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FRENCH WINES
French wine is produced throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7 to 8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times.

The wines produced range from expensive high-end wines sold internationally to more modest wines usually only seen within France such as the Margnat wines. Two concepts central to higher end French wines are the notion of "terroir", which links the style of the wines to the specific locations where the grapes are grown and the wine is made, and the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system. Appellation rules closely define which grape varieties and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or even specific vineyards.
France is the source of many grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) that are now planted throughout the world, as well as wine-making practices and styles of wine that have been adopted in other producing countries. Although some producers have benefited in recent years from rising prices and increased demand for some of the prestige wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, the French wine industry as a whole has been influenced by a decline in domestic consumption, while internationally, it has had to compete with the increased success of many new world wines.

In 1935, numerous laws were passed to control the quality of French wine. They established the Appellation d'origine contrôlée system, which is governed by a powerful oversight board (Institut national des appellations d'origine, INAO). Consequently, France has one of the oldest systems for protected designation of origin for wine in the world, and strict laws concerning winemaking and production. Many other European systems are modelled after it. The word "appellation" has been put to use by other countries, sometimes in a much looser meaning. As European Union wine laws have been modelled after those of the French, this trend is likely to continue with further EU expansion.

French law divides wine into four categories, two falling under the European Union's Table Wine category and two falling under the EU's Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions (QWPSR) designation. The categories and their shares of the total French production for the 2005 vintage, excluding wine destined for Cognac, Armagnac and other brandies, were:
Table wine: Vin de Table (11.7%) – Carries with it only the producer and the designation that it is from France.

Vin de Pays (33.9%) – Carries with it a specific region within France (for example Vin de Pays d'Oc from Languedoc-Roussillon or Vin de Pays de Côtes de Gascogne from Gascony), and subject to less restrictive regulations than AOC wines. For instance, it allows producers to distinguish wines that are made using grape varieties or procedures other than those required by the AOC rules, without having to use the simple and commercially non-viable table wine classification. In order to maintain a distinction from Vin de Table, the producers have to submit the wine for analysis and tasting, and the wines have to be made from certain varieties or blends.

Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC, 53.4%) – Wine from a particular area with many other restrictions, including grape varieties and winemaking methods.

The total French production for the 2005 vintage was 43.9 million hl (plus an additional 9.4 million hl destined for various brandies), of which 28.3% was white and 71.7% was red or rosé. The proportion of white wine is slightly higher for the higher categories, with 34.3% of the AOC wine being white. In years with less favourable vintage conditions than 2005, the proportion of AOC wine tends to be a little lower.

The proportion of Vin de table has decreased considerably over the last decades, while the proportion of AOC has increased somewhat and Vin de Pays has increased considerably. In 2005 there were 472 different wine AOCs in France.

The wine classification system of France was under overhaul from 2006, with a new system fully introduced as of 2012. The new system consists of three categories rather than four, since there will be no category corresponding to VDQS from 2012.
The new categories are:
Vin de France, a table wine category basically replacing Vin de Table, but allowing grape variety and vintage to be indicated on the label.
Indication géographique protégée (IGP), an intermediate category basically replacing Vin de Pays.
Appellation d'origine protégée (AOP), the highest category basically replacing AOC wines.

The largest changes will be in the Vin de France category, and to VDQS wines, which either need to qualify as AOP wines or be downgraded to an IGP category. For the former AOC wines, the move to AOP will only mean minor changes to the terminology of the label, while the actual names of the appellations themselves will remain unchanged. While no new wines have been marketed under the old designations from 2012, bottles already in the distribution chain will not be relabelled. The concept of Terroir, which refers to the unique combination of natural factors associated with any particular vineyard, is important to French vignerons. It includes such factors as soil, underlying rock, altitude, slope of hill or terrain, orientation toward the sun, and microclimate (typical rain, winds, humidity, temperature variations, etc.). Even in the same area, no two vineyards have exactly the same terroir, thus being the base of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system that has been a model for appellation and wine laws across the globe.
In other words: when the same grape variety is planted in different regions, it can produce wines that are significantly different from each other. In France the concept of terroir manifests itself most extremely in the Burgundy region. The amount of influence and the scope that falls under the description of terroir has been a controversial topic in the wine industry. The amount of information included on French wine labels varies depending on which region the wine was made in, and what level of classification the wine carries. As a minimum, labels will usually state that classification, as well as the name of the producer, and, for wines above the Vin De Table level, will also include the geographical area where the wine was made. Sometimes that will simply be the wider region where the wine was made, but some labels, especially for higher quality wines, will also include details of the individual village or commune, and even the specific vineyard where the wine was sourced.
With the exception of wines from the Alsace region, France had no tradition of labelling wines with details of the grape varieties used. Since New World wines made the names of individual grape varieties familiar to international consumers in the late 20th century, more French wineries started to use varietal labelling. In general, varietal labelling is most common for the Vin de Pays category, although some AOC wines now also display varietal names.

For most AOC wines, if grape varieties are mentioned, they will be in small print on a back label. Labels will also indicate where the wine was bottled, which can be an indication as to the quality level of the wine, and whether it was bottled by a single producer, or more anonymously and in larger quantities:
"Mis en bouteille ..."
"... au château, au domaine, à la propriété": these have a similar meaning, and indicate the wine was "estate bottled", on the same property on which it was grown or at a cooperative (within the boundary of the appellation) of which that property is a member. "... par ..." the wine was bottled by the concern whose name follows.

