Quality Levels

Quality levels follow the German wine law and are determined by the degree of ripeness which the grapes have achieved upon harvest. Riper grapes provide more aroma and more flavor, hence a more expressive and flavorful wine.

Qualitätswein mit Prädikat

The German wine law refers to a certain quality level of wines as Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (literally, “quality wine with special attributes”, also Fine Wines); these attributes represent graduating ripeness levels, which are in ascending order:

  • Kabinett: This is usually a light wine made of fully ripe grapes.
  • Spätlese / Late Harvest: These are wines of superior quality made from grapes harvested after the normal harvest.
  • Auslese / Select Harvest: This noble wine is from specially selected, very ripe bunches of grapes.
  • Beerenauslese (BA) / Select Berry Harvest: These sweet wines (dessert wines) are from individually selected, overripe berries.
  • Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) / Select Dry Berry Harvest: This honey-like wine is from selected berries which are overripe and shriveled on the vine.
  • Eiswein / Ice Wine: This is another specialty beside the dessert wine: Its grapes are picked and pressed while frozen.

Qualitätswein or QBA

German wine law ensures that the wine comes from one specific winegrowing region, is made of approved grape varieties and has reached sufficient ripeness. These wines are generally chaptalized, which means that sugar is added to the juice before fermentation. This increases the alcohol level after fermentation. Chaptalization adds body to these otherwise lighter wines and makes them great simple food wines.

Landwein

This wine is made from normally ripe and slightly under-ripe grapes.

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