German Quality Hierarchy

The German wine law from 1971 is quite special. It divides the quality of the wine according to the degree of the grape's sweetness at harvest.

Tafelwein and Landwein

At the bottom of the quality ladder we find the table wine (Tafelwein), which can come from anywhere. Then comes the country wine (Landwine) which is supposed to correspond to the French "Vin de Pays".

Qualitätswein Bestimmter Anbaugebeide

Qualitätswein Bestimmter Anbaugebeide (QbA) is a wine from one of Germany's 13 wine region. In this category you will find wines like Liebfraumilch and Reiler von Heissen Stein.

Qualitätswein mit Prädikat

At the top of the quuality ranking is Qualitätswein mit Prädikat. These are the finest wines in Germany, and the group is divided into 6 different "Predicates"

KabinettNormal harvest
SpätleseLate harvest
AusleseSelected overripe grapes
BeerenausleseSelected grapes attacked by Noble rot *
TrockenbeerenausleseSelected hard attacked Noble rot grapes
EisweinGrapes harvested in a frozen state

* Noble rot is a fungus (Botrytis Cinerea) affecting wine grapes.

Grapes are typically infected when they are overripe, and if then exposed to drier conditions they can become partially raisined.

Grapes picked at this point can produce concentrated sweet wine called "Botrytized Wines".

EnglishNoble rot
FrenchPourriture noble
ItalianMuffa nobile
SpanishRaíz noble