This may be the producing vineyard or it may not.
"... dans la région de production": the wine was not bottled at the vineyard but by a larger business at its warehouse; this warehouse was within the same winemaking region of France as the appellation, but not necessarily within the boundary of the appellation itself. If a chateau or domaine is named, it may well not exist as a real vineyard, and the wine may be an assemblage from the grapes or the wines of several producers.
"... dans nos chais, dans nos caves": the wine was bottled by the business named on the label.
"Vigneron indépendant" is a special mark adopted by some independent wine-makers, to distinguish them from larger corporate winemaking operations and symbolize a return to the basics of the craft of wine-making. Bottles from these independent makers carry a special logo usually printed on the foil cap covering the cork.
If varietal names are displayed, common EU rules apply.
If a single varietal name is used, the wine must be made from a minimum of 85% of this variety.
If two or more varietal names are used, only the displayed varieties are allowed.
If two or more varietal names are used, they must generally appear in descending order.
The recognized wine producing areas in France are regulated by the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine – INAO in acronym. Every appellation in France is defined by INAO, in regards to the individual regions particular wine "character". If a wine fails to meet the INAO's strict criteria it is declassified into a lower appellation or even into Vin de Pays or Vin de Table. With the number of appellations in France too numerous to mention here, they are easily defined into one of the main wine producing regions listed below:

Alsace
Alsace is primarily a white-wine region, though some red, rosé, sparkling and sweet wines are also produced. It is situated in eastern France on the river Ill and borders Germany, a country with which it shares many grape varieties as well as a long tradition of varietal labelling. Grapes grown in Alsace include Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Pinot noir, and Muscat.

Beaujolais
Beaujolais is primarily a red-wine region generally made from the Gamay grape, though some white and sparkling rosé are also produced. It is situated in central East of France following the river Saone below Burgundy and above Lyon. There are 12 appellations in Beaujolais including Beaujolais AOC and Beaujolais-Villages AOC and 10 Crus: Brouilly, Regnié, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Chénas, Juliénas, Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent. The Beaujolais region is also notorious for the Beaujolais Nouveau, a popular vin de primeur which is released annually on the third Thursday of November.

Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a large region on the Atlantic coast, which has a long history of exporting its wines overseas. This is primarily a red wine region, famous for the wines Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion from the Médoc sub-region; Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone in Saint-Émilion; and Château Pétrus and Château Le Pin in Pomerol. The red wines produced are usually blended, from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and sometimes Cabernet Franc. Bordeaux also makes dry and sweet white wines, including some of the world's most famous sweet wines from the Sauternes appellation, such as Château d'Yquem.

Brittany
Brittany is not an official wine region any more. Yet it has a rich history related to grapegrowing and winemaking and has recently been demonstrating a revival of its viticulture. Several small recreational vineyards were established in the last two decades e.g. in Rennes, Quimper, Morlaix, Le Quillo, Cléguérec, Sain Sulliac, Le Folgoët, etc.

Burgundy
Burgundy or Bourgogne in eastern France is a region where red and white wines are equally important. Probably more terroir-conscious than any other region, Burgundy is divided into the largest number of appellations of any French region. The top wines from Burgundy's heartland in Côte d'Or command high prices. The Burgundy region is divided in four main parts:
The Cote de Nuits (from Marsannay-La-Cote down to Nuits-Saint-Georges)
The Cote de Beaune (from north of Beaune to Santenay)
The Cote Chalonnaise
The Maconnais

Two parts of Burgundy that are sometimes considered as separate regions are:
Beaujolais in the south, close to the Rhône Valley region, where mostly red wines are made in a fruity style that is usually consumed young. "Beaujolais Nouveau" is the only wine that can be legally consumed in the year of its production (Third week end of November)
Chablis, halfway between Côte d'Or and Paris, where white wines are produced on chalky soil giving a more crisp and steely style than the rest of Burgundy.
There are two main grape varieties used in Burgundy – Chardonnay for white wines, and Pinot noir for red. White wines are also sometimes made from Aligoté, and other grape varieties will also be found occasionally.
Gustave Henri Laly, a renowned wine producer from Burgundy, supplied the French General Assembly with his Montrachet produced at Mont Dardon around the turn of the 20th century.

Champagne
Champagne, situated in eastern France, close to Belgium and Luxembourg, is the coldest of France's major wine regions and home to its major sparkling wine. Champagne wines can be both white and rosé. A small amount of still wine is produced in Champagne using (as AOC Coteaux Champenois) of which some can be red wine.

Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean the wines of which are primarily consumed on the island itself. It has nine AOC regions and an island-wide vin de pays designation and is still developing its production methods as well as its regional style.

Ile-de-France
Île-de-France is not an official wine region any more. Yet it has a rich history related to grape growing and wine making and has recently been demonstrating a revival of its viticulture. 5 villages of Ile de France (north-east of the Seine et Marne department) are part of the Champagne area and more than 200 small recreational vineyards were established in the last decades covering about 12 hectares altogether.

Jura
Jura, a small region in the mountains close to Switzerland where some unique wine styles, notably Vin Jaune and Vin de Paille, are produced. The region covers six appellations and is related to Burgundy through its extensive use of the Burgundian grapes Chardonnay and Pinot noir, though other varieties are used. It also shares cool climate with Burgundy.

Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest region in terms of vineyard surface and production, hence the region in which much of France's cheap bulk wines have been produced. So-called "wine lake", Languedoc-Roussillon is also the home of some innovative producers who combine traditional French wine like blanquette de Limoux, the world's oldest sparkling wine, and international styles while using lessons from the New World. Much Languedoc-Roussillon wine is sold as Vin de Pays d'Oc.

Loire
Loire valley is a primarily white-wine region that stretches over a long distance along the Loire River in central and western France, and where grape varieties and wine styles vary along the river. Four sub-regions are situated along the river: Upper Loire is known for its Sauvignon blanc, producing wines such as Sancerre AOC, but also consisting of several VDQS areas; Touraine produces cold climate-styled white wines (dry, sweet or sparkling) from Chenin blanc in Vouvray AOC and red wines from Cabernet Franc in Bourgueil AOC and Chinon AOC; Anjou-Saumur is similar to the Tourain wines with respect to varieties, but the dry Savennières AOC and sweet Coteaux du Layon AOC are often more powerful than their upstream neighbours. Saumur AOC and Saumur-Champigny AOC provides reds; and Pays Nantais is situated closest to the Atlantic, and Muscadet AOC produces white wines from the Melon de Bourgogne grape.

Normandy
Normandy is not an official wine region any more. Yet it has a rich history related to grape growing and winemaking and has recently been demonstrating a revival of its viticulture. Several small recreational vineyards were established in the last two decades and at least one operates on a commercial scale in Grisy near Caen.

