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WSET D3: Germany > Overview, Environment, and Grape Growing > Flashcards

Flashcards in Overview, Environment, and Grape Growing Deck (37)
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What percentage of German wine is Riesling? Why so much?

23% Riesling is late-budding with thick wood, which is relatively frost resistant. However it is late ripening and needs good sun exposure and dry autumns. In cooler years and sites, it may not ripen fully.


What was "Flurbereinigung"?

A program begun in Germany after WWII that involved the consolidation of many small, fragmented vineyards and the building of access roads, both aimed at increasing efficiency, making mechanization easier and so reducing viticulture costs.


What law laid the foundation for modern German wine production, establishing protected geographical labelling and classification of wine styles based on must weights?

The fifth German wine law in 1971.


Germany's main wine-producing regions lie around what latitude? What region is the exception?

Except Baden, 49-50 degrees North.


Most of Germany's vineyards are along what river and its tributaries?

The Rhine.


What role do the rivers play in Germany wine growing?

The rivers radiate heat, moderate temperature, and extend the growing season.


What sites have the best vineyards?

Steep, south-facing slopes maximize sun exposure. Slopes can reach gradients of 70 percent overlooking the Mosel. Only Riesling can command the prices necessary for the cost of growing on steep slopes.


What is the weather like in German wine-growing regions?

Very cold in winter, used to be cold enough to regularly make Eiswein. In spring, frosts are a major risk, although this is mitigated by rivers and planting on slopes. Summers are warm but wet (rainfall averages b/n 500 and 800 mm and much of it falls in the summer, increasing the risk of fungal disease, dilution of grapes, and hail. Autumns are long and dry, allowing for long ripening periods when grapes can develop the high levels of sugar required for Prädikatswein, and morning mists along rivers are ideal for botrytis.


What mountain ranges in Germany are important for sheltering the vineyards areas from cold winds and the worst of the rains?

Taunus and Haardt. At such high latitudes, vineyards are usually planted at low altitudes, mainly below 200 meters above sea level.


What kind of soil is predominant in Mosel and Ahr?

Dark-colored slate, which retains heat during the day and radiates it out again at night.


Where in Germany do we find calcareous soils, and what grapes are grown on them?

In Baden, Pfalz, and Rheinhessen (Spätburgunder, Weissburgunder, and Chardonnay). In Franken (Silvaner).


In Germany what grapes prefer heavy, clayey soils?

Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris).


What is a major problem with steep slopes as in the Mosel and Rheingau?

Erosion. Vineyard owners are regulary forced to winch soil and rocks back up the slopes, adding to vineyard maintenance costs.


In 2017, how many hectars did Germany have under vine. How many European wine countries had more vine hectars?

~100,000 ha. Sixth largest are under vine in Europe. Germany is the only traditional European country where the area under vine is not falling.


In recent years the average Germany production in hL has been what?

9 million hL


What are average yields in Rheinhessen and Pfalz?

They can average over 100 hL/ha and were even higher in the past.


Why was Germany forced to impose lower maximum yields in the 1980's?

Because of EU regulations.


What are maximum yields for Deutscher Wein and Landwein?

About 150 hL/ha.


What are maximum yields for Qualitätswein?

About 105 hL/ha, but quality-minded producers work with much lower yields.


Why has vintage variation been decreasing in recent years?

Because of climate change and significant advances in vineyard management techniques, led by the various research institutes. Fruit ripeness has been improved by better clonal selection (esp. amongst black grape varieties), summer pruning, green harvesting, and selective hand harvesting.


Why is good canopy management so essential in Germany?

In order to maximize sun exposure and improve air circulation in order to reduce disease rink caused by wet summers.


What is the usual vine training in Germany?

On the slopes, vines were traditionally staked individually with canes tied at the top. However, this method is labour-intensive and requires skills that are gradually being lost. So, as a result of Flurbereinigung, all but the steepest vineyards now use single and double replacement-cane pruning with VSP trellising and Pendelbogen..


What is Pendelbogen?

Pendelbogen is replacement-cane pruned with the canes arched in the trellis. The arching of the canes is thought to improve the flow of sap in the vine and increase the number of viable buds, in turn increasing yields.


Does Germany have a lot of organic and biodynamic viticulture? What percentage are certified organic?

Germany is not widely suited to organic and biodynamic viticulture. Because of risk of disease, growers still have to spray their crops regularly. In Mosel, this is often done by helicopter and likely would spray adjacent vineyards. 8% are certified organic.


Why are labor costs often higher in Germany than in other wine-producing countries, even on flatter sites?

Although mechanisation is now widespread, German wine law requires grapes fo wines of Beerenauslese level and above to be hand-harvested and many producers still hand harvest for other Prädikatsweine to ensure healthy, fully-ripe fruit. Large-scale commercial operations producing high-volume, are mechanized and efficient, however.


How does the cool climate affect the grapes that Germany grows?

The cool climate means that German wine production has traditionally been focused on white wine and grape varieties which can naturally tolerate the conditions, such as Riesling, or which have been bred specifically for that purpose (Müller-Thurgau (developed in early 1880s to ripen earlier than Riesling), Scheurebe (can produce full-bodied wines with intense aromas of grapefruit and peach with high enough acidity), and Kerner (can produce quality wines up to Prädikat levels with high acidity and some of the fruity, floral characteristics of Riesling).


In 1980, what percentage of white grapes were grown in Germany? In 2017, what percentage o white grapes were grown?

1980: 90% white
2017: 61% white


Germany red wine used to be light and fruity with some RS. Why has quality improved?

Because of 1. better clones ()esp. for Spätburgunder and Dornfelder) 2. better vineyard management and winemaking techniques 3. increasing temperatures in the vineyards


Since the 1990s, what international grape plantings have grown?

Grauburgunder, Weissburgunder and Chardonnay. Otherwise, there are only small plantings of other international varieties, with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc showing promise in limited volumes.


Why is Riesling so great?

Riesling produces high-quality wines in a full range of styles, from dry to sweet. It retains high acidity even when fully ripe, providing balance in sweet wines and giving the wines significant potential for ageing. In the right conditions it can produce high natural sugar and is susceptible to botrytis, making it ideal for sweet wines. It can make wines of pronounced intensity and great aromatic complexity. Fruit flavors range rom green fruit to tropical, and it can also show floral aromas, such as white flowers or honeysuckle. With age, the wines develop toast, honeyed, and petrol aromas.