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With Autobahn, rail and regional road, all are easily accessible, including Germany's two newest appellations - Sachsen, (immediately east and west of Dresden) and Saale-Unstrut, (between Magdeburg and Jena.) The best times to visit the vineyards are from late April into the summer and then, depending on weather conditions, immediately after the harvest in late autumn.

Wherever you go there are hundreds of open-air wine festivals (Wein-or Winzerfeste), a perfect opportunity to taste the wines, mix with people, and enjoy local taste treats.

The website of the German Wine Institute can tell you everything you want to know about such things as wine regions, festivals, visitor-friendly wineries, grape varieties, how to cook with wine and lots more. We present here sketches of the country's officially designated wine-growing areas: The meandering Mosel River, snakes its way between the Rhineland-Palatinate's Eifel and Hunsrück regions, carving a valley that is so narrow that no significant urban development ever evolved.

- resulting in Mosel Riesling's characteristic, bracing, slate-driven minerality.The Mosel experiences more sunshine hours than any other German appellation.Germany's 13 official wine regions boast some of the country's most beautiful scenery, finest food and best-touted tourist attractions that lucky Expats living here can visit repeatedly without strain.Envious wine-loving tourists can only cram in what they can of the countless castles; lordly manors; great landscapes and fine cuisine that are natural components of Germany's wine country lifestyle.This enables high fruit-sugar levels and extreme ripeness to evolve resulting in delicious tropical fruit flavor nuances: mango, banana, guava, pineapple and sweet citrus and peach.

Most of Germany's baker's-dozen growing areas are concentrated within an hour or two of the Greater Frankfurt metropolitan area, close to Cologne, Heidelberg and Stuttgart, as well as Würzburg.

Off the beaten track are those near Jena, Leipzig and Dresden.

Given the extremely steep inclines, the Mosel's vines don't shade each other; and, the Devonian slatey soil retains the sun's warmth at night.

Riesling's aggressively long roots penetrate the soil up to nine meters - that's 27 feet or more!

There's frequently dancing, and a parade led by the reigning wine queen, usually a junior family member of a leading local vintner.

Spectacular fireworks displays brighten the skies at the biggest fests, and major culinary events are scheduled at local restaurants. Well-marked foot and bike paths follow the rivers where the wine abounds.