Christmas Countdown: 12 Days of German Wine

As you stroll through the aisles searching for thoughtful holiday gifts for loved ones this year, you’ll inevitably have an “Ohrwurm” (oah-voo-um). This German term describes the sensation of having catchy tunes stuck in your head – like the unforgettable mix of sleigh bells and jazzy chords, holiday carols, or perhaps whispers of snowy nights and fireplaces. Whether you blissfully sing along to the surrounding music or quickly plug your ears, you can’t deny that these songs and their lyrics are forever imprinted in your memory.


To pay homage to a Christmas classic and share in the holiday spirit, we made a new rendition of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” After all, we know that our “true love” would’ve won our hearts immediately with a bottle of German wine each day – or perhaps our true love is German wine itself!


1. On the first day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: a fruity and fresh Riesling


Riesling is Germany’s most cultivated grape variety, with its vines covering 22% of the country’s vineyard area. Its hallmark is fruity acidity, which is unmistakable even in the sweeter styles. Auslese and Beerenauslese Rieslings are lusciously sweet yet bright and balanced dessert wines, ideal to sip on while building intricate gingerbread houses.


2. On the second day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: a dry Rosé


Usually made from Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) grapes, German Rosé displays aromas of fresh red fruits like raspberries, red currants, and strawberries. Although a beloved summer treat, Rosé shouldn’t be restricted to just one season. Feel free to enjoy it in the wintry months, as you “let it pour, let it pour, let it pour!”


3. On the third day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: Silvaner bliss


Hearty Silvaner wines pair well with home country cooking, making it the ideal gift to bring to any holiday gathering. Anxious about meeting the in-laws? Scared of socializing with strangers? Don’t be. There is always a Silvaner lining when you present a bottle of this unique German varietal.


4. On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: Spätburgunder


Germany is the third largest producer of Spätburgunder, or German Pinot Noir, in the world. The region of Baden, which is renowned for being “kissed by the sun,” accounts for the majority of the plantings, though it’s grown in almost all 13 of Germany’s wine regions. Bring this full-bodied German red along as you roast chestnuts on the fire.


5. On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: nutty Pinot Gris


Pinot Gris, or Grauburgunder, is mostly cultivated in Baden, Rheinhessen, the Pfalz, and the Nahe regions. It is a powerful white wine, reminiscent of almonds, walnuts, pear, and mango. As you rummage through endless aisles of retail stores looking for a gift that will show your family and friends how much they mean to you, remember that the most important activity during the holidays is quality time. What better way to say ‘I love you’ than sharing a bottle of Pinot Gris?


6. On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: dry, rich Pinot Blanc


Known for its high acidity and versatility in food pairings, interest in German Pinot Blanc, or Weissburgunder, is growing rapidly worldwide. This grape thrives in warmer regions, like Baden. While standing outside and eagerly awaiting your local Christmas tree lighting, evoke some of southern Germany’s mild climate and sip on Pinot Blanc.


7. On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: slightly spicy Lemberger


Almost exclusively grown in the steep vineyards of Württemberg, Lemberger is a red wine that can be vinified light and fruity to intense and rich in tannins. These wines are rich in color and taste of dark fruits and pepper. While picking a wine to cozy up with as you binge Hallmark Christmas specials, this is your go-to.


8. On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: light Müller-Thurgau


Cultivated in all 13 German wine-growing regions, Müller-Thurgau, a white wine with aromas resembling a bouquet of flowers. Accompanied by this approachable German varietal, be inspired to deck the halls with red-leaf poinsettias, homemade garlands, and decorate your tree.


9. On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: warm and spiced Glühwein


If you have been to a Christmas market, there is a high chance you’ve tried Glühwein, or German mulled wine. This irresistible holiday tradition, red wine spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, will keep you toasty as you twist and twirl ice-skating with family and friends.


10. On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: tannic Dornfelder


Primarily vinified as a rich, dry red wine, Dornfelder has hints of elderberry and blackberry. It is a relative newcomer in the German red wine scene, but is already considered a classic. We suggest creating a romantic atmosphere and sharing a glass of Dornfelder under the mistletoe.


11. On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: lusciously sweet Eiswein


Eiswein, or ice wine, requires a special harvest, as the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine until the first frost. The grapes must then be quickly pressed before thawing. This method produces extraordinarily sweet and flavorful dessert wines, which can be poured while you munch away at Santa’s extra cookies.


12. On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love poured for me: jolly sparkling Sekt


On Christmas Day, pop a bottle of Sekt, German sparkling wine, and celebrate in bubbly bliss. As you enjoy the holiday merriment and celebrate time with family, Sekt is the perfect ally for toasting! Have yourself a Sekt-sy little Christmas!