region of Saale-Unstrut is the northernmost of Germany's wine-growing
regions and one of the smallest, divided into the Thuringia and
Schloß Neuenburg areas.
Vineyard on the
growing region was in the East German zone until reunification,
and the wines and their reputation suffered under the communist
economy. Today, there is no reason to think that the region's
gifts should be permanently lost due to a period of political
With a long
tradition of grape-growing and wine making, the vineyards of the Saale and Unstrut river valleys are once again producing some
top quality wines.
The first official records of wine growing
in the Saale-Unstrut-Gebiet date back to 998. This region survived
the onslaught of the Phylloxera epidemic and began grafting Müller-Thurgau,
Silvaner and Weißburgunder (Pinot blanc) grapes to American
rootstocks in 1887.
Saale River valley, the scenic Unstrut River valley, the hills
near the towns of Freyburg and Naumburg and a few small vineyards
near the Süssen See produce a soft, dry white wine. Since
the region is so far north, Spätlese and Auslese wines are
very rare, but the earlier harvesting of QbA and Kabinett wines
results in some exceptional wines that taste best when young.
The Rotkäppchen Sektkellerei was founded in 1856 in Freyburg and the
production of this well known ("Little Red Riding Hood") German sparkling wine has continued
in the Saale-Unstrut without a break even during the Communist
years. The area also produces a small amount of red wines from
the hearty Blau Portugieser, Dornfelder and Blue Late Burgundy
More information about Saale Unstrut wineries around the Web:
Saale-Unstrut - A good overview of the area including
the climate and the soil. Regional information on tourism and
a few wineries that are recommended with links to additional sites
(in German) also a link to a listing of all wineries in wine region
Wine - The wine and sparkling wine sections here are
brief but nicely done. Also check out the main Wine Menu for more on the region's wine roads, wine estates and taverns.