The Mosel is Germany’s oldest wine-growing region and one of the classical European viticulture regions. The steep slopes of the river valleys are densely planted with vines and these steep vineyards characterize the region like hardly any other wine landscape in the world. The Mosel and its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, flow through a cultural landscape rich in tradition where the Celts and Romans grew their wine 2000 years ago. Countless ancient discoveries, including several ancient wine presses, witness the great European vinicultural tradition of the Mosel Valley. Germany’s oldest city, with eight Unesco World Heritage sites, is the capital of the Mosel region: Trier, once a capital of the Roman Empire and residence of Emperor Constantine the Great. The most famous son of the city of Trier is Karl Marx (1818 – 1883).
Viniculture in steeply sloping vineyards
The Mosel wine-growing region stretches from Koblenz in the north-east to Trier and the Luxembourg border over a distance of 150 km as the crow flies. All along the Mosel River, between Perl and Koblenz, the Saar River between Serrig and Konz and the Ruwer River between Riveris and the Trier district of Ruwer, roughly 5,000 winemakers cultivate a total vineyard area of more than 9,000 hectares in 125 wine villages, often under strenuous conditions, because nowhere else in the world are steeper vineyards than in Germany’s fifth largest wine-growing area. The climate of the Mosel River and its tributaries is marked by the northerly location of the region on the one hand and the many steep slopes on the other, which ensure ideal exposure to the sun. This is intensified by the reflection surface of the nearby river as well as the water masses acting as a heat reservoir. The solar heat is also stored in the Devonian and red slate soils which accompany the middle and lower stretches of the river to quite a considerable extent, while shell limestone soils predominate along the upper Mosel. The region is subdivided into six wine-growing areas. The area around Burg Cochem on the lower Mosel is often referred to nowadays as the »Terrace Mosel« because wine-growing is usually only possible there in terraced vineyards. Europe’s steepest vineyard, »Bremmer Calmont« is located here. The area around the town of Bernkastel is called the Middle Mosel and it forms the heart of the region with its well-known wine communities and famous vineyard locations such as »Pündericher Marienburg«. The upper Mosel begins south of Trier.
The Riesling Specialists
The winemakers on the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer are renowned all over the world for their finely fruity, elegant and mineral-driven Riesling wines. This late-ripening, noble white wine variety finds the ideal growing conditions here and is cultivated on a total area of over 5,000 hectares. Because the protected valley location makes the region one of the warmest climate zones in Germany and the vine roots penetrate into the ground for several metres to feed themselves with water and minerals, the winemakers are able to produce wines with an enormous depth of flavour and relatively low alcohol content from the manually harvested grapes – ideal for relaxed enjoyment. The elegantly sweet wines that achieve record prices at auctions every year are world-famous too, but dry wine lovers also find what they are looking for on the Mosel with wines which do not go unnoticed at national and international awards and competitions.
Red wines – primarily Pinot Noir and Dornfelder – have also been grown again along the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer rivers since the late 1980s.
The Mosel is a very attractive tourist region. You can get to know it better with the help of qualified, so-called »Wine Experience Guides« who take visitors on individual wine experience tours and show them the best spots and nicest places in the wine-growing region.