The Germans have been champions of single varietal wines, and it's cool climate is ideal for light red wines & aromatic whites. Since the first plantings in 1720 in Schloss Johannisberg, Germany has become the world's top Riesling producer, varying from dry & racy to luxuriously sweet.

In recent years, they have also been some of Europe's drivers in their focus on sustainable wine production, with a focus on organic & biodynamic vineyard management.

Most of their 13 wine regions are found in the southwestern part of the county, producing mostly Riesling, Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), and Pinot Blanc.

Image taken from Wines of Germany

Some of the most important wine regions in Germany include the Mosel, Rheingau, and Ahr. The Mosel is known for its steep slopes and slate soils, which give the Riesling wines grown there a distinct minerality. The Rheingau is known for its dry Rieslings and Spätburgunders, while the Ahr is known for its elegant Pinot Noirs.

Wine Folly - Germany Wine Classifications
Image taken from


German wines are qualified by their ripeness level.


The lightest style of Riesling, made from grapes that have a sweetness level of 67-82 Oechsle (148–188 g/L sugar). Kabinett wines range in style from dry to off-dry.


“Late harvest.” grapes have a sweetness level of 76-90 Oechsle (172–209 g/L sugar). Spätlese wines are rich and usually sweeter than Kabinett, although if you see “Trocken” on the bottle it’s dry with increased alcohol.


“Select harvest.” Picked more ripe at 83–110 Oechsle (191–260 g/l sugar). Grapes are hand-selected and have noble rot. Wines are sweeter or dry with high alcohol when labeled “Trocken.”

Beerenauslese (BA)

“Berry select harvest.” Wines are much more rare because the grapes are basically raisinated noble rot grapes picked at 110-128 Oechsle (260+ g/l sugar!). Expect precious dessert wines sold in half-bottles.

Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)

“Dry berry select harvest” and the most rare wine of the group made from raisinated grapes that dried out on the vine picked at 150-154 Oechsle. Very sweet wines.


Ice wine. Indicates the grapes were frozen on the vine and then pressed. These wines will have between 110-128 Oechsle (260+ g/l sugar!) when picked. Very sweet wines.

The VDP Classification

Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) is an independent association of ~200 wine estates that classify vineyards. While not all estates are required to participate, it has become the largest association representing German wines, and become a common representation of quality standards within Germany


VDP.GROSSE LAGE is the designation for the highest quality German vineyards. This is where Germany’s finest wines grow – wines notable for their individual character and ability to express the essence of their vineyard of origin. They are also known for their long potential cellarability. VDP.GROSSE LAGE wines are planted with grape varieties typical for the region and matching the needs of that respective vineyard. The vineyards are precisely demarcated by parcel.

We call dry wines from these vineyards VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS.  

VDP.ERSTE LAGE (Premier Cru)

VDP.ERSTE LAGE classification level allows us to distinguish first-class vineyards with their own character. The growing conditions for the vines must be optimal. This is expressed, for example, in the fact that wines of sustainably.


VDP.ORTSWEINE are a real insider tip: because many come from VDP.GROSSE LAGE and VDP.ERSTE LAGE sites. In any case, they originate from high-quality, characterful and traditional vineyards within one locality and give the typical local terroir a sense of expression. Only regional grape varieties are bottled.


The VDP.SEKT.STATUT applies the association's high quality standards from the realm of still wines to the production of sparkling wines. It is a helpful visible marker for conveying the quality and prestige of VDP sekts to the broader public. Only sekts that pass the association's strict quality criteria and testing, akin to the tough regulations in Champagne, will be allowed to bear the VDP.Sektsiegel, the VDP’s seal of approval for sekt.