Germany, according to the wonderfully opinionated Mosel grower Ernie Loosen, is about ‘slopes and rivers’. They’re what kept away the frost and banked the vines up to make the most of the sun.

Since the last time I visited Germany it was so hot they were rubbing suncream into the tapir in the local zoo, it’s clear that things have changed. Germany is, in wine terms, still a cool climate – but it’s not as cool as it once was.

Not that this is entirely a bad thing, mind you. Loosen says his father used to have ‘three good, three mediocre and four undrinkable’ vintages in ten years. Managing increased sun levels to protect the grapes’ elegance seems a good trade off.

And while growers are having to wrestle with slowing down ripening, climate change also means that there’s more to Germany than Riesling, too. Of course, the White Queen remains the jewel in the crown. Nowhere can make wines with such ethereal beauty as Germany does with Riesling. But it’s well worth checking out the country’s Spaetburgunders (Pinot Noirs) too. The grape’s share of vineyard is growing – and justifiably so.

And if you’re looking for alternative sparklers, there’s a definite move towards high quality (and relatively affordable) fizz made with pinots gris, blanc and noir.

Chris Losh


Total vineyard area Ha (2016)


Individual vineyard sites


Wine growing regions

Anbaugebiete Ahr, Mosel, Mittelrhein


With thanks to Wines of Germany UK for providing this information.