Picardy
Picardy is not an official wine region any more. Yet it has a rich history related to grapegrowing and winemaking and has recently been demonstrating a revival of its viticulture. 40 villages of Picardy (south of the Aisne department) are now part of the Champagne area and several small recreational vineyards were established in the last two decades e.g. in Coucy le Château, Gerberoy, Gouvieux, Clairoix, etc.

Provence
Provence, in the south-east and close to the Mediterranean. It is perhaps the warmest wine region of France and produces mainly rosé and red wine. It covers eight major appellations led by the Provence flagship, Bandol. Some Provence wine can be compared with the Southern Rhône wines as they share both grapes and, to some degree, style and climate. Provence also has a classification of its most prestigious estates, much like Bordeaux.

Rhône
Rhône Valley, primarily a red-wine region in south-eastern France, along the Rhône River. The styles and varietal composition of northern and southern Rhône differ, but both parts compete with Bordeaux as traditional producers of red wines.

Savoy
Savoy or Savoie, primarily a white-wine region in the Alps close to Switzerland, where many grapes unique to this region are cultivated.

South West France
South West France or Sud-Ouest, a somewhat heterogeneous collection of wine areas inland or south of Bordeaux. Some areas produce primarily red wines in a style reminiscent of red Bordeaux, while other produce dry or sweet white wines. Areas within Sud-Ouest include among other:
Bergerac and other areas of upstream Dordogne;
Areas of upstream Garonne, including Cahors;
Areas in Gascony, also home to the production of Armagnac, Madiran, Côtes de Gascogne, Côtes de Saint-Mont, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Tursan;
Béarn, such as Jurançon; and Basque Country areas, such as Irouléguy.

There are also several smaller production areas situated outside these major regions. Many of those are VDQS wines, and some, particularly those in more northern locations, are remnants of production areas that were once larger.

Trends
France has traditionally been the largest consumer of its own wines. However, wine consumption has been dropping in France for 40 years. During the decade of the 1990s, per capita consumption dropped by nearly 20 percent. Therefore, French wine producers must rely increasingly on foreign markets. However, consumption has also been dropping in other potential markets such as Italy, Spain and Portugal. The result has been a continuing wine glut, often called the wine lake. This has led to the distillation of wine into industrial alcohol as well as a government program to pay farmers to pull up their grape vines through vine pull schemes. A large part of this glut is caused by the re-emergence of Languedoc wine. Immune from these problems has been the market for Champagne as well as the market for the expensive ranked or classified wines. However, these constitute only about five percent of French production. French regulations in 1979 created simple rules for the then-new category of Vin de pays. The Languedoc-Roussillon region has taken advantage of its ability to market varietal wines.
ITALIAN WINES
Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, and Italian wines are known worldwide for their broad variety.

Italy, closely followed by France, is the world’s largest wine producer by volume. Its contribution is about 45–50 million hl per year, and represents about 33% of global production. Italian wine is exported around the world and is also extremely popular in Italy: Italians rank fifth on the world wine consumption list by volume with 42 litres per capita consumption.



Grapes are grown in almost every region of the country and there are more than one million vineyards under cultivation. Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in Italy before the Romans started their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. Roman grape-growing and winemaking was prolific and well-organized, pioneering large-scale production and storage techniques like barrel-making and bottling.

In 1963, the first official Italian system of classification of wines was launched. Since then, several modifications and additions to the legislation have been made (a major one in 1992), the last of which, in 2010, has established four basic categories, which are consistent with the last EU regulation in matter of wine (2008–09). The categories, from the bottom level to the top one, are:

Vini (Wines - informally called 'generic wines'): These are wines that can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU; no indication of geographical origin, of the grape varieties used, or of the vintage is allowed on the label. (The label only reports the colour of the wine.)

Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines): These are generic wines that are made either mostly (at least 85%) from one kind of authorized 'international' grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) or entirely from two or more of them. The grape(s) and the vintage can be indicated on the label. (The prohibition to indicate the geographical origin is instead maintained. These wines can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU.)

Vini IGP (Wines with Protected Geographical Indication): This category (also traditionally implemented in Italy as IGT - Typical Geographical Indication) is reserved to wines produced in a specific territory within Italy and following a series of specific and precise regulations on authorized varieties, viticultural and vinification practices, organoleptic and chemico-physical characteristics, labelling instructions, etc.

Currently (2016) there exist 118 IGPs/IGTs.

Vini DOP (Wines with Protected Designation of Origin): This category includes two sub-categories, i.e. Vini DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and Vini DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). DOC wines must have been IGP wines for at least 5 years. They generally come from smaller regions, within a certain IGP territory, that are particularly noted for their climatic and geological characteristics and for the quality and originality of the local winemaking traditions. They also must follow stricter production regulations than IGP wines.

A DOC wine can be promoted to DOCG if it has been a DOC for at least 10 years. In addition to fulfilling the requisites for DOC wines (since that's the category they come from), before commercialization DOCG wines must pass stricter analyses, including a tasting by a specifically appointed committee. DOCG wines have also demonstrated a superior commercial success.

Currently (2016) there exist 332 DOCs and 73 DOCGs for a total of 405 DOPs. A number of sub-categories also exist regulating the production of sparkling wines (e.g. Vino Spumante, Vino Spumante di Qualità, Vino Spumante di Qualità di Tipo Aromatico, Vino Frizzante).

Within the DOP category,

'Classico' is a wine produced in the historically oldest part of the protected territory.

'Superiore' is a wine with at least 0.5 more alc%/vol than its correspondent regular DOP wine and produced using a smaller allowed quantity of grapes per hectare, generally yielding a higher quality.

'Riserva' is a wine that has been aged for a minimum period of time, depending on the typology (red, white, Traditional-method sparkling, Charmat-method sparkling).

Sometimes, 'Classico' or 'Superiore' are themselves part of the name of the DOP (e.g. Chianti Classico DOCG or Soave Superiore DOCG).
The Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF) regularly publishes updates to the official classification. It is important to remark that looser regulations do not necessarily correspond to lower quality. In fact, many IGP wines are actually top level products, mainly due to the special skills of their producers (e.g. so called "Super Tuscan" wines are generally IGP wines, but there are also several other IGP wines of superior quality).

