Wine in SouthWest Germany
The Wine Regions
In Germany, sunny Southwest Germany is known for growing grapes and making award-winning wines: Müller-Thurgau from Tauberfranken, Pinot Noir from Lake Constance, Trollinger from Hohenlohe and Riesling from the Rems.
Southwest Germany has two major wine-making regions. The Baden vineyards run north-south for 250 miles/400 km along the eastern bank of the River Rhine. The climate is similar to the famous French wine-making areas of Alsace, Champagne, and the Loire. The other wine-making region, Württemberg, is farther east, running to the north and south of Stuttgart. This is the only German region where red wine is the specialty.
In Baden, the main varieties are Pinot noir (Spätburgunder), pinot gris (Grauburgunder) and pinot blanc (Weissburgunder). These give the region its distinctive character. Other popular and traditional grape varieties include Müller-Thurgau, Chasselas, Riesling, and Sylvaner. But wine growers are also experimenting successfully with varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And Württemberg is equally varied, with two exceptions: Trollinger and Lemberger are rightly regarded as regional specialties.
What characterizes SouthWest Germany is the number of co-ops. About three-quarters of the vineyards are tended by farmers, and the same families have done so for over 100 years. The rest are private estates, often owned by members of the aristocratic Baden and Württemberg families.