Wine Growing Regions
The Mosel Valley is a gorge the river carved between the Hunsrück and the Eifel, and the valleys of its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer.
The Mosel River is the sinuous spine of the Mosel region, changing direction so often as it flows northeast toward the Rhine that it meanders nearly 250 km, to cover about half that distance as the crow flies. Together with its two small tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, the Mosel composes one geographical entity. Although each river's vineyard area produces a wine with its own distinctive personality, the three share a family resemblance: a fragrance reminiscent of spring blossoms, a pale color, light body and a refreshing, fruity acidity. They often have the slightest hint of effervescence, which makes them even more charming. Along the serpentine route of the Mosel the river banks rise so sharply that the vineyards carpeting these slopes are among the steepest in the world, with some planted at an astounding 70-degree gradient. On these precipitous inclines, nearly all grapes have to be picked by hand. That includes tying each vine to its own eight-foot wooden stake, and carrying up the slate soil that has washed down with the winter rains.
Geographical location: The Mosel Valley, a gorge the river carved between the Hunsrück and Eifel hills, and the valleys of its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer rivers.
Major town(s): Koblenz, Cochem, Zell, Bernkastel, Piesport, Trier
Climate: Optimal warmth and precipitation in the steep sites and valleys
Soil types: Clayish slate and greywacke in the lower Mosel Valley (northern section); Devonian slate in the steep sites and sandy, gravelly soil in the flatlands of the middle Mosel Valley; primarily shell-limestone (chalky soils) in the upper Mosel Valley (southern section, parallel with the border of Luxembourg)
Vineyard area (2017): 8,770 ha · 6 districts · 19 collective vineyard sites · 500+ individual sites
Grape varieties [white 90.5% · red 9.5%] (2017): Riesling (61.5%), Müller-Thurgau (11.2%) and Elbling (5.6%)
Marketing: About one fifth of the region's grape harvest is handled by the regional cooperative cellars in Bernkastel-Kues. Overall, the producers of bottled wine are cooperatives, estates and commercial wineries. The latter also bottle and commercialize some wines from other German wine-growing regions (e.g. the Pfalz and Rheinhessen) as well as less expensive, imported wines. Much of the production is exported. Nevertheless, selling wines to private end users is important for smaller wineries, who benefit from the region's tourism.
Signposted routes through wine country: Mosel Weinstraße (driving) · Moselhöhenweg (hiking) · Römische Weinstraße (driving) from Leiwen to Schweich · Elbling Route (driving) from Konz to Perl, parallel to the Luxembourg border