Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: Germany’s Oldest Wine Region

Dramatic. Historic. Traditional. Cutting-edge. All of these terms describe Germany’s Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wine region, often called “Moselle” in English-language guidebooks. Mosel wines are uniquely German and internationally acclaimed. Perhaps more than any other German wines, Mosel wines truly reflect their terroirs.

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The heart of the wine region is the winding Mosel River. Two tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer Rivers, flow into the Mosel near Trier, Germany’s oldest city. The Mosel twists and turns as it flows toward Koblenz, where it meets the Rhine at the German Corner (“Deutsches Eck”). All along the river, vineyards plunge dramatically, almost unbelievably, toward the banks.

The steeply-sloped vineyards of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer wine region are so difficult to work that the obvious question doesn’t even need to be asked. Of course, it’s worth it. No one would scramble up and down these hillsides, hand-harvesting grapes, if the resulting wines were mediocre.

In fact, Mosel winemakers will tell you that the steep slopes produce better grapes, since rainwater drains off quickly. Because the river winds back and forth on its way to the Rhine, the valley has many south-facing slopes, which have the best sun exposure. Given Germany’s latitude, every moment of sunshine counts.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.