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Baden wine region

Germany’s third largest and warmest wine region produces wines of excellent quality. The southern vineyards benefit from many hours of sunshine and favourable locations, so it's no wonder that typical Pinot varieties thrive and lead grape production. Geological differences in the region give rise to a remarkable range of varieties and different wine styles, headed by white varieties such as Müller-Thurgau and Pinot gris. Reds are dominated by Pinot noir. Baden specialities vin gris and Badisch Rotgold are the region's flagship wines.

History of viticulture in Baden

It was the Romans who brought wine to the region, very probably planting the first vines as early as the 3rd century. Not much more is known about the beginnings of Baden winegrowing. The first documentary evidence is much more recent, dating back only to the year 1270. As in most regions of Europe, it was primarily the monasteries that drove the cultivation of the vines in the Baden region. Vineyards owned by the church and the nobility were tended by peasant winegrowers, whose low pay led to discontent: many decided to emigrate to neighbouring France.
It was not until the first German winegrowers' cooperative was founded that working conditions improved. To this day these cooperatives continue to shape the structure of viticulture in Baden: most winegrowers still belong to one of the 100 production cooperatives that are centrally controlled by the Badischer Winzerkeller, the largest cooperative in Europe. Baden's winegrowers also founded viticulture schools to pass on the necessary expertise to the next generation. In the 19th century Baden was for a time the largest winegrowing region in Germany, a position that it lost again in the 20th century.

Geography of the Baden winegrowing region

The Baden winegrowing region extends from Lake Constance to the Rhine.
The Baden winegrowing region stretches for a remarkable 300 kilometres from Lake Constance through the Black Forest to the neighbouring region of Franconia. The Rhine forms a natural border. Geologically the Baden winegrowing region is characterized by the lowlands and lateral valleys of the Rhine. Soil types vary widely, from volcanic rock to calcareous soil and Keuper. The Baden wine region is divided into nine areas, each with specific characteristics.

The Baden climate

Baden's southern location gives it a mild climate and many hours of sunshine. Unlike the other German winegrowing regions, Baden does not belong to the coldest winegrowing zone. According to EU viticulture guidelines, Baden belongs to zone B, as do Alsace, Savoy, the Loire and Austria. High temperatures are not uncommon, especially in the protected Rhine valleys. It gets warmest in the Badische Bergstrasse region, which is not called the "German Riviera" for nothing.

Individual portraits of Baden's winegrowing regions

The Baden winegrowing region is divided into nine areas, whose special geological conditions produce a variety of different wines.
Kaiserstuhl: The Kaiserstuhl has the lion's share of Baden's viticulture, with around 4,000 hectares. The mountains of the Upper Rhine Rift are of volcanic origin, which is why volcanic rock and loess predominate in the vineyards. Conditions on the southern slopes of one of the warmest regions in Germany are so favourable that Pinot noir, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot gris grapes reach full maturity every year.
Breisgau: Shell limestone formations and gneiss predominate in the second largest area of the Baden winegrowing region on the edge of the Black Forest. The range of varieties is led by Pinot noir, followed by Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Pinot gris.
Markgräflerland: This region of the Baden winegrowing region between Basel and Freiburg is dominated by loam, loess and marl, which form the substrate for the mainly white grape varieties. The Chasselas variety accounts for the largest proportion of grape production, at 40%. Some Pinot blanc and Müller-Thurgau grapes are also pressed.
Ortenau: Porphyry and granite are excellent terrain for the noble Riesling grape, as well as for Pinot noir and Müller-Thurgau. Winegrowers in the Ortenau region concentrate on these three grape varieties because of its higher rainfall.
Kraichgau: The terraces of the Kraichgau consist mainly of loess soil interspersed with limestone, making them another ideal location for Riesling. Pinot noir, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot gris also grow on these slopes.
Tuniberg: The soil in this part of the Baden wine region is characterized by limestone and loess. Here, too, Pinot varieties and Müller-Thurgau predominate. Pinot gris wines aged in barriques enjoy a certain reputation.
Tauberfranken: On fine loam, shell limestone and Keuper it is mainly white grapes that thrive. Winemakers here in the north-easternmost part of the Baden winegrowing region prefer Müller-Thurgau and Riesling because of the danger of frost. Other white wines of importance are Pinot blanc and Pinot gris.
Lake Constance: This huge expanse of water makes the weather in the southernmost part of the Baden wine region even milder. The vineyards are located at a considerable altitude, so it can still get quite cool in the vineyards during the ripening period – for much fruitier results than in the other wine regions. The soils are characterized by glacial rock deposits. The winegrowers prefer Pinot noir, which is often developed into rosé and vin gris, followed by Müller-Thurgau and Pinot blanc.
Badische Bergstrasse: At 400 hectares, this is the smallest vineyard area. The warm climate and loess loam soils are typical. Whites dominate: Riesling and Silvaner grapes are pressed most frequently, though Pinot blanc is also very popular.

Top wines from Baden

Typical wines from Baden

Although there is a wide variety of wine types and styles in the Baden winegrowing region, the nine areas of the region have some features in common. Wine production is dominated by white grapes: Müller-Thurgau and Pinot gris are especially popular. Pinot grape varieties are in demand for both whites and reds. The Baden winegrowing region has the largest area under Pinot noir cultivation anywhere in Germany.
Specialities include vin gris and Badisch Rotgold. Vin gris is a pale red rosé made from Pinot noir grapes, vinified like a white wine in accordance with a controlled production method. It is considered a high-quality wine, as is Badisch Rotgold – a real delicacy. It is blended from approximately equal proportions of Pinot gris and Pinot noir.

Grape varieties of the Baden wine region at a glance

Whites are dominated by the following varieties in descending order:

  • Müller-Thurgau
  • Pinot gris
  • Pinot blanc
  • Riesling
  • Chasselas
  • Chardonnay
  • Gewürztraminer

These are the most frequent varieties among the reds:

  • Pinot noir
  • Regent
  • Pinot Meunier

Vineyard area and production volume

Around 15 800 hectares of vineyards, producing some 1.1 hectolitres of wine annually.
Discover fine wines from the Baden region. With just a few clicks you can order a Baden speciality to be delivered to your door. The wines are also available at Coop sales outlets.