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Ahr Wine Region

The Ahr wine region is one of Germany's most northern wine regions. It runs 18 miles (30 km) along the Ahr River and covers 1,334 acres (540 hectares).

The Ahr is known for its red wines - it is considered Germany's "red wine paradise." 87.5% of the area is dedicated to red wine production with only 12.5% is used for white wine production. The predominant grape variety is the Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), which accounts for more than half of the regions acreage. Other important grape varieties for the region include the Portugieser, Riesling, Dornfelder, and the Müller-Thurgau.


Geography & Climate

The Ahr wine region is located in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). Despite its northern location, the area enjoys a climate similar to the Mediterranean with high average temperatures. The mild climate produces optimal conditions for the grapes. Also, the rocky hillsides help the grapes stay warm during the night by releasing warmth that they absorbed from the sunshine during the day.

The wine region is divided into two distinct geographic areas. The western Ahr region is characterized by steep slopes. The Ahr River meanders and winds through this area. Both the warm temperatures and the equal distribution of precipitation in this area help produce some of the best wines in the Ahr region. It is evident once you leave the western area and enter the eastern portion of the wine region. The eastern region is characterized by valleys and flatter hillsides. Wines from this area are generally full-bodied and rich in flavor.


History

This region has been used for wine production since the 8th century. The first grape vines were planted by the Romans. By the 1200's, 80% of the vineyards were owned and cultivated monks and nobility. They planted only white grapes. It wasn't until after the 30-Year War that red grapes were planted, and even these grapes were used to make a rosy white wine.

In 1794 the region was taken over by the French and instead of producing wines here they sold their French wines in Germany, which were less expensive and alcohol rich. After the region joined the prussian kingdom, it was again restored to a wine producing region.

This changed once again in 1833 when the region became German. Several problems in the region, coupled with an increased demand for Belgian wines, caused the wineries to shut down almost entirely. In 1868, out of necessity to survive, several wineries banded together and created the first winery-cooperative. By 1898, 20 winery-cooperatives existed in the region. This led to the revival of the Ahr wine production in the 1900's. Today, the region has recovered fully and its wines are sold all over the world.



Ahr Wine Region
© ErnstPieber - Fotolia.com

Ahr Wine Region
© travelpeter - Fotolia.com




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