Regarded as the oldest wine-growing region in Germany, the Mosel is named for the serpentine river, along which the banks rise so sharply that the vineyards are among the steepest in the world. Some are planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient, such as the famed Bremmer Calmont site. On these inclines, nearly all vines have to be tended and all grapes have to be picked by hand.
Vineyards along the Mosel River and its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, produce effervescent wines with a fragrance reminiscent of spring blossoms, a pale color, light body and a refreshing, fruity acidity.
Major Towns: Koblenz, Cochem, Zell, Bernkastel, Piesport, Trier
Collective Sites: 19
Individual Sites: 432
Vineyard Area: 8,770
– One of the warmer climates in Germany thanks to its sheltered valley location
– Steep slate slopes retain heat
– River helps moderate climate
– Sufficient rainfall
– The moderate climate along the 50th degree of latitude creates an extremely long growing season
Clayish slate and greywacke in the lower Mosel Valley (northern section); Devonian slate in the steep sites and sandy, gravelly soil in the flatlands of the middle Mosel Valley; primarily shell-limestone (chalky soils) in the upper Mosel Valley (southern section, parallel with the border of Luxembourg).
Top soil types:
The Mosel Valley is a gorge the river carved between the Hunsrück and Eifel hills and the valleys of its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer rivers. In the heart of the region lies Bernkastel-Kues, a popular vacation destination and historic center of winemaking culture.
With over 23,000 hectares, Germany is home of the world’s largest vineyard area dedicated to Riesling. Riesling is predestined for northerly wine-growing regions and grows in all 13 German regions. Depending on type of soil and microclimate, it yields grapes that produce wines with extremely diverse nuances. They range from bone dry to lusciously sweet and from everyday wines to rare, high-quality collectibles. A “typical” Riesling is reminiscent of peach or apple on the nose, and has pronounced acidity. It is fantastic for food pairing and sparkling wine production.
Known for their approachable, light and refreshing taste, Müller-Thurgau wines make for easy, everyday drinking. Bred in 1882 by Professor Hermann Müller (1850-1927) from the Swiss canton Thurgau, this namesake wine now accounts for about 12% of Germany’s vineyard area and is grown in all 13 German wine-growing regions. The wines have a light Muscat tone, usually mild acidity, and sometimes, a flowery bouquet.
Many historians feel that the Romans brought Elbling to Germany more than 2,000 years ago. In Germany today, Elbling is a specialty cultivated almost exclusively in the Mosel region. These simple wines are light, fairly neutral, and often effervescent with delicate aromas reminiscent of apple.