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The Palatinate winegrowing region

The Palatinate wine region, which is extremely sunny by German standards, has many mineral-rich soils that are ideal for producing wines rich in finesse. The region particularly owes its excellent reputation to its lively Rieslings. Due to the increasing popularity of red wines, a red grape, the Dornfelder, also occupies a top position in wine production in the Palatinate wine region.

History of the Palatinate winegrowing region

The cultivation of vines was introduced by the Romans. This is evidenced by old wine presses that were discovered in the course of extensive archaeological excavations. After the fall of the Roman Empire, grape production was taken over by monasteries. The monks' dedication soon bore fruit: viticulture in the Palatinate experienced an upswing from the 7th century onwards.
According to historical sources the region already had a hundred small cultivated areas in the 8th century.
Some terroirs turned out to be star performers: these were established as long ago as the 12th and 13th centuries, and today they still bear the names they were given back then. As in other wine regions of Germany, the Thirty Years’ War was so devastating that it led to the collapse of viticulture in the Palatinate. Wine production lay fallow for many years.
The Palatinate winegrowing region experienced a renaissance around the middle of the 19th century, but as the century drew to a close phylloxera and mildew brought this resurgence to an abrupt end – destroying large areas of holdings. It was only in the course of the 20th century that the vineyards thrived again. After the Second World War winegrowers who were disinclined to experiment failed to restore the region's old reputation, but from the 1980s onwards a more innovative generation came on the scene. They were particularly successful with their Rieslings, which were rich in finesse – and they also took a new look at the previous range of varieties. Today the Palatinate winegrowing region enjoys a great diversity of white varieties, but red grapes are also booming: their share of production has been steadily increasing in recent years. Etwa Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts erlebte das Weinbaugebiet Pfalz dann eine Renaissance, ehe Reblaus und Mehltau der Blüte ein jähes Ende bereiteten und den Bestand Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts grossflächig vernichteten. Erst im Verlauf des 20. Jahrhunderts genasen die Rebflächen wieder. Nachdem es nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg weniger experimentierfreudigen Winzern nicht gelungen war, den alten Ruf wiederherzustellen, traten ab den 1980er-Jahren innovativere Weinbauern auf den Plan. Grossen Erfolg hatten sie vor allem mit ihren finessreichen Rieslingen. Und auch den bisherigen Sortenspiegel mischten Sie auf. Heute erfreut sich das Pfalzer Weinbaugebiet einer grossen Vielfalt an weissen Sorten, aber auch rote Trauben haben Konjunktur. In den letzten Jahren stieg ihr Anteil an der Produktion stetig. 

Top wines from the Palatinate

Reds and whites from the Palatinate winegrowing region

Riesling tops the list of varieties, with about a quarter of the total vineyard area. White varieties generally predominate, but the proportion of red grapes has increased significantly in recent years. Dornfelder now takes second place in production. More than half the wines produced by the cellar masters of the Palatinate are dry or medium dry. Numerous awards bear witness to the rise in quality from the 1980s onwards.

Palatinate white wine

The Palatinate winegrowing region also supports the contention that Germany is the land of Riesling. The Mittelhaardt area in particular has the best sites for this noble grape, and its Riesling wines are accordingly excellently structured, dry and fresh.
Müller-Thurgau also occupies a large proportion of the vineyards, although it is on a slightly downward trend. Kerner and Silvaner come next. Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer are also grown on a large scale.

Palatinate reds

Red grapes have challenged white wine's dominance in recent years. Dornfelder, for example, found an enthusiastic audience, advancing to become the second most popular wine variety in the Palatinate winegrowing region.
On the other hand, production of Portugieser, which used to be the most important red wine, has declined sharply. Today cellar masters use it mainly either for light mass wines or for the high-quality product vin gris. This still puts it in second place among red wines.
The Palatinate's single-varietal Pinot noir wines are also impressive. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are other typically French wines that enjoy great popularity. The Regent and St. Laurent grapes also find their way into Palatinate wine products to a limited extent.

Vineyard area and production volume

The winegrowing region of the Palatinate has a total vineyard area of about 23,000 hectares, producing some 2.5 million hectolitres of wine annually.
Try a wine from the Palatinate! We’re sure you’ll be impressed by the top products from this German growing region. A large selection of fine wines is available in the Mondovino online shop and in Coop sales outlets.