When the Romans arrived, wine came to the Moselle
Probably the Celts already cultivated vines on the Moselle and made wine from them. However, Moselle white wine and Moselle red wine were professionally produced on a larger scale by the ancient Romans, roughly since the 1st century BC. Around 15 B.C. they founded the urban settlement of Augusta Treverorum, today's Trier. It is known from the Romans that wherever they set up their military camps and colonies, they also began to grow wine. Numerous archaeological findings, such as the remains of wine presses in Erden and Piesport or the wine ship in Neumagen, which is considered the oldest German wine village, bear witness to the numerous activities of the Romans to produce wine for their inhabitants and their soldiers.
World Records at the Moselle River
The wine-growing region can boast a few records. It is not only the oldest wine production site in Germany, but also the largest steep-slope winegrowing area and the largest Riesling cultivation area in the world, covering some 5,400 hectares. The world's steepest vineyard also holds its ground here. It is the Bremmer Cramont, which has a slope of 65 degrees. The strongly winding course of the Moselle and the steep slopes with their densely planted vine fields result in a cultivated wine landscape that is both unique and unmistakable.
However, this also results in working conditions for the winegrowers, which make it considerably more difficult to tend the vines and harvest the grapes. In many areas, mechanical harvesting is out of the question. Here, only manpower and manual labour can help to bring the precious grapes safely to the wineries.
The different areas and locations of the Moselle vineyards
Within the growing area, a distinction is made between the following six segments:
- Cochem Castle (also known as the Terraced Moselle, as cultivation is mostly only possible on terraces)
- Bernkastel (Middle Moselle, the heart of the region with numerous famous locations)
- Obermosel (begins south of Trier)
- Mosel Gate
- Ruwer (the smallest section)
These six areas are further subdivided into 19 major and 524 individual locations. There, over 5,200 winegrowers in 125 wine villages cultivate about 8770 hectares of vineyards and produce about 670,000 hl of white and red wines.
Soils and climatic conditions in the Moselle valley
In the Obermosel and Moseltor areas, the soils are characterised by shell limestone and Keuper. The main grape varieties cultivated here are Elbling, Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois. In the remaining areas of the Lower and Middle Moselle as well as the Saar and Ruwer, slate soils predominate, an ideal basis especially for Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc and Elbling.
The slate has the property of storing solar heat during the day and releasing it again at night, which favours uniform temperature conditions. In addition, the steep slopes and winding valleys in conjunction with the soils offer ideal warming and an optimal ratio of precipitation. The sheltered valleys are among the warmest climate zones in Germany.
The roots of the vines grow several metres deep into the soil and thus supply the vines with water and minerals. This results in fruity fine wines with a lot of depth, but without excessive alcohol content, which can be enjoyed relatively easily. Famous and sought-after are also the sweet wines from the Moselle, some of which are sold at very high prices.
The Grape varieties
White grape varieties predominate in the Moselle region with 90.6 % by far in comparison to red varieties with 9.4 % (as of 2019). The most important ones are:
- Riesling 62.2 %
- Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner) 10,2 %
- Elbling 5,3 %
- Pinot Blanc 4,1 %
- Pinot Noir 4,6 %
The extreme difference between the amount of white and red grapes cultivated did not always exist. The red Burgundy was quite widespread in the vineyards until the end of the 19th century. Then, however, the winegrowers were able to achieve significantly better prices on the international markets with white wines and converted their production. Little by little the Riesling replaced the red grapes, until their cultivation was even forbidden in the 1930s. The ban continued until the end of the 1980s.
Today, Pinot Noir or Spätburgunder has regained the fourth place among the grape varieties on the Moselle with about 400 ha of cultivated area, followed by Dornfelder with 296 ha. After the lifting of further restrictions, some winegrowers have started experimenting with other red grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Regent, thus achieving quite interesting results.
Buy Moselle wine online at VINELLO
Enjoy top wines from Moselle at reasonable prices from our online shop. At VINELLO you will find a representative selection of the winegrowers and wineries along the Moselle, among them especially Rieslings with their unique character, which make up the reputation of this German wine growing region. You can shop safely with us and look forward to a fast delivery of your order. We also offer a variety of payment options from which you can choose your preferred method of payment.
Another advantage at VINELLO: Our sommeliers are available by telephone for detailed advice to introduce you to the world of Moselle wines. This makes it easier and quicker for you to find your favourites, be it for a special occasion, an evening with friends or for your own private enjoyment.