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Reading German wine label
Liebfraumilch and Other Popular Wines
The Language Of Germany

German labels are, to non-German speakers, superficially forbidding. Yet they carry much useful detail.

The name of the producer usually comes first. Terms such as Weingut (estate) or Schloss (equivalent to chateau) may precede the actual name.

The vineyard name is always preceded by the name of the village. The village name usually has the letters "-er" added in the German adjectival usage. Thus Bernkastel is the name of the village, Bernkasteler means "from Bernkastel". So Bernkasteler Doctor means that the wine is from the Doctor vineyard in Bernkastel.

The quality category - QbA or QmP - will be stated. On QmP wines the level of distinction will be prominent.

Decoded, the German wine label thus gives us information about who made the wine, the region in which the grapes were grown, and the official quality level awarded to that wine. Other, but not compulsory data may include the vintage and the grape variety.

A quality wine is vouched for by the AP (Amtliche Prufung: official testing) number, shown on the label. This shows it comes from approved grape varieties, has reached a certain minimum sweetness, and is from the region named.

Erzeugerabfullung means bottled by the producer, perhaps a cooperative cellar; Gutsabfullung describes an estate-bottled wine.

Wine regions of the world.

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Reading Wine Label
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