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The growing area in Germany is named after the two rivers, in whose narrow valleys on the south-east and south-west slopes the terraced vineyards are situated. The vineyards cover 786 hectares of vines, which extend over three federal states. Over 90% of them are located in Saxony-Anhalt, the rest in Thuringia and only a few hectares in Werder an der Havel in the federal 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, this is already documented in writing in 998. Another document attests vineyards in the area of the Mansfeld Lakes as early as 973. 1137 the Cistercians founded the monastery St. Mariae ad Portam (today's Landesweingut Kloster Pforta) and in 1154 they laid out the still existing Pfortenser Köppelberg. The old winegrowing tradition is attested to by a grape in the coat of arms of the city of Jena, where the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1554. At that time, the Thuringian vineyard area was about 10,000 hectares.

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