German history: The rise of modern viticulture, 1800–1900

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The French Revolution and its aftermath wrought profound changes in German viticulture. During the Revolution itself, the palatinate was invaded and occupied, although in the succeeding Napoleonic Wars it was barely affected. The whole of Germany on the left bank of the Rhine was ceded to France, which proceeded to reorganize the region’s administration into four departments.

On the mosel, these political upheavals led to around one-fifth of the vineyards, many of them owned by the Church, changing hands, and once the estates of the empire had agreed upon the abolition of all ecclesiastical principalities at the diet of Regensburg in 1803, another 25% came under new ownership.