The four official tiers of German wine quality:

In addition to their official quality classification, German wine labels often indicate how dry or sweet the wine is, according to its?residual sugar?content. The most common terms are?trocken?(dry - up to 9g/l) and?halbtrocken?(medium-dry - up to 18g/l). The unofficial term?Feinherb?is also sometimes used for 'off-dry'. These terms indicate how sweet the wine tastes, and are distinct from the Pr?dikats (e.g. Kabinett, Sp?tlese), which indicate the grapes' ripeness levels (must weight) at harvest.


VDP (Verband Deutscher Pr?dikats- und Qualit?tsweinguter)

The VDP (The Association of German Quality and Pr?dikat Wine Estates) is an association of about 200 top German wineries. Membership is voluntary, but requires adherence to strict standards well above those required by German wine law.

Since 1910, the VDP and its black eagle logo have remained an important (yet unofficial) symbol of German wine quality. The association has created its own wine quality system, based on the vineyard classification terms?Grosse Lage?and?Erste Lage?(similar to France's?Grand Cru?and?Premier Cru).

VDP logo
The VDP's eagle logo

Grosse Lage?is used only for Germany's very best vineyard sites - small, carefully demarcated areas with clear site-specific characteristics. Yields on these sites are limited to 50hl/ha.

Grosses Gew?chs?denotes a dry wine from a?Grosse Lage?vineyard. A?Grosses Gew?chs?may be white or red, depending on the vineyard in question.

Erste Lage?is used for 'first class' vineyards with distinctive characteristics, but which rank just behind Grosse Lage in terms of quality. Yields are limited to 60hl/ha.

See also wine label information for the?European Union,?France,?Spain,?Italy,?Australia?and the?USA.

German Wine Label Terminology

Abfüller:
Bottler or shipper
Amtliche Prüfungsnummer (A.P. Nr):
Quality control number, granted only after official quality testing
Anbaugebiet:
One of Germany's 13 wine regions
Bereich:
One of Germany's 39 wine districts, which make up the 13?Anbaugebiete
Einzellage:
Single vineyard
Erste Lage:
High-quality vineyard, similar to 'Premier Cru'
Erzeugerabfüllung:
Producer-bottled wine
Goldkapsel:
'Gold capsule', indicating a producer's finest wine
Grosslage:
Collection of vineyards
Grosse Lage:
Top-quality vineyard, similar to 'Grand Cru'
Grosses Gew?chs:
Dry wine from a?Grosse Lage?vineyard
Gutsabfüllung:
Estate-bottled wine
Halbtrocken:
Medium-dry
Liebfraumilch:
Semi-sweet style, made most often from Muller-Thurgau
Oechsle:
Unit of must-weight (grape sugar content)
Pr?dikat:
'distinction', or ripeness level
Rotwein:
Red wine
Rotling:
Rosé wine made from red and white grapes
Schillerwein:
Rotling-like rosé style from Württemberg (and N.Switzerland)
Sekt:
Sparkling wine
Trocken:
Dry
VDP:
Verband Deutscher Pr?dikats- und Qualit?tsweinguter
Weingut:
Wine estate
Weinkellerei:
Winery
Weissherbst:
Rosé made from a single red-wine grape variety
Weisswein:
White wine
Winzergenossenschaft:
Winegrowers co-operative

Many of the terms used also appear on?Austrian wine labels, although their meanings differ subtly between the two countries.


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