Like so many countries in Europe, it’s believed that viticulture was introduced to Germany by the Romans who established an outpost for the Roman Empire along the Rhine River with garrisons situated along the Mosel River.
Today, German wines continue to be produced along the rivers Rhine and Mosel totaling 60% of Germany’s wine production. Germany has 252,000 acres of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy and is the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world.
Germany is one of the most northerly wine regions in the world with the majority of its vineyards situated around rivers, mainly the Rhine and its tributaries. The rivers have significant microclimates, which help moderate the area’s cool and marginal climate. Soil found in the rolling hills is predominately lime and clay, while slate covers the steep slopes leading up from the river beds. Considered to be the most labor intensive in the world, vines in this area cling to the hillsides at a 60 to 70 degree angle. Despite its challenge, slate provides natural drainage of the area’s heavy rainfall during winter months, while retaining heat during the summer.