With the München Oktoberfest being famously known around the world, Germany is often considered a beer country. Although having much fewer wine cultivation areas than other more southern European countries, Germany’s 13 wine regions offer visitors an insight into the long tradition of wine, going back to Roman times. Particularly white wines from Germany have made a name for themselves globally and there are hundreds of local wineries that offer tastings and tours to visitors. When travelling to German wine regions, we recommend you have a look at the local event calendar or a regional tourist guide: each region usually hosts many wine-related events and festivals all year round, during which you can sample dozens of local wines.
With that, here are all the 13 wine regions in Germany to explore:
- Hessische Bergstraße
The region around the river Mosel is considered the oldest wine region in Germany. The Romans brought wine production to this area more than 2000 years ago. Today, you can still visit many structures and buildings that were used to make wine in this time, such as the Roman wine press in Piesport.
A similarly rich wine culture can be found in the hills of the Pfalz: Here you can embark on a 85 km tour connecting 130 places and towns that produce wine. This route, known as the Weinstraße, is closed for public traffic once a year so that visitors can travel to the different wineries. It is the ideal place to go on a white wine tour, as the region is particularly famous for its Riesling, the “king of the white wines”.
The smallest wine region in Germany is famous for its red wines, particularly the Spätburgunder. A rarity to be found in Ahr is the Frühburgunder. It is only grown on a small portion of the area, and as a result is rather hard to find.
In this Southern wine region, you will find mostly red wines, with the local Trollinger being famously known as the national beverage of the Württemberg people. A regional specialty to be tried in summer is the Schillerwein, produced from both red and white grapes.
The Rheinhessen region is not only the largest but also the oldest wine region in Germany. It is famous for its variety of white wines, where you can try both international classics like Riesling and regional specialties like Silvaner.
Being the warmest wine region in Germany, Baden in Southern Germany offers many types of wines to choose from. Because of the size of the area – covering more than 400 km – wines from Baden grow in different climates and are, as a result, known for their diversity.
In the most Eastern wine region in Germany, visitors can find both a rich wine and porcelain culture thriving right next to one another. Because of its small size, Sachsen’s wines are a rarity and often only found in local wineries and restaurants, such as the Goldriesling that is only grown here.
The small Saale-Unstrut region may not be well known internationally, but being the most Northern wine region in Europe, it sure is famous to locals. Particularly, its red wines sell out quickly, as they are rarities. In addition to a rich wine culture, the region stands out for its many castles and is home to Germany’s favorite bubbly wine, the Rotkäppchen Sekt.
Modernity meets tradition in the Rheingau winery region near to the international airport of Frankfurt: Here, visitors can find both castles and historic wineries, while the region itself is known for its investment in innovation and improvement in wines, as illustrated by the wine research center in Geisenheim. The Rhein is featured in one of the most famous hikes of the country, the Rheinstieg.
In the southwestern Nahe region, visitors can find a huge variety of different vines: The geologic diversity of the local soil allows for many grapes to grow. The local specialties can be tasted at one of the many wine-themed events happening throughout the year.
Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mittelrhein region not only offers visitors delicious wines, but also a rich cultural heritage with many small towns whose history goes back thousands of years. A must-see is the town of Bacharach, a former wine trade center.
12. Hessische Bergstraße
Due to its climate, the region around the Hessische Bergstraße is not only known for its wine, but also for its cherries, almonds and apricots. A rarity that can be found here is the Red Riesling.
Around the city of Würzburg, Goethe’s favorite wine, the Würzburger Stein, can be found. It is then no surprise that the region offers not only wines but also a rich culture and stunning architecture from the Middle Ages. Franken also is home to the Gästeführer Weinerlebnis Franken, a team of trained wine experts who guide you through the local wine culture.
Exploring German Wine
With more than 2000 years of wine history and several regional specialty-grapes, Germany is a secret tip amongst wine lovers. In addition to a variety of wines to choose from, visitors are also offered dozens of events during which the history and culture of winemaking can be experienced. When you visit Germany, make sure to include a wine tasting in your plans!
Anne is a German freelance writer and communication consultant. In addition to her job, she is founder and coach of the Dutch non-for-profit organization CLUB Coaching. Due to her work, she resides in both Germany and the Netherlands. Whenever her time is not occupied with communication in all its forms, she spends time with her six pets, gardening or being creative with fashion and design. You can follow her on LinkedIn.