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.
Württemberg currently has 11,289 hectares under vine. Trollinger (22 per cent) and riesling (18 per cent) are the two most widely cultivated varieties. These are followed by pinot meunier (15.6 per cent), lemberger (13.4 per cent), pinot noir (7.6 per cent), kerner, müller-thurgau, samtrot, dornfelder, acolon, silvaner and pinot gris. Lemberger is the very finest of the red wines produced in Württemberg. Several years ago, growers also started planting the 'new' red wine varieties, acolon, cabernet dorio, cabernet mitos and cabernet dorsa. These varieties lend themselves particularly well to producing red wine cuvées.
The vineyards in Württemberg are predominantly situated in the valleys of the river Neckar and its tributaries. Down by the water, it does not get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Württemberg also gets plenty of rainfall throughout the year, providing the ideal conditions for producing good quality wines.
The majority of the wineries in Württemberg cultivate relatively small plots as a sideline. The average winery size is less than 0.6 hectares. These family-run operations are therefore referred to as Hobby-Wengerter (part-time vintners). In Württemberg, there are 16,500 winegrower families, 14,980 of which are members of a cooperative.
In Württemberg, vintners are often called 'wine gardeners'. These part-time vintners take their wine-making as seriously as the Swabians take the cleaning rotas in their apartment buildings. Nothing is too much effort when it comes to making your vines healthier and cultivating the soil better than your neighbour.
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