Franconia (Franken) is one of the 13 wine regions in Germany. Franconia is known for white wines, and around 80 percent of the vineyards are planted to white grape varieties.
Würzburg is the main city in Franconian wine country, although Nuremberg is an hour or so drive away. Grapevines cover the steep (and sometimes sunny) hillsides. They have been producing wine in Franconia for 1,200 years. The area is very green, a contrast to the golden hills of California’s wine country in the summer.
Franconian is the only wine region in the federal state of Bavaria. In 2014, vines were grown on 6,176 hectares (15,260 acres) of land in the region.
The greatest part of the wine region is situated in the Regierungsbezirk of Lower Franconia around its capital Würzburg along the Main River. There are a few areas in Middle Franconia mainly in the Steigerwald and a very small part in the area of Upper Franconiaaround Bamberg.
The bends of Main have been used to define the region’s three districts, two of which take their names from their respective geometric shape.
The best-known vineyard site is the Würzburger Stein a hill north of central Würzburg. The wines from there are known under the synonym of Steinwein. Along the Maindreieck nearly every town produces some wine. The earliest evidence of the Silvaner grape is found in the archive of Castell in a document from 10 April 1659.
Originally the Silvaner was the most important grape. In the 20th century the Müller-Thurgau, a simple grape, has been planted in large areas. Although the amount of Müller Thurgau has been decreasing for the last ten years, it is still the most produced grape in Franconia.
Red grape varties cover 20% of the region’s vineyard area.
My educational trip was with Napa Valley Wine & Entertainment journalist L Pierce Carson. A side trip we took from one of our Prague visits several years back. It was great learning experience of a region less recognized outside of Germany.
Napa July 14, 2018