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The Moselle: Germany’s oldest wine-growing region
Geographic Location: Western Germany.
The Moselle region is the oldest winegrowing area in Germany. As far back as Roman times, people were aware that the climate and fertile soil of the Rhenish Slate Mountains provided optimal conditions for making wine.
The region is one of the warmest in Germany with an average annual temperature of around ten degrees Celsius. It stays sunny well into the autumn and there is hardly any frost in winter.
Boasting 9,000 hectares of vines and 5,000 vintners, the Moselle is the fifth largest of the 13 German wine regions and the largest single area in the world devoted to riesling production.
Steep terraced slopes that capture as much sun as possible and nutrient-rich soil provide the ideal conditions for growing this world-famous variety of grape. Only certain bottles can be labelled as quality Moselle wines, a privilege that does not extend to table or “land” wines. One third of the wines grown around the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer rivers is exported, with the UK, US, Japan, the Netherlands and Scandinavia the most important markets.
All year round, visitors to Germany can sample and purchase Moselle wines in the region’s wineries, wine shops and traditional vintner’s taverns. On offer alongside the popular rieslings are elblings, rivaners, burgundies made from white or pinot gris grapes, and Auxerrois and Chardonnays.
The Riesling in particular has an excellent nose with traces of apple, pear, peach, apricot, citrus fruit, herbs and even flowers. Cycle tours, river cruises and walks through the vineyards are just some of the many options for scenic excursions.
The Moselle tourism website Mosellandtouristik.de provides a list of Wine Festivals in the region (available in English).