Cultivation of the Gewürztraminer grape variety
This grape variety probably came from South Tyrol. It is documented in records in the small town of Tramin already around the year 1000. For a long time it was simply known as Traminer, and is still called this in eastern Europe. In the Jura region, south of Alsace, it is known as Savagnin or Naturé in the exotic vin jaune.
The three genetically indistinguishable types of this variety are: Gewürztraminer (red-orange berries), Red Traminer (reddish-brown berries) and White Traminer or Savagnin blanc (yellow-green berries). Prior to harvesting, the bright green grapes change colour and take on a bright red, sometimes orangey hue. The skins impart a strong yellow colour to the wine during vinification. The particular hue serves as a reference point for various quality levels, ranging from light straw-yellow through to a deep golden yellow. A golden sheen indicates a grape that produces top-quality Gewürztraminer wines.
When it comes to site, soil and climate, the Gewürztraminer grape is very fussy. It prefers slopes and thrives best in mild climates. To grow it successfully, the soil should not be too dry and should be as deep as possible. The soil type significantly influences the character of a Gewürztraminer wine. For instance, a Gewürztraminer cultivated on the granite soils of Alsace will have a different flavour profile than grapes grown on the shell limestone terroir near Lake Neusiedl.
Main growing regions of Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer wines are in demand. Only few regions are suited to growing this vine, however. The main growing regions
are therefore found in France
, Italy and Germany. Traminer grapes are also planted in vineyards in Switzerland, especially in canton Zurich
. However, with just 50 hectares, Swiss production accounts for a very small percentage of plantings.