German Food Guide
German Food Guide
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German Specialty & Regional Wines

In addition to the various types of wines whose names are derived by their grape type and quality category, the German wine law also permits a number of specialty and regional wines. Some of the most popular ones are identified below.


Vintage year 2000 brought a new type of wine ... the "Classic". Wines with the "Classic" logo appearing on their labels have a consistent profile: above average in quality, harmoniously dry in taste, and made from only one grape variety.

Classic wines have a simplified label, designed to make shopping for wine easier for the consumer. They are uncluttered and easy to recognize. The label shows the "Classic" logo next to or above the grape variety. The label also shows the name of the producer, wine-growing region, and vintage. No taste profile is listed on the label because Classic wines are dry in style.


Wines labeled as "Selection" signify the best of the vintage - a carefully selected, top-quality wine with a dry style. The outstanding quality of these wines comes from (1) carefully selected and inspected vineyards, (2) low yields, (3) grape harvesting by hand. Bottle aging is also required of all Selection wines. They cannot be sold until September 1st of the year following the havest.


Liebrauenmilch identifies a fruity estate wine (Qualitätswein - QbA) from the Rheingau, Nahe, Rheinhessen, or Pfalz wine region. It consists of at least 70% of the following white grape varieties: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, or Kerner. By law, the grape varieties are not allowe to be listed on the label.

Other Varieties

A 100% Riesling estate (QbA) wine with at least 1.5% more natural alcohol than required by the German wine law.

An estate (QbA) wine from the Mosel wine region. It is made from one of the following grape varieties: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Elbling, or Kerner. These wines must have a residual sugar level range of 15-30 grams per liter.

RS (Rheinhessen Silvaner)
A 100% Silvaner estate (QbA) wine from the Rheinhessen wine region. This is a dry wine with no more than 4 grams residual sugar per liter.

A 100% Riesling estate (QbA) wine from the Mittelrhein region. This is a medium-dry wine with a residual sugar level between 9-18 grams per liter.

Classic Wine
Photo: German Wine Institute

Apple Wine (Apfelwein)

Apfelwein (apple wine) is an alcoholic wine made from apples. It is a specialty throughout the state of Hessen but especially in Frankfurt.      
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Glühwein (Mulled Wine) is a hot drink enjoyed during the Christmas holidays and throughout the winter months in Germany. It is made from red wine and various spices. It is heated, but not to a boil so that the alcohol from the wine doesn't evaporate, then sweetened to taste.                               
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