VDP classification system

VDP: Institution for the Protection of German Wine Quality.

Year of founding: 1908
Currently 197 members cultivating a vineyard area of ​​about 5,000 hectares or 5% of the total German vineyards
Average size of members’ estates: 25 hectares, average wine production per member: 165,000 litres
Area devoted to the Riesling grape variety: 2,700 acres or 12% of the total German vineyards
Vineyards under organic cultivation: 710 hectares out of a total of 5,000 hectares in Germany.
Number of estates under organic cultivation: 29 out of a total of 800 in Germany.
In 2012, the assembly of the VDP decided to add a new step to the existing classification. The decision came into force in 2012 and can be summarized in four classifications as follows:

VDP Grosse Lage = The top of the range. These are the wines from the best wine-growing locations in Germany. They have to be produced from grapes produced with a maximum crop of  50 hl / ha and harvested selectively, by hand. The quality of the harvested grapes must be equivalent to at least that of a Spätlese and the wines are subject to an analytical and organoleptical analysis both before and after bottling. They are not allowed to be sold until after May 1st of the year following the harvest (for wines with residual sweetness) and September 1st of the year following the harvest for wines displaying the classification "Grosses Gewächs". Red wines are available for sale one year later. 
VDP Erste Lage = Wines produced from graded vineyard sites and produced from a grape variety with a distinctive character. They are identified by the designation “Einzellage” and are produced from vineyards with a maximum yield of 60 hl / ha. Dry wines are classified as “Qualitätsweine trocken” and sweeter wines with the classic descriptions “Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese” 
VDP Gutswein and Ortswein = Wines produced from at least 80% of grape varieties traditional and typical for their particular region, with a maximum harvest yield 75 hl / ha. These wines may not indicate on the label the name of single vineyard in which they were produced but only the name of the location of the vineyards concerned. 
Großes Gewächs: This term is limited to dry wines (less than 9 g/l of residual sweetness) with a quality grade ranging from Kabinett to Auslese. These wines are produced from grapes grown in exceptionally great vintages. The wines of this category shall be produced from the grape varieties stipulated for the region in question (see below) with a maximum yield of 50 hectoliters per hectare. The juice must have a natural sugar content of between 76 and 90 degrees Öchsle = 9.6 to 11.8 ° alcohol, the grape harvest done by hand and the wines must pass the compulsory analytical and sensory tests and aging periods.

The wines are produced exclusively from vine varieties in regions:

- Pfalz: Riesling, Weisser Burgunder, Spätburgunder;
- Ahr: Spätburgunder, Drühburgunder, Riesling;
- Baden: Riesling, Weisser Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder,  Spätburgunder;
- Franken: Riesling, Silvaner, Weisser Burgunder, Spätburgunder;
- Rheingau: Riesling, Spätburgunder;
- Hessische Bergstraße: Riesling, Weisser Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder;
- Rheinhessen: Riesling, Spätburgunder;
- Mittelrhein: Riesling;
- Mosel-Saar-Rüwer: Riesling;
- Nahe: Riesling;
- Sachsen: Riesling, Weisser Burgunder, Spätburgunder;
- Saale-Unstrut: Riesling, Silvaner, Weisser Burgunder, Spätburgunder;
- Würtemberg: Riesling, Weisser Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder, Lemberger.

Or using the following synonyms:
Weisser Burgunder: Weisburgunder, Pinot blanc; Grauer Burgunder: Grauburgunder, Ruländer, Pinot gris; Spätburgunder: Blauer Spätburgunder, Pinot noir.

Wines may be sold only in bottles with the VDP logo of a stylized eagle VDP and the single logo corresponding to the level of quality. Wines are subject to the general rules of the VDP and regulations in force, they are monitored during cultivation of the vines in the vineyard, before and after the harvest and following vinification. They are subject to two analytical and organoleptical tests before and after bottling. The requirements for registration as being a VDP member are as follows:

• The company is a registered full-time wine-estate
• It must have high quality standards confirmed;
• It has a national and international reputation;
• It stores a stock of older vintages;
• Its vineyards must be planted with at least 80% of the noble varieties laid down by the VDP   
   for that wine region;
• The work in the vineyards must be in harmony with the environment;
• The harvest yields must comply with the maximum yields defined by the VDP;
•  The density of the grape juice harvested must have a minimum of at least 8 ° Öchsle higher  
    than those defined in the state regulations;
•  The production of wines with the classification "Prädikatswein" is higher than the regional
•  No wines are produced with reference to a Großlage or Bereich;
•  Auslese wines are fermented only from manually harvested grapes;
• Companies are checked periodically both in the vineyard and in the cellar, assessing the state of operation, maintenance, environmental hygiene, the company stock and wine storage facilities.