Unlike France, Italy has never had an official classification of its best 'crus'. Private initiatives like the Comitato Grandi Cru d'Italia (Committee of the Grand Crus of Italy) and the Instituto del Vino Italiano di Qualità—Grandi marchi (Institute of Quality Italian Wine—Great Brands) each gather a selection of renowned top Italian wine producers, in an attempt to unofficially represent the Italian wine excellence. In 2007 the Barbaresco Consorzio was the first to introduce the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (additional geographic mentions) also known as MEGA or subzones; there were 65 subzones vineyard areas, with one more approved in 2010 which brought the final number to 66.

The main goal was to put official boundaries to some of the most storied crus in order to protect them from unjustified expansion and exploitation. The Barolo Consorzio followed suit in 2010 with 181 MEGA, of which 170 were vineyard areas and 11 were village designations. Following the introductions of MEGA for Barbaresco and Barolo the term Vigna (Italian for vineyard) can be used on labels after its respective MEGA and only if the vineyard is within one of the approved official geographic mentions. The official introduction of subzones is strongly advocated by some for different denominations, but so far Barolo and Barbaresco are the only ones to have them.

Tuscan wine
Important wine-relevant geographic characteristics of Italy include: The extensive latitudinal range of the country permits wine growing from the Alps in the north to almost-within-sight of Africa in the south;

The fact that Italy is a peninsula with a long shoreline contributes moderating climate to coastal wine regions;

The extensive mountains and foothills provide many altitudes for grape growing and a variety of climate and soil conditions.

Italian wine regions
Italy's twenty wine regions correspond to the twenty administrative regions. Understanding of Italian wine becomes clearer with an understanding of the differences between each region; their cuisines reflect their indigenous wines, and vice versa.

The 73 DOCG wines are located in 15 different regions but most of them are concentrated in Piedmont, Lombardia, Veneto and Tuscany. Among these are appellations appreciated and sought after by wine lovers around the world: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino (colloquially known as the "Killer B's").

Other notable wines that in the latest years gain much attention in the international markets and among specialists are: Amarone della Valpolicella, Prosecco di Conegliano- Valdobbiadene, Taurasi from Campania, Franciacorta sparkling wines from Lombardy; evergreen wines are Chianti and Soave, while new wines from the Centre and South of Italy are quickly gaining recognition: Verdicchio, Sagrantino, Primitivo, Nero D'Avola among others. The Friuli-Venezia Giulia is world-famous for the quality of her white wines, like Pinot Grigio. Special sweet wines like Passitos and Moscatos, made in different regions, are also famous since old time.

The regions are, roughly from Northwest to Southeast:
Vineyard in Trentino-Alto Adige
Aosta Valley
Piemonte
Liguria
Lombardia
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Veneto
Emilia-Romagna
Toscana
Marche
Umbria
Lazio
Sardinia
Abruzzo
Molise
Campania
Basilicata
Puglia
Calabria
Sicily
Italian grape varieties
Italy's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIPAAF), has documented over 350 grapes and granted them "authorized" status. There are more than 500 other documented varieties in circulation as well. The following is a list of the most common and important of Italy's many grape varieties.

Bianco (White)
Arneis: A variety from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century. Catarratto: Common in Sicily—this is the most widely planted white variety in Salaparuta.
Fiano: Grown on the southwest coast of Italy.
Friulano: A variety also known as Sauvignon Vert or Sauvignonasse, it yields one of the most typical wines of Friuli. The wine was previously known as Tocai but the name was changed by the EC to avoid confusion with the Tokay dessert wine from Hungary.
Garganega: The main grape variety for wines labeled Soave, this is a dry white wine from the Veneto wine region of Italy. It is popular in northeast Italy around the city of Verona. Currently, there are over 3,500 distinct producers of Soave. Greco di Tufo: Grown on the southwest coast of Italy.
Malvasia bianca: A white variety that occurs throughout Italy with many clones and mutations.
Moscato blanc: Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d'Asti. Not to be confused with Moscato Giallo and Moscato rosa, two Germanic varietals that are grown in Trentino Alto-Adige.
Nuragus: An ancient Sardinian variety found in southern Sardegna, producing light and tart wines consumed as an aperitifs.
Passerina: mainly derives from Passerina grapes (it may even be produced purely with these), plus a minimum percentage of other white grapes and may be still, sparkling or passito. The still version has an acidic profile, which is typical of these grapes.
Pecorino: Native to Marche and Abruzzo, it is used in the Falerio dei Colli Ascolani and Offida DOC wines. It is low-yielding, but will ripen early and at high altitudes. Pecorino wines have a rich, aromatic character.
Pigato: An acidic variety from Liguria, the wines are vinified to pair with seafood.
Pinot grigio: A successful commercial grape (known as Pinot Gris in France), its wines are characterized by crispness and cleanness. The wine can range from mild to full-bodied.
Ribolla Gialla: A Greek variety introduced by the Venetians that now makes its home in Friuli.
Trebbiano: This is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo and from Lazio, including Frascati. Trebbiano from producers such as Valentini have been known to age for 15+ years. It is known as Ugni blanc in France.
Verdicchio: This is grown in the areas of Castelli di Jesi and Matelica in the Marche region and gives its name to the varietal white wine made from it. The name comes from "verde" (green). In the last few year Verdicchio wines are considered to be the best white wines of Italy.
Vermentino: This is widely planted in Sardinia and also found in Tuscan and Ligurian coastal districts. The wines are a popular accompaniment to seafood.

Other important whites include Carricante, Coda de Volpe, Cortese, Falanghina, Grechetto, Grillo, Inzolia, Picolit, Traminer, Verduzzo, and Vernaccia.

