In his long wait for maturity, besieged by the threat of frost and intense cold, the German wine makers carve their vineyards on steep hills or mountain feet in the main regions of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Baden. They patiently await the Mosel and Rhine rivers, among others, along with the Gulf Stream, to temper up the air; and provide, at best, the humidity required by the grapes to develop a fungus called Botrytis Noble, which consumes the water in the vines while concentrating its sugar and acidity.
Some say that thanks to global warming, Germany is becoming warmer, and consequently produces more and better wine. Light, low in alcohol graduation and slightly sweet, these labels increase their popularity among consumers.
According to statistics from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine -OIV-, in 2008 Germany was the fifth largest wine consumer, with 20.7 million hectoliters of wine per year, with an increasing trend. The first four places on this list were held by France, USA and Italy. In the same year, the country has the ninth place among the top 12 producers of wine.
Despite its renowned reputation among experts, in international markets Germany was always associated with the elaboration of white wines lacking personality, cheap and sweet, taking the latter feature as a pejorative aspect, called Liebfraumilch.
The Liebfraumilch, meaning ?beloved woman’s milk? or ?milk of the Virgin Mary? is a wine that has at least about 18 g of sugar per liter, its quality is QbA and generally the grapes used are not identified. Which does appear on the label is one of the four regions where it is produced, namely Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe, being the first two the main ones. The classification QbA (QmpQualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete) is indicating it as a table wine with sugar added to the must.
This label, presented in a typical blue flute bottle, created in large volumes, without special care on the vineyard or in wine making, was for years the country’s export flag. However, the Germans have been de-stigmatized not only by their largest importer, the UK, but also by the Americans and Scandinavians, who now believe that there are made the best white wines in the world.