As to where the Riesling grape originated, no one knows for certain. Some scholars claim the grape was mentioned by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder. Others attribute the first plantings of Riesling to Medieval German kings or monks. Still others claim Riesling evolved from a grape that simply grew naturally in the Rhineland. Whatever the case, the first written reference to Riesling wine doesn’t occur until the late 13th Century.

It remains undisputed, however, that Riesling grapes were first cultivated in and around modern-day Germany. Experts agree that the world’s best Rieslings still come from this area.

A roman historian who first mentioned the Riesling grape.

Riesling’s are “late-ripening” by nature. That makes Germany’s moderate climate ideal for a long growing season and a fully mature grape. The steep slopes that dominate the growing regions provide the vines with greater exposure to sunlight. The slate-rich soil also works to hold the sun’s warmth well into the cool nights, while imparting a mineral characteristic unique to German wines. These elements, along with the overall climate and farming techniques, create what wine growers refer to as terroir. No other place on earth has such perfect conditions for growing the world’s best Riesling grapes.

Riesling grapes prefer cool climates and sandy clay or slate soils, and today they’re grown all over the world: from Austria and France to the US and Canada and as far away as Australia and New Zealand – even China. Yet it remains the most widely cultivated grape variety in Germany; more than 260,000 acres each year.

Riesling vineyards Steep Slopes