German Wine and Grape Varieties

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007 at 12:00 am

german wineGermany has a varied selection of grape varieties that are being produced into some of the most elegant and finest wine there is. White wine proves to be the powerhouse in Germany’s wine industry accounting for about 70 percent of the wine totals produced in the country. Here is a list of the grape varietals that are predominantly grown in the various wine regions in the country.

White Wine Grape Varieties

Riesling (Klingelberger)- the grape variety in Germany and is the most commonly produced. It serves as the benchmark from which other grape varieties are being cmpared. The drawback to Riesling is that it ripens late sometime during October and Novenber with the riesling crops always tend to be poor. But it also benefits from its longer ripening period by being able to develop more aroma and balance. Müller-Thurgau- an alternative grape grown as a substitute to Riesling that growers have been using. It is now considered as the most widely planted grape varietal in Germany, accounting for over 20 percent of the country’s vineyards. Unlike the Riesling, this grape varietal only needs 100 days in order to ripen.

The result to this, however, is thatthis grape has a more neutral flavor than Riesling. the wine produced from Müller-thurgau has a flowery bouquet, and a milder acidity than Reisling. Wines from this grape variety are also best consumed while it is still fresh.

Silvaner- a traditional variety with medium-sized and juicy grapes. this grape variety produces white wines with a neutral bouquet, full body and mild acidity.

Kerner- a popular cross grape vareital that was the result of combining Trollinger (a red variety) with a Reisling. It bears thick-skinned but early ripening grapes. this variety produces white wines with light muscat bouquet with a lively acidity that is similar to Reisling.

Scheurebe- a grape variety that is a cross between a Silvanderand Reisling. Its wines have a lively acidity to them with a taste that is notably similar to that of black currents.


Grauer Burgunder or Ruländer (Pinot Gris)- this is one of the best varieties of og white grape varietals in Germany. the wine that is producede from it acquires a robust and full body, smooth and soft.

Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc)

Red Wine Grape Varieties

Red wine only accounts for 30% of the production of Germany but has increased in recent years.Spätburgunder and Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir)- this red grape variety is the Riesling’s red counterpart that  produces elegant and truly distinctive wines.  Its grapes ripen late and produces velvety, full-bodied red wine with almond hints

Portugieser- this grape variety originally came from the Danube Valley in Austria.  It ripens early and is produced into wines that are flavourful, light and mild.


Trollinger- this red grape variety grows almost exclusively in Württemberg and probably originated in Tyrol.  It ripens very late. The wines produced from this variety is fragrant and fresh, with a fruity flavor and good acidity.

Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier)


The cool climate in Germany makes it very difficult for red grapes varieties to ripen and develop effectively. That is why white grape varieties preferred in order to produce quality wines in much greater quantities.