German wine labels are very informative once all the information given
can be identified and interpreted. While many other wines will list only
the producer, vintage, region, and country; German labels will state the
ripeness level of the grapes used, the grape, the vineyard, and a style
or taste indication.
Appellation of origin - wine growing region
To identify the region, compare with the following list of the 13 German wine-growing regions:
The vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. Wine is an agricultural product and consequently very dependent on the weather, which in Germany, unlike in more southern climates, can be extremely variable.
Producer vs. Bottler
Name of producer or estate; in this case the producer is "von Schleinitz."
The ap nr or "Amtliche Prüfnummer", meaning "official approval number" identifies the wine and is required for all QbA and QmP wines.
1 649 617 1 95
1 stands for the testing center, where the wine was approved
The ripeness categories are Tafelwein, Qualitätswein and Qualitätswein mit Prädikat. The latter is further divided into the ripeness levels Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauselese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. More about that on our Ripeness Pyramind page.
The taste and style in terms of sweetness of a wine depend on the cellar
master and are determined in the cellar; totally independent of the grape.
This is not to be confused with quality category, or ripeness, (see Ripeness
Pyramid page) which depends on the weather and is determined in the
Village and Vineyard
The often difficult to pronounce names on the label indicate the village where the vineyard is located (identified by the -er suffix) followed by another name (often ending in -berg [=mountain, slope] indicating the vineyard site. Proprietary names like "Liebfraumilch" and "Bishop of Riesling" have no
vineyard designation; they are a blend of wines from several vineyards.
The grape variety used to make a wine is the single most influential factor determining its taste. Different grapes have different flavors, just like different fruits have different flavors. For example: Riesling is a very fruit-driven variety, while Gewürztraminer has very floral, perfumed flavors reminiscent of rose petals. In comparison, Chardonnay is a very spicy grape with elements of grapefruit and apple. Please check the glossary / FAQ for more detailed information on grape varieties.