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Answers to Every German Wine Question You’ve Ever Had

We’ve got the answers to some of your most frequently asked German wine questions, but if you’re looking for more on the wines of Germany, visit Flatiron’s Guide to German Wine.

What is German wine?

German wine is… delicious! Well, that’s true, but in a broader sense, German wine comprises any wine from Germany, from Riesling to Spätburgunder and the Mosel to Baden.

Is all German wine sweet?

Many newcomers to German wine wonder the same thing: are German wines always sweet? The answer is: no! Germany makes a range of wine unheard of in most other regions, ranging from driest of dry white wine to luscious, sweet, and complex. But if you haven’t already explored sweet wines in Germany, you’re seriously missing out—these are some of the most delicious and balanced wines in the world.

• Related Post: Why You Should Be Drinking Off-Dry and Sweet German Wines

How do I find a dry German wine?

German winemakers include a lot of detail on their wine labels so that customers know exactly what they are getting in the bottle—but if you’re unfamiliar with German wine, it may seem daunting at first! There are a few ways to tell whether a wine will be dry or sweet. First, look for helpful labeling terms like trocken (which indicates a dry wine). Second, see if the wine has a Prädikat level on it; while these levels don’t translate directly to sweetness, some Kabinett and Spätlese wines can be dry. And finally, take a look at the ABV, or alcohol by volume; wines with higher ABV are more likely to be dry. To become an ace at determining whether your German wine will be sweet or dry, check out our in-depth guide to off-dry and sweet wines.

Is German Riesling sweet?

Again, not necessarily. Riesling is a highly versatile grape variety, and it can create bone-dry, crisp white wines just as well as it creates rich, super-sweet ones—always with excellent acidity. German Riesling wine encompasses all of those styles—plus sparkling!

Is Riesling German?

Riesling was first documented in 1435 in Germany, and while nobody is quite sure where the grape originated, it is likely a German grape variety.

Is Riesling a German wine?

It can be! When it comes to Riesling Germany is king, growing 40 percent of all global Riesling. However, Riesling is also grown from Austria to Australia, and even across the U.S.

Does Germany just make Riesling?

While Riesling comprises nearly a quarter of all German grapevine plantings, it is definitely not the only grape grown in Germany! The 13 German wine regions make white, red, rosé, and orange wines, not to mention dry, sweet, and sparkling wines, from a number of different grape varieties. Other German white wine includes Elbling and Silvaner, as well as Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), and Chardonnay. Germany also makes red wine like Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Dornfelder, and Lemberger. Many German grape varieties are also crossings created in the country, like Müller-Thurgau, Scheurebe, and Rieslaner. Explore the wide world of German grapes and German wine types through our in-depth guide to non-Riesling wines from Germany.

• Related Post: Germany Beyond Riesling: A Guide to Germany’s Other Grape Varieties


Where is German wine country?

The 13 German wine regions (Anbaugebiete) are mostly clustered toward the southwest corner of the country near the borders of France and Switzerland. If you look at a German wine map, you’ll see that most of the wine regions in Germany are located between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Baden is the most southerly of the German wine regions, located near the country’s border with France (right across from Alsace), while the lesser-known Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen are the most northerly, set apart from the other wine regions in Germany and located in the northeast.

What does the German wine term Auslese mean?

Auslese falls within one of the German wine classifications—the Prädikat system. It sits in the middle of the Prädikat levels, with more ripeness than Kabinett and Spätlese, but not as ripe as the grapes used for Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese. Auslese wines are made from selected, riper grape bunches, and they are typically sweet, but can be dry in rare instances. To learn all about Prädikatswein and how to tell the difference between dry, off-dry, and sweet German wine, visit our comprehensive guide.

What is German ice wine?

German icewine—called Eiswein—falls within the Prädikat system as well. It is made from very ripe grapes that are harvested at night, in the winter, while frozen on the vine. These wines are sweet and concentrated, with rich fruit flavors. To learn more, visit our guide to off-dry and sweet German wine.



What is the sweetest German wine?

The sweetest German wine in the country’s Prädikat system is Trockenbeerenauslese, a ripeness level that is reserved for shriveled, botrytis-infected grapes. It’s very sweet, intense, complex, and mind-blowingly delicious. To learn more, visit our guide to off-dry and sweet German wine.

What is German sparkling wine called?

Sparkling German wine is known as Sekt, and it’s undergoing a renaissance right now. The best are made in the traditional method at a single estate using grapes like Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. To learn more about sekt, check out our guide to the vast range of Germany’s wines.

Does German wine have sulfites?

Because sulfites are a byproduct of fermentation, all wines have sulfites (as do dried fruits, pickles, and seafood, among many other food products). So, yes, German wines have sulfites, but you shouldn’t be concerned about them giving you a headache, as they often contain much lower levels than a can of tuna fish.


Is German wine good?

Heck yes! German wine is some of the most complex, terroir-expressive, and mind-blowing in the world. If you think you’ve never had good German wine, it’s time to buy a bottle today.

How do I know what the best German wine or best German Riesling is?

Well, taste is subjective, so determining the best German wine is up to you! But as avid fans of German wine ourselves, we have an extensive German wines list at both our New York and San Francisco shops. Shop the best-known and up-and-coming German wine brands and producers, and as always, we’re here to help if you have questions!