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vendange sélectionée de baies avec pourriture noble (F)
selected harvest of dried berries (GB)

Designation (also abbreviated TBA) for a sweet wine made from overripe, raisin-like dried and mostly but not exclusively noble rotten berries with a characteristic taste of nuts, honey and caramel and a golden yellow to amber colour. However, such wines cannot be produced according to plan every year, as certain climatic conditions are an absolute prerequisite. The most important criterion is that the grapes (usually only white wine varieties) are attacked by the mould Botrytis during ripening and noble rot develops. This causes tiny pores to form in the skin of the berries, causing the water to evaporate very slowly and the berries' ingredients to become immensely concentrated. An extremely high sugar content or must weight up to 300 °Oe (60 °KMW) can be achieved (see under total extract).

Trockenbeerenauslese - getrocknete Beeren in der Hand / Weintraube am Stock

wine-law provisions

The grapes are harvested extremely late, which is of course a risk. During harvesting, the berries are often laboriously picked by hand individually or selected from the grapes. The result is noble sweet wines, as is (partly) the case with Auslese, Ausbruch and Beerenauslese. However, these three differ in the condition of the berries used and the vinification. There are different wine law regulations in the individual countries to be allowed to call a wine Trockenbeerenauslese. The criteria are usually a minimum must weight and the condition of the grapes. In Germany and Austria, Trockenbeerenauslese is a special type of wine within the quality wine category Prädikatsweine. The specific conditions of production are described in detail under these country headings.

suitable vines

Late ripening varieties are particularly suitable for this purpose (see ripening time). In Germany Riesling and Scheurebe (in Austria Sämling 88), Welschriesling but also Cuvées, as well as in Hungary Furmint (for the Tokajer) are often used for this purpose. Trockenbeerenauslese wines belong to the sweet wine and dessert wine types. A dry version would be theoretically possible, but a paradox. They usually contain a high proportion of unfermented residual sugar; the alcohol content is therefore often below 10% vol. and in extreme cases can only be 6% vol. Ideally, they are characterized by a high acidity and an extremely long shelf life of up to several decades. They are usually bottled in small 0.375 litre bottles.

Invention of the Trockenbeerenauslese

The phenomenon of late harvesting was recognized and applied in southern countries even before our era. For example, the Roman historian Tacitus (55-120) reports in his annals of a wine from Carthage from dried grapes. And Pliny the Elder (23-79) writes that the Vocontians, a tribe living between Marseille and Lyon in present-day France, produced artificial Trockenbeerenauslese. Grapes were turned over on their stems or their stems were cut down to the core so that the grapes dried out. The famous Opimian (see under Falerno) was probably also a wine made from dried grapes. In these cases, however, it must not necessarily always have been exclusively noble rot grapes. In Italy wines made from dried grapes are called Passito or Recioto).

There are several legendary variations on the "invention" of this type of wine, but it was probably a pure coincidence. In the case of Tokaj (see there), this goes back to an event in 1650. In the German Rheingau wine region, this is evidenced by the story of the famous late-harvest wine maker in 1775, and the legendary French winery Château d'Yquem bears witness to this in 1847. Another documentary mention dates from 1526 in Austria, where the Luther wine was pressed in the parish of Donnerskirchen in Burgenland, and which was still enjoyable over 300 years later. Documented and in today's sense unambiguous Trockenbeerenauslese wines from the Rheingau come from the outstanding vintage 1921.

further information

All aids, work and measures in the vineyard during the vegetation cycle can be found under vineyard care. Complete lists of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law can be found under vinification. Comprehensive wine law information can be found under the keyword wine law.

Picture left: © DWI (German Wine Institute)
Picture right: from Walliswine - own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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