Gewürztraminer is one of the oldest grape varieties still cultivated today. In Germany, it occupied an area of 1,120 hectares in 2022, which corresponds to about 1% of the German vineyard area.
approx. 1 Prozent
of the German vineyard area
Vineyard area 2019
Gewürztraminer has a very thick, slightly reddish skin and can reach a high level of ripeness up to the highest selection grades. Because of its tendency to wither, yields are often low and the amount of grapes varies from vintage to vintage. On average over many years, Gewürztraminer vineyards rarely achieve more than half the permitted yield per hectare. Even the low yields indicate that Traminer is one of the highest-quality German grape varieties.
Gewürztraminer, which is also cultivated in Alsace, South Tyrol, Australia or California, reached a cultivation area of about 1,120 hectares in Germany in 2022, which is about 1% of the German vineyard area. On the one hand, no growth can be discerned over the past decades, but on the other hand, the speciality is being replanted again and again where clearing is necessary. For example, there are 512 hectares of Gewürztraminer vineyards in the Palatinate, 229 in Rheinhessen and about 140 in Baden (with a focus on the Kaiserstuhl). in Saxony, Gewürztraminer is one of the regional specialities. The lively participation in competitions for the best Traminer wines, such as those held annually by the South Tyroleans and Palatinates, proves that the variety has a loyal fan base. Among the rare specialities are the sparkling wines and marc brandies from Gewürztraminer.
Vinification and taste
The aromatic bouquet, complemented by a tart, spicy fruit flavour, makes Gewürztraminer a variety for lovers of aromatic wines. When matured dry to semi-dry, it goes well with game pâtés, poultry with aromatic sauces, snails and spicy-aromatic ragouts. Well matured and noble sweet, it is appreciated as an aperitif. Sweet Spätlesen and edelsüße Auslesen go very well with aromatic desserts prepared with marzipan, chocolate or brandies. The combination of Gewürztraminer and Munster cheese or high-fat blue cheese is particularly appreciated.
Ordinary, but also highly refined wines can be produced from this very aromatic and spicy variety. Depending on the soil and yield, the wines are more elegant or heavier - sometimes with considerable alcohol content. What they all have in common is a relatively mild acidity. Depending on the quality level, typical Gewürztraminers have a straw-yellow to golden-yellow colour and exude a fragrance, sometimes subtle, sometimes lush, reminiscent of roses in bloom; sometimes one also finds the scent of acacia blossoms, violets, honey, marzipan, quince jelly, bitter oranges or passion fruit. Noble sweet selections are suitable for many years of storage.
In the Palatinate wine village of Rhodt, there is a single-varietal Gewürztraminer vineyard that is about 400 years old. This monument to wine culture alone indicates that Gewürztraminer is one of the oldest grape varieties still cultivated today. Some researchers suspect a Greek origin. It is disputed whether the village of Tramin in South Tyrol can be used as an indication of origin. After all, Traminer was already supplied to the monasteries there as mass wine in the 15th century. In Germany, historical documents prove the existence of the variety for the 16th century; at that time, a cultivation recommendation was made for it. Reports on new breeding variants of Gewürztraminer from the 18th century show that vine selection was already successfully practised at that time. Together with Riesling and a high-yielding variety, Gewürztraminer was planted in the classic "mixed set" in a vineyard. But the uncertainty of yield prevented the conquest of larger vineyards even in the past.
At a glance
- low yields due to a high tendency to trickle (blossoms or small berries are pushed off the stem)
- thick, slightly reddish coloured skin
- Aroma: fading roses, sultanas, quince
Where is a 400-year-old Gewürztraminer vineyard located?
Monument to German wine culture: In the Pfalz wine village of Rhodt, there is an approximately 400-year-old single-varietal Gewürztraminer vineyard.