German Wine Law

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

German Wine Law, was once a source of pride for German wine producers but many now do their best to amend or ignore it. The German Wine Law of 1971 substantially revised the 1930 Wine Law (see german history), particularly in vineyard rationalization, and was precipitated by the demands of the eu wine regime. Compared with the anarchic chaos of Italy’s wine-labelling habits, and the convoluted geography of France’s appellation contrôlée (AOC) system, the German Wine Law of 1971 was a marvel of precision. Each vineyard was delineated and registered (see einzellage), and collective sites, or grosslagen, were also delineated, in a manner that it is hard to deny was designed to deceive consumers. Their produce could be used to make wine at any quality level, depending not on yields but exclusively on the ripeness, or must weight, of the grapes.