Among new varieties, the Dornfelder shows great promise.
A prolific, relatively early ripener, it produces wine far deeper in colour than other German red wines. In fact, it was initially bred (1955, in Württemberg) to serve as a blending wine to improve the colour of pale reds. Today it is prized on its own as a fragrant, full-bodied, complex wine with a fairly tannic acidity.
The Dornfelder wines fermented and/or aged in oak casks (including Barriques), in particular, fetch high prices. From 124 ha in 1979, the vineyard area has expanded to 7,649 ha in 2017, moving Dornfelder to second place, after Spätburgunder (11,767 ha in 2017), among red wine grapes grown in Germany. In the Pfalz and Rheinhessen most of Germany's Dornfelder grapes are cultivated.