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Until 1995 name of the German production area Pfalz; see there.

The wine-growing region is located in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. The vineyards cover 23,554 hectares, making it the second largest German wine-growing region after Rheinhessen. Until 1995 it was called Rheinpfalz, the current name (lat. Palatium = palace) derives from the Palatines of the Holy Roman Empire who resided in the city of Heidelberg from the 13th to the middle of the 18th century. There are first references to viticulture long before the Romans in Celtic graves as early as 550 BC, which were found in Laumersheim and Bad Dürkheim. After the Romans withdrew from the area, viticulture was revived in the 7th century with the rise of the monasteries. In the 8th century, over a hundred wine-growing villages are already mentioned. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the first vineyard names appeared in this area, some of which have been preserved in the individual vineyard names to this day.

Karte vom Anbaugebiet Pfalz

Due to the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and subsequent warlike events caused by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, there was great devastation and a decline in viticulture. Around the middle of the 19th century there was at first a new blossoming, but due to mildew and phylloxera there was again a great slump by the end of the century. As a countermeasure, a fruit and viticulture school was founded in Neustadt an der Weinstraße in 1899 to advance research and systematically train the winegrowers. After a chequered history, there was a crisis in the 1970s, from which the Palatinate recovered in the 1980s and innovative winegrowers ensured dynamic further development, especially with high-quality Rieslings. The Palatinate stretches south from Worms in the shape of a belt for 80 kilometres to the French border north of Alsace and from the slopes of the Palatinate Forest to the Rhine plain.

Climate and soil

The climatic conditions for winegrowing are ideal. There are dry, not too hot summers and mild winters. With around 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, the Palatinate is one of the warmest German wine-growing regions with an almost Mediterranean climate. The soils in the Haardt consist entirely of mixtures of sand, loam, marl and clay. The soils on the Südliche Weinstraße are considered more nutrient-rich and thus heavier because of their higher clay content. In the Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Weinstraße area there are lighter soils that are more permeable to water. Limestone soils dominate on the peripheral hill zones.

Areas, communities and sites

Viticulture is practised in a total of 144 Palatinate villages, mainly in the southern and front Palatinate on the western edge of the plain between the Rhine and the Palatinate Forest. Originally, the wine-growing area was divided into three parts, the Oberhaardt, Mittelhaardt and Unterhaardt, from south to north. In 1935, the German Wine Route was created as the first of its kind. It runs from Bockenheim in the north to Schweigen-Rechtenbach on the French border. Since 1969, the two Palatinate areas of Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Weinstrasse and Südliche Weinstrasse have been named after it, divided into a total of 25 large vineyards with 325 individual vineyards.

The Mittelhaardt-Deutsche Wein straße area begins in the north at the border to Rheinhessen and extends through Zellertal, Grünstadt and Bad Dürkheim to Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Lighter and permeable loamy sand to sandy loam soils predominate here. Deep loess soils are predominantly found on the hills and in the plain, where they are interspersed with loam and clay. The area is divided into the 16 large vineyards of Feuerberg, Grafenstück, Hochmeß, Hofstück, Höllenpfad, Honigsäckel, Kobnert, Mariengarten, Meerspinne, Pfaffengrund, Rebstöckel, Rosenbühl, Schenkenböhl, Schnepfenflug von der Weinstraße, Schnepfenflug vom Zellertal and Schwarzerde. Well-known wine-growing communities with their individual vineyards are:

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