German wine - wine basics
Deutscher Landwein (superior table wine)
Deutscher Landwein, a category created with the harvest of 1982, must fulfill the following requirements:
- be produced exclusively from German produce from the legally recognized roster of grapes permitted in Germany, grown in one of the 19 "Landwein" regions (i.e. permitted in all wine-growing regions except Franken); the region must be declared on the label
- must reach a natural alcohol content of at least 0.5% more than simple Tafelwein and show "regional" characteristics
- must be either trocken (dry) or halbtrocken (off-dry) in style.
The alcohol content of these wines may be strengthened prior to fermentation by enrichment, i.e. adding dry - cane or beet - sugar. This procedure is also referred to as chaptalization, named after its proponent, the French scientist Jean-Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832). Its sole purpose is to increase the final alcoholic strength of a wine - the added sugar (along with the grapes' natural sugar) is converted during fermentation.
The EU wine law limits the amount of additional alcohol that can be achieved through this cellar technique to 3.5% by volume (28 grams of alcohol per liter) in zone A and 2.5% by volume (20 grams of alcohol per liter) in zone B.