Germany

Definition

Wine

  • a European country, the seventh-largest wine-producing nation in the world, that mainly produces, and is best-known for, white wines because of its cool climate. It grows mostly the Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, and Sylvaner grape varieties. Germany has 13 general growing regions over the country, called Anbaugebiete, which are divided into smaller Bereiche (districts), Grosslagen (general areas) and the highly specific Einzellagen (vineyards). The German wine classification system, set up in the 1970s, has three broad categories: Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) for top-quality wine, Qualitätswein bestimmters Anbaugebiet (QbA) for middle-quality wines, and Deutscher Tafelwein (DTW) for table wines. Within the top QmP classification there are six levels, ranging from top to bottom as: Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein, Beerenauslese, Auslese, Spätlese and Kabinett. Under the classification system adding sugar to wine (chaptalisation) is allowed for DTW- and QbA-quality wines but not for QmP higher-quality wines. In addition to these levels of wine classification, a further laboratory test on the finished wine is carried out, and to confirm that the wine meets levels of sugar and alcohol the wine is assigned an Amtliche Prüfungsnummer (A.P.Nr), which is printed on the label. Germany has long been synonymous with cheap, semisweet wines stacked in huge quantities on supermarket shelves. This has left a lasting impression on wine consumers, one that the German wine industry is finding it hard to shake off. But Liebfraumilch and Piesporter Michelsberg are waning in popularity and the future for German wine must lie in the drier, fuller single estate wines that are being increasingly produced and especially in those using the Riesling grape.
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