Discover 8 German Wines Beyond Riesling

While Germany is well known for its Rieslings, the country produces a diverse range of high-quality wines, from elegant Pinot Noirs to delicious Silvaners and sensational sparkling wines

A white German wine is poured into a glass at a tasting event
Known for crafting standout Rieslings, German winemakers have much more to offer. Cover image by Vivian Beltran/courtesy of Wines of Germany.
This advertising content was produced in collaboration with our partner, Wines of Germany.

Germany is well known for producing some of the world’s best Rieslings, but that’s just one of many grapes from which the country makes delicious wines. Across 13 different winegrowing regions—and more than 140 different grape varieties—Germany is producing a wide range of high-quality, noteworthy wines, whether white, red, rosé, or sparkling. 

As its penchant for Riesling suggests, Germany excels in white winemaking. In fact, two-thirds of all German wines are white. After Riesling, Müller-Thurgau is the most planted white grape, created in 1882 at the Geisenheim Research Institute from a cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale.

But there are so many other white grapes that are making incredible wines in the hands of German winemakers. Weissburgunder (also known as Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Silvaner, Scheurebe, and even Chardonnay have become defining grape varieties in Germany’s wine landscape. For example, Germany is the third-largest producer of Grauburgunder worldwide, and the country makes both sweet and, more commonly, dry versions with a food-friendly structure and an almond-pear flavor profile. 

Silvaner has also been important to Germany for centuries, especially in the regions of Franken and Rheinhessen. It can make many different styles of wine, and pairs well with tricky spring vegetables like artichokes or asparagus.

Germany’s reputation for high-quality red wines has skyrocketed in the past few decades. The warmer, southern region of Baden is particularly important for red wine production—mostly notably Spätburgunder, which is known elsewhere as Pinot Noir. Spätburgunder is actually the second-most planted variety in Germany, just behind Riesling. It’s traditionally made in a style that’s lighter in color and body with red berry flavors, and the wines can easily compete with the world’s best Pinot Noirs.

In the past 10 years, Germany’s winemakers have increasingly used Spätburgunder to explore different styles of rosé, which has become just as popular in Germany as it has in the rest of the world. Rosé production has grown so much that it now accounts for 13 percent of all German wine, and most German wineries will include a rosé in their portfolios.

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In addition to all of these notable wine styles, Germany is actually a longtime leader in an entirely different wine category: sparkling wine, known in Germany as Sekt. Germans have been producing sparkling wine for centuries and today the nation drinks a fifth of all of the sparkling wine produced in the world. But in their own backyard, the country’s cool climate is the ideal place to make sparkling wine. Here, it’s made from many different grape varieties, including Riesling, Spätburgunder, and Weissburgunder, and using many different methods. The top bottles, however, are made using the traditional method, just as they are in Champagne.

Want to get to know Germany’s many wines beyond Riesling? Learn more in our video with German wine ambassadors Marie Cheslik, Brent Kroll, Collin Wagner, and Amy Waller.


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