Ahr - situated south of Bonn, the Ahr is a small region producing primarily red wine from the Spätburgunder (Pinot noir) and Portugieser grapes. These velvety and fiery wines are, for the most part, consumed locally.
Baden - the southernmost region, Baden stretches from Heidelberg to Bodensee in the famous Black Forest area. It is Germany's third largest region and, due to the various soil types (from clay to volcanic stone), it is the most diverse region. 23% of the vineyards are planted with Spätburgunder grapes, producing full-bodied, velvety reds. The fresh, fragrant whites are made from Müller-Thurgau (flowery), Ruländer (Pinot gris), Gewürtztraminer (spicy), Gutedel (mild) and Riesling.
Franken - the famous Stein vineyard is found in Franken, hence why Franken wines were formerly called Steinwein. Traditionally bottled in green flagons called Bocksbeutel, these dry and earthy wines are made from Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner grapes.
Hessische Bergstraße - this region produces rich, fragrant Riesling which is predominantly consumed by the locals, so get along to the wine festivals at Heppenheim (late June) and Bensheim (early September) in order to find yourself a bottle.
Mittelrhein - stretching for 60 miles along the banks of the Rhine south of Bonn, Mittelrhein has many medieval castles and ruins. The town of Bacharach is renowned for its fairly acidic Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Kerner wines, which are grown successfully on the hostile slopes and then sold locally.
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer - runs north from near Trier to Koblenz and is home to some of Germany's most famous vineyards. The wines here are pale, fruity and light. The steep, south-facing slopes near Scharzhofberg and Wiltingen produce good Riesling, as do Piesport, Graach and Erden in the middle Mosel. Müller-Thurgau and the old Roman variety Elbling are also grown in this region.
Nahe - situated west of Rheinhessen and east of the Mosel, the town of Bad Kreuznach is particularly famous. In the north of the region the sandy soil produces wine similar to that of the Rheinhessen; the slate in the soil in the south makes for fragrant wine like in the Mosel .
Pfalz - this is the largest region by wine production and is bordered by France and the Rheinhessen. The best vineyards are in the north, with Forst, Wachenheim, Deidesheim and Ruppertsberg renowned for their Riesling. Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner and Morio-Muskat are also grown in the clay soils, as is the red variety Portugieser.
Rheingau - this central region, which runs from Lorch in the west to Hochheim in the east, contains Germany's oldest wine-growing families. It is famous for applying Botrytis Cinerea (noble rot) and Spätlese to wine-growing. The soil and climate combine to produce the perfect Riesling, fruity, fragrant and rich. At Assmannshausen, the full-bodied red variety Spätburgunder is grown.
Rheinhessen - this is the largest region and second only to Pfalz in terms of production. Near Nierstein the slopes facing the Rhein produce some of the finest German wines, especially Riesling. The variety of soils means that a variey of grapes are grown including Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Portugieser and Spätburgunder.
Saale-Unstrut - is the northernmost region and, although small, is well established: the American vines were planted here in 1887 after the Phylloxera epidemic. Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner and Weißburgunder (Pinot blanc) are grown here and produce soft, dry white wines. The QbA and Kabinett are especially good when young.
Sachsen - the easternmost region follows the Elbe river near Dresden. Müller-Thurgau, Traminer and Weißburgunder produce dry, acidic and fruity wines that are mostly consumed locally.
Württemberg - the largest red wine region, with the large town of Stuttgart taking centre place. Trollinger, Müllerrebe (Pinot meunier), Spätburgunder, Portugieser and Lemberger all produce fruity reds. Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Kerner and Silvaner are energetic and hearty in this region, but rarely exported.