Non-native varieties include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer (sometimes called traminer aromatico), Petite Arvine, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, and others.
Rosso (red)
Aglianico del Vulture: Based on the Aglianico grape produced in the Vulture area of Basilicata. It was recognized as DOC in 1971 and DOCG in 2011.
Aglianico: Considered the "noble varietal of the south", it is primarily grown in Basilicata and Campania. The name is probably derived from Hellenic, so it is considered a Greek transplant. The fruit is thick skinned and spicy fruit.
Barbera: The most widely grown red wine grape of Piedmont and Southern Lombardy, most cultivated around the towns of Asti, Alba, and Pavia. Barbera wines were once considered simply "what you drank while waiting for the Barolo to be ready", but with a new generation of wine makers this is no longer the case. The wines are now meticulously vinified: in the Asti region Barbera grapes are used to make "Barbera d'Asti Superiore", which may be aged in French barriques to become Nizza, a quality wine aimed at the international market. The vine has bright cherry-coloured fruit, and its wine is acidic with a dark colour.
Corvina: Along with the varietals Rondinella and molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone. Valpolicella wine has dark cherry fruit and spice. After the grapes undergo passito (a drying process), the wine is now called Amarone, and is high in alcohol (16% and up) and characterized by raisin, prune, and syrupy fruits. Some Amarones can age for 40+ years and command spectacular prices. In December 2009, there was celebration when the acclaimed Amarone di Valpolicella was finally awarded its long-sought DOCG status. The same method used for Amarone is used for Recioto, the oldest wine produced in this area, but the difference is that Recioto is a sweet wine.
Dolcetto: A grape that grows alongside Barbera and Nebbiolo in Piedmont, its name means "little sweet one", referring not to the taste of the wine, but the ease in which it grows and makes good wines suitable for everyday drinking. Flavors of concord grape, wild blackberries, and herbs permeate the wine.
Malvasia nera: Red Malvasia varietal from Piedmont. A sweet and perfumed wine, sometimes elaborated in the passito style.
Montepulciano: Not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano; it is most widely planted grape on the opposite coast in Abruzzo. Its wines develop silky plum-like fruit, friendly acidity, and light tannin. More recently, producers have been creating a rich, inky, extracted version of this wine, a sharp contrast to the many inferior bottles produced in the past.
Nebbiolo: The most noble of Italy's varieties. The name (meaning "little fog") refers to the autumn fog that blankets most of Piedmont where Nebbiolo is chiefly grown, and where it achieves the most successful results. A difficult grape variety to cultivate, it produces the most renowned Barolo and Barbaresco, made in the province of Cuneo, along with the lesser-known Sforzato, Inferno and Sassella made in Valtellina, Ghemme and Gattinara, made in Vercelli's province. Traditionally produced Barolo can age for fifty years-plus, and is regarded by many wine enthusiasts as the greatest wine of Italy.
Negroamaro: The name literally means "black bitter". A widely planted grape with its concentration in the region of Puglia, it is the backbone of the Salice Salentino.
Nero d'Avola: This once-obscure native varietal of Sicily is gaining attention for its fruit and sweet tannins. The quality of Nero d'Avola has surged in recent years.
Primitivo: A red grape planted found in southern Italy, most notably in Apulia. Primitivo ripens early and thrives in warm climates, where it can achieve very high alcohol levels. It is known as Zinfandel in California.
Sagrantino: A native of Umbria, it is planted on only 250 hectares, but the wines produced from it (either blended with Sangiovese as Rosso di Montefalco or as a pure Sagrantino) are world-renowned. These wines can age for many years.
Sangiovese: Italy's claim to fame is the pride of Tuscany. It produces Chianti (Classico), Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Montefalco Rosso, and many others. Sangiovese is also the backbone in many of the acclaimed, modern-styled "Super-Tuscans", where it is blended with Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc) and typically aged in French oak barrels, resulting in a wine primed for the international market in the style of a typical California cabernet: oaky, high-alcohol, and a ripe, fruit-forward profile.
Other major red varieties are Cannonau, Ciliegolo, Gaglioppo, Lagrein, Lambrusco, Monica, Nerello Mascalese, Pignolo, Refosco, Schiava, Schiopettino, Teroldego, and Uva di Troia.

"International" varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah are also widely grown.

Super Tuscans
The term "Super Tuscan" is a term (mostly used in the English-speaking world and virtually unknown in Italy) that describes any wine (mostly red, but sometimes also white) produced in Tuscany and that generally does not adhere to the traditional local DOC(G) regulations. As a result, Super Tuscans are usually Toscana IGT wines, while others are Bolgheri DOC, a designation of origin rather open to international grape varieties. Instead, traditional Tuscan DOC(G)s require that wines are made from native grapes and mostly Sangiovese. While sometimes Super Tuscans are actually produced by Sangiovese alone, they are also often obtained by
(1) blending Sangiovese with international grapes (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah),
(2) blending international grapes alone (especially classic Bordeaux grapes for reds; Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc for whites), or
(3) using one single international variety. In a sense, red Super Tuscans anticipated the Meritage, a well-known category of international Bordeaux-style reds of US origin.

Although an extraordinary amount of wines claim to be “the first Super Tuscan,” most would agree that this credit belongs to Sassicaia, the brainchild of marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who planted Cabernet Sauvignon at his Tenuta San Guido estate in Bolgheri back in 1944. It was for many years the marchese’s personal wine, until, starting with the 1968 vintage, it was released commercially in 1971.
In 1968 Azienda Agricola San Felice produced a Super Tuscan called Vigorello, and in the 1970s Piero Antinori, whose family had been making wine for more than 600 years, also decided to make a richer wine by eliminating the white grapes from the Chianti blend, and instead adding Bordeaux varietals (namely, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). He was inspired by Sassicaia, of which he was given the sale agency by his uncle Mario Incisa della Rocchetta. The result was one of the first Super Tuscans, which he named Tignanello, after the vineyard where the grapes were grown. What was formerly Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Tignanello, was pulled from the DOC in 1971, first eliminating the white grapes (then compulsory in Chianti DOC) and gradually adding French varieties. By 1975, Tignanello was made with 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc, and it remains so today. Other winemakers started experimenting with Super Tuscan blends of their own shortly thereafter.
Because these wines did not conform to strict DOC (G) classifications, they were initially labeled as vino da tavola, meaning "table wine," an old official category ordinarily reserved for lower quality wines. The creation of the Indicazione Geografica Tipica category (technically indicating a level of quality between vino da tavola and DOC (G)) in 1992 and the DOC Bolgheri label in 1994 helped bring Super Tuscans "back into the fold" from a regulatory standpoint. Since the pioneering work of the Super Tuscans, there has been a rapid expansion in production of high-quality wines throughout Italy that do not qualify for DOC or DOCG classification, as a result of the efforts of a new generation of Italian wine producers and, in some cases, flying winemakers.

