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 majority (80 per cent) of Württemberg's wines are red, making it the biggest producer of red wine in Germany. A large part (71 per cent) of the area under vine is situated on slopes or steep hillsides, some of which have a 20 per cent gradient, making them more difficult to cultivate. Württemberg is characterised by a particularly broad range of grape varieties and is one of the few places where lemberger and trollinger are grown. Many of the new varieties that have become important to German wine-growing such as dornfelder come from Württemberg.

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Wines from Saxony are known as rare gems because the Saxony wine region is the most north-easterly and one of the smallest in Europe. People have been producing wine here on the river Elbe for 850 years. Special features include the vineyards divided into small plots that are cultivated by more than 3,000 small independent growers. Saxony has a broad range of grape varieties – including goldriesling which is only grown here. The majority of Saxony wines are drunk locally, a rarity in Germany.

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The Saale-Unstrut quality wine region is characterised by unspoilt countryside swathed in vineyards, steep terraces, centuries-old dry-stone walls and romantic vineyard huts. The beauty of the river valleys and the landscape of terraced vineyards evokes an enchanting mediterranean charm. With its pleasant climate, specific soil type and yield regulations, and the experienced hands of its winegrowers, the region produces distinctive wines of the highest quality.

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The Rheinhessen wine region: innovation at the highest level

Germany's largest wine-growing region, Rheinhessen is a welcoming and hospitable region on the Rhine. Everyone is amazed by what is being achieved in the triangular region between Mainz , Worms and Bingen, where a group of young vintners with great enthusiasm for wine, self-confidence, incredible dynamism and a great feel for fine wines is at work. Buzzing networks such as 'Message in a bottle' or associations such as 'Grosses Gewächs Rheinhessen', 'Selection Rheinhessen', 'Ecovin' and 'Wein vom Roten Hang' provide innovation, while Mainz and Rheinhessen represent Germany in the Great Wine Capitals international club.

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The Rheingau wine region: pure zest for life

The main grape varieties grown in the Rheingau are riesling and pinot noir. The Rheingau has a long tradition of wine-making, started by the abbeys many centuries ago. This reputation opened the doors to all the big stately homes for the Rheingau wineries as suppliers of premium vintages. The Rheingau also enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide as the home of the Centre for Viticulture and Oenology in Geisenheim.

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The Palatinate wine region: top for riesling

The easiest and most breathtaking way to explore the Palatinate wine region is along the German Wine Route . Geared towards visitors, the scenic route links numerous towns and villages associated with wine between Bockenheim in the north and Schweigen on the French border. It is the oldest route of its kind in the world, and cycle and walking trail versions of the German Wine Route allow you to explore the vineyards between the Palatinate Forest and the Rhine on foot or by bike.

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The Nahe wine region: a real gem

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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The Moselle wine region: riesling at its best

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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The Middle Rhine wine region: viticulture as world heritage

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 Hessische Bergstrasse wine region: quality not quantity

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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The Franconian wine region: tradition with a modern twist

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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The Baden region produces top-quality wines

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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Welcome to the Ahr wine-making region, renowned for its red wines

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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