Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Saxony in English, and one of germany’s smallest wine regions. Formerly in East Germany, it is also known colloquially as the Elbtal, and established the first German viticultural training institute (in Meissen) in 1811–12. The vineyard area, which had 499 ha/1,232 acres by 2013, follows the course of the river Elbe, from Pillnitz on the southern outskirts of Dresden, to Diesbar-Seusslitz north of Meissen. Sachsen and saale-unstrut are the most northerly wine regions in Germany (see map under germany) and have very similar climates. The granite and gneiss-dominated soils are not unlike those of Austria’s wachau, albeit with less dramatically steep slopes. Yields are low, usually under half the national average, and local demand for an extremely limited supply guarantees prices that should make reviving Saxony’s neglected terraces and its reputation for fine wine attractive. It was in Meissen, known for its porcelain factory, that viticulture in Sachsen was first documented in 1161.