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German Wine-growers Focus on Pinots

03/25/2015

Last year, the German vineyard area planted with Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) grew by 5.3 percent – the largest increase recorded among all grape varieties. In all, the area devoted to this grape has reached 5,627 hectares (13,904 acres), or twice the size it was in 2000.


According to the German Wine Institute, based on statistics released by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Germany now ranks second only to Italy in terms of Grauburgunder plantings. Another member of the Pinot family, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), is also on the rise in Germany, up 3.3 percent from the year before. There are currently 4,794 ha (11,846 acres) under vine, or some 85 percent more than in 2000, which makes Germany the world’s leading source of this fashionable grape variety.

Riesling remains the country’s premier and most popular grape variety (23,440 ha/57,920 acres), and accounts for about one fourth of Germany’s vineyard area. Statistics show a slight increase (0.6 percent) in plantings in 2014. About half of the world’s Riesling vines are planted in Germany’s wine-growing regions – more than anywhere else in the world.

Riesling’s red counterpart is yet another Pinot: Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). With 11,783 ha (29,116 acres) it is Germany’s most important red wine grape variety and accounts for about a third of the country’s red wine grape area. Worldwide, Germany ranks third in acreage devoted to Pinot Noir vines.

A brief look at statistics on new plantings in Germany in 2014 confirms the trend: Riesling and Pinots score high marks with German wine-growers. Of the 2,421 ha (nearly 6,000 acres) of newly or replanted vineyards, 582 ha (1,438 acres) were Riesling; 338 ha (835 acres), Grauburgunder; 204 ha (504 acres), Spätburgunder; and 182 ha (450 acres), Weissburgunder.

Among the specialty varieties grown in Germany, Sauvignon Blanc continued to post relatively dynamic growth in 2014. In the meantime, some 849 ha (ca. 3,000 acres) are cultivated, equivalent to six percent more than the year before. Growth among internationally popular red wine varieties, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, was – at best – moderate: 14 ha (ca. 35 acres) and 6 ha (ca. 15 acres), respectively. Merlot plantings now stand at 599 ha (1,480 acres) and Cabernet Sauvignon, at 295 ha (ca. 730 acres).

Very few of the ca. 100 different grape varieties cultivated in Germany play a significant role in the German wine business. The ten most important varieties set the tone and account for some 80 percent of Germany’s total vineyard area.

At this writing, the total German area under vine is 102,439 ha (253,127 acres) in size. It has remained relatively constant during the past 20 years. The ratio of white to red varieties has changed only slightly and today stands at 64.9 to 35.1, respectively, whereby white wine varieties registered a small gain in 2014, as per current consumer trends in Germany.

Vineyard area development of Germany’s top ten grape varieties

Grape variety

Vineyard area
2014
in hectares

Change

2013 / 2014

in hectares

Change

2013 / 2014

in percent

Change

2000 / 2014

in percent

Riesling

23,440

147

+0.6

+6

Müller-Thurgau

12,761

-110

-0.9

-36

Spätburgunder

11,783

8

+0.1

+27

Dornfelder

8,015

-114

-1.4

+83

Grauburgunder

5,627

311

+5.9

+103

Silvaner

5,031

-43

-0.8

-25

Weissburgunder

4,794

155

+3.3

+85

Portugieser

3,469

-184

-5.0

-31

Kerner

2,882

-96

-3.2

-56

Trollinger

2,287

-30

-1.3

-12

White grape varieties

66,498

386

+0.6

-14

Red grape varieties

35,941

-372

-1.0

32

Total vineyard area

102,439

12

0.01

-2

Source: Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)

 

Vineyard area development of Germany’s white and red grape varieties

Year

Proportion of

white grape varieties

in percent

Proportion of

red grape varieties

in percent

2000

75.0

25.0

2002

68.5

31.5

2004

64.0

36.0

2006

63.1

36.9

2008

63.6

36.4

2010

64.1

35.9

2012

64.1

35.9

2014

64.9

35.1

Source: Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)


 

Young vines in early summer.