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Germany's wine law has codified these geographic - and traditional - divisions into Anbaugebiete, or legal wine regions. These wine regions are further divided into Bereiche, or districts.

The names of the many thousands of individual vineyards in Germany were once used by growers to label wine. There are close parallels with the Burgundian system: an Einzellage, or single site, is much the same as a cru. The law introduced in Germany in 1971 grouped many of these traditional sites into larger, legally defined, Einzellagen. This reduced the number of site names, and thus lessened confusion, but it swept away some important nuances of quality. Further, the 1971 law brought in the Grosslage, or collective site. This groups together vineyards, which are supposed to have similar characters, although they do not necessarily lie side by side.

Einzellage and Grosslage names on a wine label are always preceded by the name of the wine village where they are sited.

It is not possible to learn from a German wine label whether the vineyard site named is a Grosslage (and therefore large and unspecific) or an Einzellage (usually smaller and more precise). Note too that there is as yet no official ranking of vineyards, as in France, no Premier Cru or Grand Cru: each vineyard is in theory as capable as any other of producing good wine.

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