The production area is located in the federal state of Hessen in Germany. The vineyards cover 3,211 hectares of vine area starting at the lower Main river east of Wiesbaden and extending about 50 kilometres along the right bank of the Rhine to Lorch north of Rüdesheim. The "Rheingau Riesling Route" wine route runs along the right bank of the Rhine from Lorch to Hochheim. Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) allegedly had the first vineyard planted near today's Johannisberg Castle. It is also said that the Spätlese was "invented" here, which is evidenced by the story of the Spätlese rider. Especially in the Rheingau, the Benedictine and Cistercian orders have done a lot for viticulture and also owned extensive holdings of vineyards
The quality designation Cabinet goes back to the Cabinet Cellar of the famous Cistercian monastery Eberbach, which still exists today. It was also from this monastery that the endeavour to replace the red grape varieties mainly with Riesling originated. The first documented mention of this variety dates back to 1435 in Rüsselheim. The VDP-Rheingau organises an annual charity auction here, as well as the Glorious Rheingau Days. The village of Hochheim has become synonymous with German Rhine wines, and the name Hock, which is common in England, originated from the place name. The Research Institute for Viticulture, Fruit Growing and Horticulture, which is important for German viticulture, was founded in Geisenheim in 1872. In the Rheingau, a curious Free State bottleneck existed for three years after the First World War.
Climate and soil
The Rhine causes an even temperature profile and amplifies the sunlight like a mirror. In addition, it promotes botrytis (noble rot) through fog rising in autumn as a prerequisite for the noble sweet predicate wines. The vineyards consist mainly of sunny southern slopes. Quartz and slate soils in the higher elevations as well as loam, loess and clay soils in the valley are the ideal basis for racy and spicy white wines. Phyllite slate around Assmannshausen also offers ideal conditions for red wines. Well protected from the winds by the Taunus mountain range, there are mild winters and warm summers.
Area, municipalities and locations
The Rheingau consists (since 1971) of the only area Johannisberg with eleven major sites and 123 individual sites. From the 1999 vintage onwards, the designation Erstes Gewächs mit Wein aus erstklassig klassifizierten Lagen was introduced (see VDP Classification). Many of the individual sites extend over several municipalities. If the names are identical, however, the sites are not always the same. The municipalities with their individual sites:
There were no major changes compared to 2009. The two dominating grape varieties are the Riesling with 78% and the Pinot Noir with 12%. All other varieties make up the remaining 10%. As in the other growing regions, the rising stars were the varieties Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The status 2018 (0 = less than 0.5 ha):