The wine-growing region is located in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. The vineyards cover 23,554 hectares of vineyards, making it the second largest German growing region after Rheinhessen. Until 1995 it was called Rheinpfalz, the current name (lat. Palatium = palace) derives from the Palatines of the Holy Roman Empire, who resided in the city of Heidelberg from the 13th to the middle of the 18th century. There is first evidence of viticulture long before the Romans in Celtic graves as early as 550 BC, which were found in Laumersheim and Bad Dürkheim. After the Romans withdrew from the area, viticulture was revived in the 7th century with the rise of the monasteries. In the 8th century, more than a hundred wine-growing villages are already mentioned. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the first vineyard names appeared in this area, some of which have been preserved in the individual vineyard names to this day.
Due to the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and subsequent warlike events caused by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, there was great devastation and a decline in viticulture. Around the middle of the 19th century there was at first a new blossom, but due to mildew and phylloxera until the end of the century there was again a great slump. As a countermeasure, a fruit and viticulture school was founded in Neustadt an der Weinstraße in 1899 to advance research and systematically train the winegrowers. After an eventful history, a crisis occurred in the 1970s, from which the Palatinate recovered in the 1980s and innovative winegrowers ensured dynamic further development, particularly with high-quality Rieslings. The Palatinate stretches south from Worms in the shape of a belt for 80 kilometres to the French border north of Alsace and from the slopes of the Palatinate Forest to the Rhine plain.
Climate and soil
The climatic conditions for winegrowing are ideal. There are dry, not too hot summers and mild winters. With around 1,800 hours of sunshine per year, the Palatinate is one of the warmest German wine-growing regions with an almost Mediterranean climate. The soils in the Haardt consist entirely of mixtures of sand, loam, marl and clay. The soils along the Südliche Weinstraße are considered more nutrient-rich and thus heavier due to their higher content of loam. In the Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Weinstraße area, the soils are lighter and more permeable to water. Limestone soils dominate in the peripheral hill zones.
Areas, communities and locations
Viticulture is practiced in a total of 144 Palatinate villages, mainly in the southern and front Palatinate on the western edge of the plain between the Rhine and the Palatinate Forest. Originally, the wine-growing region was divided into three parts, and was divided from south to north into the Upper, Middle and Lower Haardt. In 1935, the German Wine Route was created as the first of its kind. It runs from Bockenheim in the north to Schweigen-Rechtenbach on the French border. Since 1969, the two Palatinate areas of Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Weinstrasse and Südliche Weinstrasse have been named after it. They are divided into a total of 25 large vineyards with 325 individual vineyards.
The Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Wein straße area begins in the north at the border to Rheinhessen and extends over the Zellertal, Grünstadt and Bad Dürkheim to Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Lighter and permeable loamy sand to sandy loam soils predominate here. Deep loess soils are predominantly found on the hills and in the plain, where they are interspersed with loam and clay. The area is divided into 16 major vineyards: Feuerberg, Grafenstück, Hochmeß, Hofstück, Höllenpfad, Honigsäckel, Kobnert, Mariengarten, Meerspinne, Pfaffengrund, Rebstöckel, Rosenbühl, Schenkenböhl, Schnepfenflug von der Weinstraße, Schnepfenflug vom Zellertal and Schwarzerde. Well-known wine-growing communities with their single vineyards are:
The Südliche Weinstraße area lies within the district of the same name and extends from the Alsatian border in the south (some areas even lie on French territory near Weißenburg) to the southern edge of Neustadt/Weinstraße. Here, loess and clay soils predominate. The area is divided into nine large vineyards: Bischofskreuz, Guttenberg, Herrlich, Kloster Liebfrauenberg, Königsgarten, Mandelhöhe, Ordensgut, Schloß Ludwigshöhe and Trappenberg. Well-known wine-growing communities with their single vineyards are:
Riesling remains the undisputed leader with a quarter of the vineyard area. As in the other growing regions, the share of Burgundy varieties has risen sharply; the biggest climbers are Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2018 status (0 = smaller than 0.5 ha):