Wine guides
Many international wine guides and wine publications rate the most popular Italian wines. Among the Italian publications, Gambaro Rosso is probably the most influential. In particular, the wines that are annually given the highest rating of "three glasses" (Tre Bicchieri) attract much attention. Recently, other guides, such as Slow Wine, published by Slow Food Italia, and Bibenda, compiled by the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (AIS), have also gained attention both among professionals and amateurs. Slow Wine has the interesting feature of reporting on several wineries (small and medium) that genuinely represent the territory and on products that are especially interesting for their price/quality ratio (Vini Slow and Vini Quotidiani).

Vino cotto and vincotto
Vino cotto (literally cooked wine) is a form of wine from the Marche and Abruzzo in Central Italy. It is typically made by individuals for their own use as it cannot legally be sold as wine. The must, from any of several local varieties of grapes, is heated in a copper vessel where it is reduced in volume by up to a third before fermenting in old wooden barrels. It can be aged for years, barrels being topped up with each harvest. It is a strong ruby-coloured wine, somewhat similar to Madeira, usually drunk with sweet puddings.

Vincotto, typically from Apulia, also starts as a cooked must but is not fermented, resulting in a sweet syrup suitable for the preparation of sweets and soft drinks. Once reduced and allowed to cool it is aged in storage for a few years.
GERMAN WINES
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of the German wine production is situated in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated.

Germany has about 102,000 hectares (252,000 acres or 1,020 square kilometers) of vineyard, which is around one tenth of the vineyard surface in Spain, France or Italy.

The total wine production is usually around 9 million hectoliters annually, corresponding to 1.2 billion bottles, which places Germany as the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. White wine accounts for almost two thirds of the total production.

As a wine country, Germany has a mixed reputation internationally, with some consumers on the export markets associating Germany with the world's most elegant and aromatically pure white wines while other see the country mainly as the source of cheap, mass-market semi-sweet wines such as Liebfraumilch. Among enthusiasts, Germany's reputation is primarily based on wines made from the Riesling grape variety, which at its best is used for aromatic, fruity and elegant white wines that range from very crisp and dry to well-balanced, sweet and of enormous aromatic concentration.

While primarily a white wine country, red wine production surged in the 1990s and early 2000s, primarily fuelled by domestic demand, and the proportion of the German vineyards devoted to the cultivation of dark-skinned grape varieties has now stabilized at slightly more than a third of the total surface. For the red wines, Spätburgunder, the domestic name for Pinot noir, is in the lead.
Germany produces wines in many styles: dry, semi-sweet and sweet white wines, rosé wines, red wines and sparkling wines, called Sekt. (The only wine style not commonly produced is fortified wine.)

Due to the northerly location of the German vineyards, the country has produced wines quite unlike any others in Europe, many of outstanding quality. Between the 1950s and the 1980s German wine was known abroad for cheap, sweet or semi-sweet, low-quality mass-produced wines such as Liebfraumilch. The wines have historically been predominantly white, and the finest made from Riesling. Many wines have been sweet and low in alcohol, light and unoaked. Historically many of the wines (other than late harvest wines) were probably dry (trocken), as techniques to stop fermentation did not exist. Recently much more German white wine is being made in the dry style again.

Much of the wine sold in Germany is dry, especially in restaurants. However most exports are still of sweet wines, particularly to the traditional export markets such as Great Britain, which is the leading export market both in terms of volume and value. The United States (second in value, third in volume) and the Netherlands (second in volume, third in value) are two other important export markets for German wine.

Red wine has always been hard to produce in the German climate, and in the past was usually light coloured, closer to rosé or the red wines of Alsace. However recently there has been greatly increased demand and darker, richer red wines (often barrique aged) are produced from grapes such as Dornfelder and Spätburgunder, the German name for Pinot noir.

Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of German wines is the high level of acidity in them, caused both by the lesser ripeness in a northerly climate and by the selection of grapes such as Riesling—which retain acidity, even at high ripeness levels. The German wine regions are some of the most northerly in the world. The main wine-producing climate lies below the 50th parallel, which runs through the regions Rheingau and Mosel.

Above this line the climate becomes less conducive to wine production, but there are still some vineyards above this line. Because of the northerly climate, there has been a search for suitable grape varieties (particularly frost resistant and early harvesting ones), and many crosses have been developed, such as Müller-Thurgau in the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute.

Recently there has been an increase in plantings of Riesling as local and international demand has been demanding high quality wines. The wines are all produced around rivers, mainly the Rhine and its tributaries, often sheltered by mountains. The rivers have significant microclimate effects to moderate the temperature. The soil is slate in the steep valleys, to absorb the sun's heat and retain it overnight. On the rolling hills the soil is lime and clay dominated. The great sites are often extremely steep so they catch the most sunlight, but they are difficult to harvest mechanically. The slopes are also positioned facing the south or south-west to angle towards the sun. The vineyards are extremely small compared to new world vineyards. This makes the lists of wines produced long and complex, and many wines hard to obtain as production is so limited.
Regions
The wine regions in Germany usually referred to are the 13 defined regions for quality wine. The German wine industry has organised itself around these regions and their division into districts. However, there are also a number of regions for the seldom-exported table wine (Tafelwein) and country wine (Landwein) categories. Those regions with a few exceptions overlap with the quality wine regions. To make a clear distinction between the quality levels, the regions and sub regions for different quality level have different names on purpose, even when they are allowed to be produced in the same geographical area.

German wine regions
There are 13 defined regions ("Anbaugebiete") in Germany:

1. Ahr - a small region along the river Ahr, a tributary of Rhine, which despite its northerly location primarily produces red wine from Spätburgunder.

2. Baden - Germany's southernmost, warmest and sunniest wine-growing region, in Germany's southwestern corner, across river Rhine from Alsace, and the only German wine region situated in European Union wine growing zone B rather than A, which results in higher minimum required maturity of grapes and less chaptalisation allowed. Noted for its pinot wines - both red and white. The Kaiserstuhl region in the wine growing region of Baden is Germany's warmest location. One of two wine regions in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

3. Franconia or Franken - around portions of Main river, and the only wine region situated in Bavaria. Noted for growing many varieties on chalky soil and for producing powerful dry Silvaner wines. In Germany, only Franconia and certain small parts of the Baden region are allowed to use the distinctive flattened Bocksbeutel bottle shape.

