    The Rheinhessen wine region - view of Gau-Odernheim ©Deutsches Weininstitut GmbH (DWI)

Winegrowing regions: vintage countryside

German wines are grown in special places. The varied soil types of Germany's 13 winegrowing regions produce exquisite wines, from crisp rieslings to floral pinot noirs. The mild climate results in light, fruity wines that are typically German and full of charm and character.

The Ahr river twists and turns its way through a rocky landscape where lush vineyards cling to the bare stone. The ancient Romans appreciated the favourable climate of this wild, romantic valley, and were the first to cultivate grapes there. As well as pinot noir, the queen of the red grapes, the region's specialities include the equally prized, early-ripening pinot madeleine. Great effort is required to product top wines on the steep slopes above the Ahr river, but it is more than repaid by the high quality of the wines.

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Baden is a remarkable wine region. Shielded by the Odenwald hills and the Black Forest on one side and the Vosges mountains on the other, it enjoys the sunniest and warmest climate in Germany, with temperatures that are almost mediterranean. This balmy climate and fertile soil have given rise to some of the best vineyards in Europe. Outstanding wines, delicious food and a warm welcome are the hallmarks of the Baden experience. The region is a magnet for those with refined tastes.

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Franconia – a very special fusion of medieval towns and villages, scenic beauty and an almost mediterranean climate with a centuries-old tradition of wine making and people who fully appreciate all that the region has to offer. Würzburg wines from Franconia were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's favourite tipple. At the same time, Franconia is the embodiment of a 21st century wine region with wines that win international awards and cutting-edge wine-making facilities.

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It was probably the Romans who first introduced vines to the strata montana, but the earliest records of viticulture in the Bergstrasse region are from the 8th century and relate to Lorsch Imperial Abbey. In 1971, Hessische Bergstrasse became an independent wine-growing region and today it is the smallest of Germany's 13 wine regions. It consists of two separate geographical areas: Starkenburg, south of Darmstadt , comprises the towns of Alsbach, Zwingenberg, Bensheim and Heppenheim, while the 'Odenwald wine island' is the area in and around Gross-Umstadt and Rossdorf.

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For the 120 kilometres between Bingen and Bonn , steep vineyard slopes join castles, glorious residences and the famous Loreley rock as the river twists and turns through a landscape steeped in history. The Siebengebirge hills and the Loreley divide the region into two distinct areas in terms of wine classification. The southern section, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley between Koblenz and Bingen, was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2002 for its outstanding, vineyard-sculpted countryside. Ample motivation for the growers to continue their sterling work on the steep, vine-clad hillsides.

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The Moselle, Saar and Ruwer rivers twist and turn in narrow loops through countryside where the Celts and Romans first cultivated wine 2,000 years ago. As a wine region, the Moselle is the oldest in Germany and the largest with vines on steep slopes. Terraced hillsides and precipitous slopes, which face either south or south-west, create beneficial microclimates for wine grapes but also rare plants and animals. The sublime rieslings grown in these conditions in the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer vineyards rank among the finest white wines in the world with their wonderful mineral notes.

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Lush greenery, romantic river valleys and dramatic rock formations are what lend the Nahe region in south-west Germany its distinctive character. Its mild climate ensures that grapes ripen early and develop a pleasing acidity. The 130km Nahe Wine Route links wine-growing villages, castles and natural beauty such as the Rotenfels rock face and the Trollbachtal Valley. The Edelschliff showcases what this region can do: a fine riesling, chosen by a jury, is presented in a designer bottle decorated with a gemstone from Idar-Oberstein .

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