How to Read a German Wine Label

Authorized Foundation for German Wine Classifications

The Laws of the European Union solely differentiates roughly between Desk Wine and High quality Wine. Member States are capable of translate this Regulation into nationwide situations and allowed so as to add Specs. The German Regulation requires rather more info printed on the Wine Label of a German Wine and is sort of completely different from most Classification Methods in different Nations. The numerous Classifications in Germany could be defined by the broad Range of the completely different Wine-growing Areas and the particular Climate Circumstances.

The official German Wine Classification is predicated on the Wine Regulation from 1971 (some adjustments have been made since then). Included within the Regulation have been a number of Elements that are useful to grade a Wine, such because the Wine Area, the Ripeness of the Grape, the including of Sugar or the Alcohol Content material. In relation to the Wine Regulation from 1971 have been the Wine Regulation of 1994 and the Wine Order of 1998 added. Federal Rules could also be additionally complemented by the States.

The primary goal of the Wine Regulation’s and Order is the Regulation of Import and Export of German Wine, the Monitoring of the nationwide Wine Manufacturing, the Assurance of the High quality Requirements and the Safety of the Wine Customers. These factors embody the Limitation of Wine Manufacturing to 13 particular Areas and the Controlling of recent Plantings of Vineyards. Moreover, is the biggest common Yield for a Winery specified and the Irrigation of Vineyards prohibited (exceptions for steep slopes and rocky soils).

Criticism of some Wine Producers led to some further Classifications (e.g. VDP – Verband Deutscher Praedikatsweine), however with none Proper of authorized Safety. The primary critics have been that the traditional System doesn’t differentiate between higher and lesser Vineyards and that it’s not acceptable to categorise Dry Wines with Excessive High quality.

Classification System for German Wine

The Label of German Wine accommodates necessary info, particularly the Specified Area, High quality Class, Liquid Content material, Alcohol Stage in Quantity, Producer or Bottler and the High quality Management Check Quantity (A.P.Nr.). Most Wine Producer declare non-obligatory info just like the Classic, Winery Website, Grape Selection, Fashion and the quantity of Residual Sugar on their Wine Label.

Based mostly on the talked about Legal guidelines above, there are 4 completely different High quality Ranges to measure the Grade of a German Wine:


  • Deutscher Tafelwein (German Desk Wine)
  • Deutscher Landwein (German Nation Wine)
  • Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete – QbA (High quality Wine from a Particular Area)
  • Praedikatswein: (High quality Wine with Particular Attributes)


All high quality Wines (QbA and better) need to endure a crucial, blind, sensory Evaluation and a chemical Evaluation to show their Bouquet, Style and the Visible Look. This Check is predicated on a five-point scale and executed by the DLG (German Agricultural Society). The Check examines if the Wine is typical of the Origin, Grape Selection and High quality Grade which have been said on the Utility of the Wine Producer. If the Wine passes the Judgment it receives the standard management check quantity (A.P.Nr.), which is a helpful Indicator for Wine Customers.

Each German Wine is required to have one of many Grades on their Wine Label. Presently, it got here into vogue that a few of the most famed Wine Producer would not distinguish between the completely different Praedikatswein (High quality Wines with Particular Attributes) anymore however merely declare them as Qualitaetswein. That’s conform to authorized facets and is unquestionably effective for Wine Producers with a excessive Status, who declare that solely the High quality of the Grapes and the Soil of their Vineyards counts however the Classification itself is just not essential for them.

Deutscher Tafelwein (German Desk Wine)

Deutscher Tafelwein is the bottom grade potential for a German Wine and is usually consumed in Germany and never exported. This degree of classification is named “vin de desk” in France, “vino de mesa” in Spain or “vino de tavola” in Italy.

It should be produced solely at acknowledged Vineyards from acknowledged Grape varieties. There are 5 categorised areas for Tafelwein in Germany which need to be indicated on the Wine Label. The alcohol content material has to succeed in at the very least 8.5% quantity and an acidity of 4.5 grams per liter.

Deutscher Landwein (German Nation Wine)

Deutscher Landwein has a barely larger grade than Tafelwein however doesn’t play a big function within the export market, too. The fashion of Landwein is both dry (trocken) or semi-dry (halbtrocken) and the equivalence for the German Landwein in France is the “vin de pays”.

However the rules for the manufacturing of Landwein are much like those for Tafelwein with the slight distinction that this one has to have a minimal of 9.0% of alcohol. There are 19 acknowledged areas which might declare the Wine Classification Landwein.

Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete – QbA (High quality Wine from a Particular Area)

Qualitaetswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) are the Wines which meet the primary degree of high quality (Tafelwein and Landwein usually are not thought-about as high quality Wines) and generate the biggest quantity of German Wines. QbA states {that a} German Wine labeled with the acronym comes from one of many 13 official Wine Rising Areas and is produced from allowed Grape Varieties.

Each high quality Wine should obtain a minimal quantity of pure alcohol (7% quantity), whereby Chaptalization earlier than the Fermentation is allowed for QbA categorised Wines to enhance the ripeness. The utmost degree of sugar which may be added is regulated by regulation. Normally, QbA Wine ranges from trocken (dry) to lieblich (semi-sweet) and even whether it is largely a fundamental Wine from an property, it may be a very good worth for comparatively low costs.

