Ask Sid: German ripeness terms?

August 26th, 2015
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Ask Sid: German ripeness wine terms

Question: I find the German sweetness levels confusing. Would you explain the simple meaning of the terms Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, and Trockenbeeranauslese on the label.

Answer: You are right there is an increasing sweetness level based on ripeness or must weight (Oechsle) but the terms really mean this:

Spätlese: Sweeter than Kabinett but made from late gathered grapes.

Auslese: Made from selected perfectly ripe bunches of grapes.

Beerenauslese: Made from selected grapes from the ripest bunches.

Trockenbeerenauslese: Made from single grapes which have been left on the vines until they have shrivelled to almost raisins.


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August 26th, 2015

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