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An A to Z of wine-growing regions
The Saxony wine region, view of Wackerbarth Castle from the belvedere

The Saxony wine region: one-off wines

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.

Regional characteristics

Area under vine and grape varieties

Soil types

Climate

Growers and cooperatives

Highlights from the wine region

Between Pirna and Diesbar-Seusslitz near Meissen, the Saxon Wine Route wends its way for almost 60 km through the sunny, mild and captivatingly varied valley of the Elbe, along with the international Elbe Cycle Route and the Saxony Wine Trail. This is Germany's smallest wine-growing region and the most northernly in Europe.

This centuries-old wine-growing tradition has had a significant impact on the appearance of the landscape here. Vined hillsides, splendid historic buildings and quaint little wine taverns: these are just some of the sights that visitors encounter time and time again as they continue along the route. However, the real source of this region's popularity is the harmony of its architecture, viniculture, countryside and history.

An exceptional performance from the region's vineyards

This part of Saxony enjoys a particularly favourable climate. Grapes have been grown here for 800 years, and the local porcelain manufacturing tradition dates back almost 300 years. It was wine and porcelain, together with rich silver deposits, that brought fame and fortune to Saxony. As you follow the Saxon Wine Route, you will see vines for the first time near Pirna, then in Pillnitz, close to the stately home there, and then beneath the palaces that line the river Elbe in Dresden. Just outside Dresden going towards Meissen , you will see the next vines growing on terraces on the Radebeul and Coswig slopes, which end at the romantic Elbe wine villages near Diesbar-Seusslitz.

Enchanted by wine

The Mediterranean feel, lovely scenery and cheery innkeepers create a carefree atmosphere, which works its magic as your paddle steamer cruises down the river and your gaze wanders over the vine-clad terraces and vineyards along the Elbe's riverbanks. During high-season, the world's oldest and largest paddle steamer sails daily from Dresden through the wine-growing regions to Meissen.

Where winegrowers become your hosts

The route forms a link through the most beautiful vineyards, interesting observation points and quaint wine taverns to the region's greatest treasures. Some of the charms of this delightful countryside dotted with towns and romantic villages are the countless reminders of its wine heritage: here and there a freshly whitewashed vintner's cottage, a soaring church steeple or a snug wine tavern. Stop off at a winegrower's tavern and let your host pour you one of his best vintages accompanied by some hearty fare or a sweet dish from the list of house specials, all served up with an amusing Saxon tale or two.

Hoflössnitz wine estate is truly the cradle of wine culture in Saxony. The Saxon Electors used to celebrate the wine harvest here and it is where the sachsenkeule, the elegant, skittle-shaped bottle typically used in the region, was invented. Not to mention the fact that wine has been made here for 600 years!

'Saxony's finest' has always been Schloss Wackerbarth's philosophy. The estate was established by General Field Marshal Count Christoph August von Wackerbarth and it was Europe's first wine estate to be opened to the public. Its fame extends well beyond Saxony – not only for its still wines, but also for its premium-quality sparkling sekt.

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