4. Hessische Bergstraße (Hessian Mountain Road) - a small region in the federal state Hesse dominated by Riesling.

5. Mittelrhein - along the middle portions of river Rhine, primarily between the regions Rheingau and Mosel, and dominated by Riesling.

6. Mosel - along the river Moselle (Mosel) and its tributaries, the rivers Saar and Ruwer, and was previously known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The Mosel region is dominated by Riesling grapes and slate soils, and the best wines are grown in dramatic-looking steep vineyards directly overlooking the rivers. This region produces wine that is light in body, crisp, of high acidity and with pronounced mineral character. The only region to stick to Riesling wine with noticeable residual sweetness as the "standard" style, although dry wines are also produced.

7. Nahe - around the river Nahe where volcanic origins give very varied soils. Mixed grape varieties but the best-known producers primarily grow Riesling, and some of them have achieved world reputation in recent years.

8. Palatinate or Pfalz - the second largest producing region in Germany, with production of very varied styles of wine (especially in the southern half), where red wine has been on the increase. The northern half of the region is home to many well-known Riesling producers with a long history, which specialize in powerful Riesling wines in a dry style. Until 1995, it was known in German as Rheinpfalz.

9. Rheingau - a small region at a bend in the Rhine that provide excellent conditions for wine growing. The oldest documented references to Riesling come from the Rheingau region and it is the region where many German wine making practices have originated, such as the use of Prädikat designations, and where many high-profile producers are situated. Dominated by Riesling with some Spätburgunder. The Rheingau Riesling style is in-between Mosel and the Palatinate and other southern regions, and at its finest combines the best aspects of both.

10. Rheinhessen or Rhenish Hesse - the largest production area in Germany. Once known as Liebfraumilch land, but a quality revolution has taken place since the 1990s. Mixed wine styles and both red and white wines. The best Riesling wines are similar to Palatinate Riesling - dry and powerful. Despite its name, it lies in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, not in Hesse.

11. Saale-Unstrut - one of two regions in former East Germany along the rivers Saale and Unstrut, and Germany's northernmost wine growing region.

12. Saxony or Sachsen - one of two regions in former East Germany, in the south-eastern corner of the country, along the river Elbe in the federal state of Saxony.



13. Württemberg - a traditional red wine region, where grape varieties Trollinger (the region's signature variety), Schwarzriesling and Lemberger outnumber the varieties that dominate elsewhere. One of two wine regions in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
These 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) are broken down into 39 districts (Bereiche) which are further broken down into collective vineyard sites (Großlagen) of which there are 167. The individual vineyard sites (Einzellagen) number 2,658. White grape varieties account for 63% of the area planted in Germany. Principal varieties are listed below; there are larger numbers of less important varieties too.

Riesling is the benchmark grape in Germany and covers the most area in German vineyards. It is an aromatic variety with a high level of acidity that can be used for dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines. The drawback to Riesling is that it takes 130 days to ripen and, in marginal years, the Riesling crop tends to be poor.

Müller-Thurgau is an alternative grape to Riesling that growers have been using, and is one of the so-called new crossings. Unlike the long ripening time of Riesling, this grape variety only requires 100 days to ripen, can be planted on more sites, and is higher yielding. However, this grape has a more neutral flavour than Riesling, and as the main ingredient of Liebfraumilch its reputation has taken a beating together with that wine variety. Germany's most planted variety from the 1970s to the mid-1990s, it has been losing ground for a number of years. Dry Müller-Thurgau is usually labeled Rivaner.

Silvaner is another fairly neutral, but quite old grape variety that was Germany's most planted until the 1960s and after that has continued to lose ground. It has however remained popular in Franconia and Rheinhessen, where it is grown on chalky soils to produce powerful dry wines with a slightly earthy and rustic but also food-friendly character.

Common red wine grapes
Red wine varieties account for 37% of the plantations in Germany but has increased in recent years. Spätburgunder (Pinot noir) - a much-appreciated grape variety that demands good sites to produce good wines and therefore competes with Riesling. It is considered to give the most elegant red wines of Germany.
Dornfelder - a "new crossing" that has become much appreciated in Germany since it is easy to grow and gives dark-coloured, full-bodied, fruity and tannic wines of a style that used to be hard to produce in Germany.
Portugieser
Trollinger
Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier)
Lemberger (Blaufränkisch)
Dunkelfelder
Heroldrebe
Domina

permitted red grapes

   
  Acolon
Dornfelder
Merlot
Spätburgunder
André
Dunkelfelder
Muskat-Trollinger
St. Laurent
Blauburger
Frühburgunder
Palas
Tauberschwarz
Cabernet Dorsa
Hegel
Portugieser
Trollinger
Cabernet Mitos
Helfensteiner
Regent
Zweigelt
Cabernet Sauvignon
Heroldrebe
Rondo  
Dakapo
Lemberger
Rotberger
Deckrot
Schwarzriesling  
Domina  

German wine classification
German wine classification is sometimes the source of confusion. However, to those familiar with the terms used, a German wine label reveals much information about the wine's origin, minimum ripeness of the grapes used for the wine as well as the dryness/sweetness of the wine.
Ripeness Classifications of German wines (any grape variety): In general, the ripeness classifications of German wines reflect minimum sugar content in the grape (also known as "potential alcohol" = the amount of alcohol resulting from fermenting all sugar in the juice) at the point of harvest of the grape. They have nothing to do with the sweetness of the wine after fermentation, which is one of the most common mis-perceptions about German wines.

Deutscher Tafelwein (German table wine) is mostly consumed in the country and not exported. Generally used for blended wines that cannot be Qualitätswein.

Deutscher Landwein (German country wine) comes from a larger designation and again doesn't play an important role in the export market.

Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) wines from a defined appellation with the exception of Liebfraumilch, which can be blended from several regions and still be classified as Qualitätswein.

