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Franken Wine Region

Location
The Franken wine region is located in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern). It extends between the cities of Aschaffenburg and Schweinfurt and runs along the Main River.


Size
15,320 acres (6,200 hectares) 14,793,632 gallons (560,000 hectoliters) of wine are produced annually in Franken. This accounts for 6% of the German wine production.


Climate & Geography
The Franken wine region experiences warm, dry summers and long cold winters. Because of this, late ripening grapes, such as the Riesling, play only a small role here due to the risk of frost damage.

Soil types vary throughout the region and include weathered rock, colored sandstone, shell-limestone, and keuper (colored and/or gypsum marl).


Grape Varieties
93% of the acreage here is dedicated to white grapes and only 7% is dedicated to red grapes. The most important grape varieties in the Franken wine region include:
     
  Müller-Thurgau 43.4%
  Silvaner 20.5%
  Bacchus 11.1%
  Kerner 6.1%
  Riesling 4.1%
  Spätburgunder 2.7%
  (Statistics from Weinland-Franken)


Characteristics of Franken Wine
Franken wines are generally dry, earthy, and spicy. They are drier than other German wines. A dry wine is defined by a residual sugar level of no more than 9 grams per liter. Franken dry wines generally have less than 4 grams per liter.

Franken Wine Region

Franken Wine Region
Photo: © Thomas Otto - Fotolia.com
The ripeness (ready for drinking) of Franken wines varies. Simple estate wines (Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete) and Kabinett wines should be enjoyed shortly after bottling. Dry Spätlese wines, sweet wines, and high quality red wines should not be opened until one to two years after bottling. These can also be stored for up to ten years.

History
The Franken wine tradition began in the 4th century. By the Middle Ages, 247,000 acres (100,000 hectares) were cultivated with grape vines, making Franken the largest wine region in the germanic empire.

Unique to Franken Wine
Bocksbeutel
Photo: © anna-lena - Fotolia.com

43% of the Franken wines are bottled in a uniquely shaped bottle, called a Bocksbeutel. The bottle is shaped with a round, flat body and a short neck (as shown to the left). It holds 750ml of wine. For over 250 years, the Bocksbeutel has been used to bottle top quality wines from Franken. Since 1989, the bottle has been patented at the EU and is only allowed to be used for Franken wines.




   



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