Luxembourg: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The German mosel, below Trier, and the Luxembourg Moselle above it, had to surmount the same problems—cool climate and political change—for centuries but since the First World War the two regions have adopted different solutions. After the war, during which the Grand Duchy remained neutral, Luxembourg was required to break the free-tariff agreement that had been made with Prussia in 1842. Thus a ready market for Luxembourg’s sharp whites made from the Elbling grape evaporated and Germany looked elsewhere for base wines for sekt and suitable blending material for the Rheinpfalz’s flabbiest wines. The Champagne house Mercier opened up an offshoot in Luxembourg in the late 19th century. A new economic agreement with Belgium signed in 1921 did little to soak up the surplus; Belgian taste is for the richness of Pomerol, the vinous antithesis of Elbling. Thus Elbling has been replaced by nobler, or at least softer, varieties.