Praedikatswein (High quality Wine with Particular Attributes)

The highest degree of Wine Grades in Germany was previously referred to as Qualitaetswein mit Praedikat (QmP) and renamed to Praedikatswein in 2007. This classification tells you that the Wine comes from one of many 13 acknowledged German Wine Areas and that it has a particular predicate or attribute, which could be one of many six following (sorted in ascending order of Ripeness):


  • Kabinett
  • Spaetlese
  • Auslese
  • Beerenauslese
  • Trockenbeerenauslese
  • Eiswein


Praedikatswein represents the best German Wines and essentially the most demanding relating to the Grape Selection, Maturity, Concord and Class. The six classes of Praedikatswein must have a minimal should weight and so they need to be produced with out chaptalization. The fashion of the Wine can vary from trocken (dry) to edelsueß (intensively candy) however it’s almost certainly {that a} Praedikatswein accommodates a big pure quantity of residual sugar.


Kabinett is the driest of the Praedikatswein however nonetheless at the very least halbtrocken (semi-dry) in many of the instances. Grapes for the Kabinett Wines are harvested a number of days after the QbA Grapes and produce sometimes a chic, mild and delicate fashion with low alcohol content material. The minimal degree of alcohol needs to be 7.0% and the should weight 67-82 Oe (diploma Oechsle), relying on the Grape Selection and the origin of the Wine.

Spaetlese (Late Harvest Wines)

Spaetlese Wines are fruitier and sweeter than the Kabinett Wines for the reason that Grapes are often picked two weeks after the Kabinett and due to this fact further time to ripe. The Wine could be fermented in several types from dry (trocken) to lieblich (fruity) however are largely present in a lieblich (semi-sweet) fashion.

The very ripe Grapes present the Kabinett Wine with a effective Bouquet and a balanced, well-rounded style. By regulation, the Kabinett Wines have at the very least an alcohol content material of seven% and a should weight of 76-90 Oe.

Auslese (Chosen Harvest Wines)

The Grapes for Auslese Wines are hand-selected and the overripe, late-harvested Berries often comprise larger sugar content material than Spaetlese Wines. Auslese Wine Grapes are partially affected by Botrytis or different Noble Rot Character, which take away the Moisture from the Grape.

Because of the truth that unripe Berries have been eliminated in the course of the Harvest, Kabinett carries an intense bouquet with a fruity fashion and is usually thought-about as one of many noblest Wines from an property. The minimal alcohol content material for Auslese Wines is identical as for Spaetlese (7%) and the should weights is at the very least between 83-100 Oe.

Beerenauslese (Berry Choice Wines)

Beerenauslese Wines are uncommon Dessert Wines that are constituted of Grapes that are utterly contaminated by Botrytis Mould. The Grapes have been left on the Vineyards longer than the Grapes for Auslese and are chosen one after the other. The Wines are very uncommon and can’t be produced yearly.

The Beerenauslese Wines develop an unmistakable Honey-like Aroma because of their Ripeness and the Noble Rot. The Excessive-High quality Wines are typically full-bodied and really fruity with a wealthy Fashion. The minimal degree of alcohol is with 5.5% decrease than for the opposite Praedikatswein and the should weight is 110-128 Oe.

Trockenbeerenauslese (Dry Berry Choice Wines)

The Grapes for a Trockenbeerenauslese Wine have reached a raisin-like state and are even sweeter than those used for Beerenaulese. The Berries are utterly shriveled by the Botrytis and are picked with best care. With its excessive focus of Sweetness, the Trockenbeerenauslese Wine is taken into account as Germany’s best and rarest Dessert Wine.

The best Number of German Wine has its Value and is simply the best Wine to retailer in your Wine Cellar for many years after which serve it for the proper Event. The extraordinarily candy and concentrated Wine has a minimal alcohol content material of 5.5% and a minimal should weight of 150-154 Oe.

Eiswein (Ice Wine)

Eiswein additionally belongs to the group of Dessert Wines and is constituted of naturally and stable frozen Grapes. The Grapes, with the same and even larger Sweetness as Beerenauslese Grapes, are harvested shortly after the primary Frost and pressed in a frozen state. The pressed Grape Juice reaches a excessive Focus as a result of many of the Water is remoted by means of the Ice and stays within the Press.

The Eiswein reaches a fruity Acidity and Sweetness and is finest served as an Apéritif or as completion for a Dessert. The minimal should weight and alcohol degree is identical as for Beerenauslese.

Further Classifications on German Wine Labels

Moreover to the legally based mostly Classification for German Wines, there are some comparatively new labeling strategies by the Verband Deutscher Praedikatsweine (VDP). Wines with a top quality could be categorised in line with their Wine-growing Area and even to the actual Winery. Additional Classifications could seem in line with the Content material of Residual Sugar of the Wine:


  • Trocken (dry): lower than 9 grams/liter of residual sugar and often bearing yellow-coloured capsules
  • Halbtrocken (half-dry): 9-18 grams/liter of residual sugar and internationally slightly acknowledged as dry, bears largely lime-green capsules
  • Feinherb (off-dry): unregulated designation and barely sweeter than Halbtrocken
  • Lieblich / Delicate (semi-sweet): unregulated designation, sugar content material can largely be derived from the Predicate, bears largely purple seals
  • Sueß (candy): unregulated designation, sugar content material can largely be derived from the Predicate, bears largely purple seals


The VDP additionally differentiates between completely different sorts of Growers and Producers of a Wines by utilizing the next Phrases:


  • Weingut (Wine Property): refers to a Wine Producing Property
  • Weinkellerei (Vineyard): refers to a Vineyard
  • Winzergenossenschaft (Wine-growers Co-operative): refers to a Co-operation of a number of Wine-growers
  • Erzeugerabfuellung (Producer-bottled Wine): states that every one Grapes used for the Manufacturing are cultivated, pressed, matured and bottled on the identical Property (may also apply for Wine produced by a Wine-growers Co-operative)
  • Gutsabfuellung (Property-bottled Wine): refers to a Grower or Producer that meets the necessities for Producer-bottled Wine in addition to some extra necessities
  • Abfueller (Bottler / Shipper): refers to a Bottler or Shipper

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