German Wine Terms

Kabinett The lightest style of Riesling, made from grapes that have a sweetness level of 67-82 Oechsle (148–188 g/L sugar). Kabinett wines range in style from dry to off-dry.

Spätlese Spätlese means “late harvest” and grapes have a sweetness level of 76-90 Oechsle (172–209 g/L sugar). Spätlese wines are rich and usually sweeter than Kabinett, although if you see “Trocken” on the bottle you can assume it’s in a dry style with higher alcohol.

Auslese Meaning “select harvest”, Auslese is even sweeter picked at 83–110 Oechsle (191–260 g/l sugar) where the grapes are hand-selected and have noble rot. Wines are sweeter or bold and high alcohol when labeled “Trocken.”

Beerenauslese Meaning “berry select harvest”, these wines are much more rare because the grapes are basically raisinated noble rot grapes picked at 110-128 Oechsle (260+ g/l sugar!). Expect precious dessert wines sold in half-bottles.

Trockenbeerenauslese Meaning “dry berry select harvest” and the most rare wine of the group made from raisinated grapes that dried out on the vine picked at 150-154 Oechsle.

Eiswein When grapes freeze on the vine and are pressed when frozen (usually in the middle of the night) this can be classified as a true ice wine. These wines will have between 110-128 Oechsle (260+ g/l sugar!) when picked.

Source materials: Wikipedia