The growing region in Germany is named after the two rivers in whose narrow valleys the terraced vineyards lie on the south-eastern and south-western slopes. The vineyards cover 786 hectares of vines, spread over three federal states. Over 90% of it is in Saxony-Anhalt, the rest in Thuringia and only a few hectares in Werder an der Havel in the state of Brandenburg. Viticulture has been practised here for over a thousand years. In a deed of gift from Emperor Otto III. (980-1002), a grandson of Charlemagne, to the Memleben monastery in 998. Another document attests to vineyards in the Mansfeld Lakes area as early as 973. In 1137, the Cistercians founded the monastery of St. Mariae ad Portam (today the Pforta Monastery State Winery) and in 1154 laid out the Köppelberg vineyard in Pfortens, which still exists today. The old wine-growing tradition is attested to by a grape in the coat of arms of the town of Jena, where the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1554. At that time, Thuringia's vineyard area was around 10,000 hectares.
Saale-Unstrut is the most northerly wine-growing region in Europe; it lies beyond the 51st parallel, which is considered the climatic limit of world viticulture. The soils consist mainly of weathered shell limestone, as well as enclosed mottled sandstone, loess loam and copper shale. There is a lot of sun, but little rain. With only about 500 millimetres of precipitation a year, the Anbaugebeit is one of the wine-growing regions in Germany with the least rainfall. There are cold "polar winters" with temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees, so there is a danger of frost for the vines.
The vineyards are divided into three areas, four large vineyards and a total of 37 individual vineyards. By far the largest area, Schloss Neuenburg in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and the small area in the municipality of Werder in Brandenburg, cover more than 500 hectares of vineyards. It is divided into the three large vineyards Blütengrund, Göttersitz and Schweigenberg. The wine-growing communities with their individual sites are:
The Mansfeld Lakes area in the state of Saxony-Anhalt was only created in 2002. The vineyards cover about 80 hectares. There is a Großlage Kelterberg. The wine-growing communities with the individual vineyards:
The area of Thuringia in the federal state of the same name covers 55 hectares of vineyards. There is no Großlage. The wine-growing communities with their individual vineyards are:
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Technischer Lehrer, staatl. geprüfter Sommelier, Hotelfachschule Heidelberg