The Palatinate wine region consists of almost 23,400 hectares of wine-growing land, making it the second largest wine-growing region in Germany. The Palatinate is also the world’s largest producer and exporter of the well-known Riesling wine as well as the main producer of red wines in Germany. There are 45 white wines and 22 red wine varieties permitted for cultivation in the Palatinate.
In addition to the Riesling, other famous white grapes from the Burgundy family such as Pinot Gris [in German: Grauburgunder] and Pinot Blanc [in German: Weissburgunder] are cultivated in the Palatinate. Also worth mentioning are the well-known international varieties Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Moreover, typical German white grape varieties such as Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Scheurebe, Muskateller, Gewürztraminer and Kerner are very present.
About 40 percent of the grown wines are red, among them international red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir [in German: Spätburgunder] and Merlot. A typical German red grape variety is Dornfelder, which is the most common red wine in the Palatinate. Another traditional red wine that has become predominant in the Palatinate is Portugieser-Weissherbst. A special technique in the pressing process changes the red wine into rosé wine with its characteristic salmon red color. Other white-pressed red wines such as Pinot Noir also enjoy increasing popularity. White-pressed red wine is generally called by the French term Blanc de Noir.
As the Palatinate wine region is concentrated on an eighty-five-kilometer-long strip along the Palatinate Forest it has been named German Wine Route, starting at the village of Schweigen-Rechtenbach at the French border and ending at the village of Bockenheim in the north. The center of the German Wine Route is marked by the town of Neustadt. Based on old traditions, in this town the German wine queen is elected, making the town the epicenter of German wine culture. The beauty of the German Wine Route may be discovered the best at the annual Wine Route Festival in the summer when the Wine Route is opened only for bicyclists for one Sunday.