Prädikatswein, recently (August 1, 2007) renamed from Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) wines made from grapes of higher ripeness. As ripeness increases, the fruit characteristics and price increase. Categories within Prädikatswein are Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. Wines of these categories cannot be chaptalized. All these categories within Prädikatswein are solely linked to minimum requirements of potential alcohol. While these may correlate with harvest time, there are no legally defined harvest time restrictions anymore.

Kabinett wines are made from grapes that have achieved minimum defined potential alcohol levels. Those minimum requirements differ by region and grape variety. Essentially, Kabinett is the first level of reserve grape selection.

Spätlese wines ("late harvest") are made from grapes that have achieved minimum defined potential alcohol levels. Those minimum requirements differ by region and grape variety. Essentially, Spatlese is the second level of reserve grape selection.

Auslese wines ("select harvest") are made from grapes that have achieved minimum defined potential alcohol levels. Those minimum requirements differ by region and grape variety. Essentially, Auslese is the third level of reserve grape selection.

Beerenauslese wines ("berry selection") are made from grapes that have achieved minimum defined potential alcohol levels. The concentration of the grape juice may have been facilitated by a fungus Botrytis, which perforates the skin of the grape forcing water to drip out and all remaining elements to concentrate. Due to the high potential alcohol level required for this category of ripeness, these wines are generally made into sweet wines and can make good dessert wines.

Trockenbeerenauslese wines ("dry berries selection") are made from grapes of an even higher potential alcohol level, generally reachable only with the help of Botrytis. The grapes used for Trockenbeerenauslese have reached an even more raisin-like state than those used for Beerenauslese. Due to the high concentration of sugar in the raisin-like grape, these wines can only be made in a sweet style and make extremely sweet, concentrated and usually quite expensive wines.

Eiswein (ice wine) wine is made grapes that freeze naturally on the vine and have to reach the same potential alcohol level as Beerenauslese. The grapes are harvested and pressed in the frozen state. The ice stays in the press during pressing and hence a concentrated juice flows off the press leading to higher potential alcohol levels, which in turn generally result in sweet wines due to the high potential alcohol. The taste differs from the other high-level wines since Botrytis infection is usually lower, ideally completely absent.
On wine labels, German wine may be classified according to the residual sugar of the wine. Trocken refers to dry wine. These wines have less than 9 grams/liter of residual sugar. Halbtrocken wines are off-dry and have 9 to 18 grams/liter of residual sugar. Due to the high acidity ("crispness") of many German wines, the taste profile of many halbtrocken wines fall within the "internationally dry" spectrum rather than being appreciably sweet. Feinherb wines are slightly sweeter than halbtrocken wines. Lieblich wines are noticeably sweet; except for the high category Prädikatsweine of type Beerenauslese and above, lieblich wines from Germany are usually of the low Tafelwein category. The amount of German wines produced in a lieblich style has dropped markedly since the style went out of fashion in the 1980s.

In recent years, the Verband Deutscher Prädikatswein (VDP), which is a private marketing club founded in 1910 (see www.vdp.de), has lobbied for the recognition of a vineyard classification, but their effort have not yet changed national law.

There are also several terms to identify the grower and producers of the wine:
Weingut refers to a wine growing and producing estate.
Weinkellerei refers to a bottling facility, a bottler or shipper.
Winzergenossenschaft refers to a winemaking cooperative.
Gutsabfüllung refers to a grower/producer wine that is estate bottled.
Abfüller refers to a bottler or shipper.
Industry structure
The German wine industry consists of many small vineyard owners. The 1999 viticultural survey counted 68 598 vineyard owners, down from 76 683 in Western Germany in 1989/90, for an average size of 1.5 ha. Most of the 40 625 operators of less than 0.5 ha should likely be classified as hobby winemakers. Many smaller vineyard owners do not pursue viticulture as a full-time occupation, but rather as a supplement to other agriculture or to hospitality. It is not uncommon for a visitor to a German wine region to find that a small family-owned Gasthaus has its own wine. Smaller grape-growers who do not wish to, or are unable to, commercialise their own wine have several options available: sell the grapes (either on the market each harvest year, or on long-term contract with larger wineries looking to supplement their own production), deliver the grapes to a wine-making cooperative (called Winzergenossenschaft in Germany), or sell the wine in bulk to winemaking firms that use them in "bulk brands" or as a base wine for Sekt. Those who own vineyards in truly good locations also have the option of renting them out to larger producers to operate.

5,892 vineyard owners owned more than 5 ha each in 1999, accounting for 57% of Germany's total vineyard surface, and it is in this category that the full-time vintners and commercial operations are primarily found. However, truly large wineries, in terms of their own vineyard holdings, are rare in Germany. Hardly any German wineries reach the size of New World winemaking companies, and only a few are of the same size as a typical Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé château. Of the ten wineries considered as Germany's best by Gault Millau Weinguide in 2007, nine had 10,2 — 19 ha of vineyards, and one (Weingut Robert Weil, owned by Suntory) had 70 ha. This means that most of the high-ranking German wineries each only produces around 100,000 bottles of wine per year. That production is often distributed over, say, 10-25 different wines from different vineyards, of different Prädikat, sweetness and so on. The largest vineyard owner is the Hessian State Wineries (Hessische Staatsweingüter), owned by the federal state of Hesse, with 200 ha vineyards, the produce of which is vinified in three separate wineries. The largest privately held winery is Dr. Bürklin-Wolf in the Palatinate with 85,5 ha.

Largest German wineries
By April 2014, the ten largest German wine producers were:
Weingut Lergenmüller Hainfeld (Palatinate) 110 ha and Schloss Reinhartshausen 80 ha
Juliusspital, Würzburg (Franken) 170 ha
Weingut Heinz Pfaffmann, Walsheim (Palatinate) 150 ha
Hessische Staatsweingüter Eltville (Rheingau) 140 ha
Markgraf von Baden Salem (Baden) 140 ha
Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier (Mosel) 95 ha
Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg (Franconia) 120 ha
Weingut Anselmann Edesheim (Palatinate) 115 ha
Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist Würzburg (Franconia) 110 ha
Weingut Friedrich Kiefer Eichstetten am Kaiserstuhl (Baden) 110 ha


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