General Information: The wines of the Upper Mosel, especially along the Saar and Ruwer tributaries, are characterized by their low alcohol content in the 6-9% range with intense fruity notes and high acidity. An obscure local poet once described them as 'Sonnenfeuer, Sternengold, Kühlen Mondlichtschein' - The fire of the Sun, the gold of the stars, and cool moonlight. The wines of the Middle Mosel are considered the most complete examples of German wines with some of the finest examples being able to age gracefully for 50-100 years. Mosel Riesling rely on a strong presence of tartaric acid to balance the grape's sugar and to help impart its fruity notes. A characteristic of all Mosel wines is their normally high acidity and transparency of clearly defined flavors. The wines of the Mosel region are traditionally packaged in long green colored "hock style" wine bottle. Historically the green color distinguished Mosel wines from the brown bottles of the Rheinhessen.
Plantings of Müller-Thurgau accounts for more the 20% of the Mosel wine production and is typically used for basic quaffing wine or in the production of sweet Liebfraumilch-style wine. The Elbing grape accounts for a little more than 9% of the area's production and is often used as a low-cost riesling alternative in the production of sparkling Sekt. The Mosel is also well known for its Eiswein production with the area's characteristic high acidity coupled with the sweetness produced by the concentration of the sugars in the frozen grapes.
Climate:The Mosel wine region has northernly continental climate that is marked by cool temperatures. The best producing vineyard sites are located along the Mosel river and its tributary where the heat from the sun can be maximized by reflecting up from the water.
Soil:The steep river bank slopes that are scattered around the Mosel region are considered some of the most labor intensive vineyards in the world. Mechanical harvesting is impractical and nearly seven times more man hours are needed in the Mosel than in more flatter terrain such as the Médoc. Grapevines are individually staked to the ground without connecting wires so that vineyard workers can tend the plants going horizontally across the vineyard rather than vertically, which would be more treacherous and tiring.
Grapes:Riesling, 5,390 ha (59.7%)
Müller-Thurgau, 1,263 ha (14.0%)
Elbling, 567 ha (6.3%)
Kerner, 377 ha (4.2%)
Spätburgunder, 359 ha (4.0%)
Dornfelder, 333 ha (3.7%)
Weißer Burgunder, 248 ha (2.7%)
Bacchus, 84 ha (0.9%)
Grauer Burgunder, 83 ha (0.9%)
Regent, 61 ha (0.7%)
Chardonnay, 35 ha (0.4%)
Auxerrois, 28 ha (0.3%)
Reichensteiner, 26 ha (0.3%)
Ortega, 20 ha (0.2%)