What is Gewürztraminer?

One of the best wine in the wine profile series is Gewürztraminer. This grape’s wines are distinguished by their strong perfumes, exotic bouquets, the richness of extracts, and high alcohol content. The wine’s most common variant is a residual sweet to noble sweet form. The wines have an unusually high alcohol content despite white wine’s high residual sugar content.

It is not uncommon to come across a noble sweet Gewürztraminer with 12.5 percent alcohol by volume. This property is due to the grape variety’s ability to produce and store a large amount of sugar. Because it has slight acidity, it is often described as gentle and usually leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste reminiscent of bitter orange.

Only about 20,000 hectares of Gewürztraminer are planted worldwide. As a result, it is one of the rare wine profile series, Gewürztraminer. Its scarcity is self-evident; its high demands on the soil, location, and climate make it difficult for winegrowers.

Did you know:

In English, Gewürztraminer is sometimes referred to colloquially as Gewürz.

Furthermore, the grape variety’s susceptibility to diseases and volatile yields represents a double disadvantage. Above all, the volatile yields make security planning extremely difficult. Many wineries are unwilling to take this risk. Gewürztraminer was particularly susceptible to various viral diseases in its original form. This trait has now been bred out by selecting strong, resistant clones.

Origin and history of the Gewürztraminer

The Traminer grape, to which the Gewürztraminer belongs, was named after the Italian town of Tramin in South Tyrol. Tramin grapes have been used to make measuring wines since the 16th century, according to sources. Individual historical documents indicate that Traminer has grown here since the 11th century.

The precise origin of the grape variety has yet to be proven. Their origins, however, are thought to be in Southeastern Europe or Egypt. On the other hand, some researchers believe that Greece is the true birthplace of the Traminian.

The German botanist Johann Christian Metzger first mentioned the Gewürztraminer under its current name in 1827 as a rare variety from the Rheingau. Traminer is one of the oldest grape varieties still used economically for wine production today.

How to serve a Gewürztraminer:

The high-quality and noble sweet variants are excellent as dessert wines and have a long shelf life. Most Traminers, on the other hand, are designed for quick consumption and want to be drunk within two years. Gewürztraminer should be served between 8 and 12 °C to give its full aroma.

However, pouring the wines at 3 to 5 °C may be beneficial. Because of the cooler drinking temperature, its sweetness recedes into the background, while its acidity is more prominent, resulting in more balance. Never pour Gewürztraminer too warm, as this brings the alcohol to the foreground and makes the wine resemble gasoline.

Gewürztraminer is most commonly found in aromatic still wines. Some winemakers, however, have discovered its potential as sparkling wine and liqueur wine. The grape variety sets the scene beautifully as sparkling wine or crémant and provides an interesting alternative to the classic champagne as an aperitif.

Fun Facts of Wine Profile Series: Gewürztraminer 

  1. Alsace, France, is the world’s most important region for great Gewürztraminer.
  2. Gewürztraminer is a very aromatic wine that smells like roses, litchis, marmalade, fruit cocktail, and spices, not to mention Pond’s Cold Cream.
  3. Gewürztraminer has low acidity and is rarely oaked.
  4. Because Gewürztraminer is typically full-bodied and fruity, it pairs well with any dish that includes soy sauce, which can normally destroy wine, but not gewürztraminer.
  5. Almost all Gewürztraminer is dry. However, because they are so fruity, they can appear sweet.

Where Gewürztraminer grown?

Although there are dry-aged Alsace examples, most wines are produced semi-dry to noble sweet. Gewürztraminer cultivation in Germany dates back to the 16th century, according to historical documents.

While records indicate a strong presence in the Rheingau, the grape variety is now primarily found in Palatinate and Baden. Only about 1,100 hectares of vineyards account for less than 1% of Germany’s total vineyard area. As a result, German Gewürztraminer is considered rare.

  • South Tyrol: Tramin is the namesake of the grape variety

South Tyrol in Italy is another important cultivation area. More specifically, the Tramin municipality’s surrounding area. The grape variety, Traminer, was named after her. Traminer grape wines have been produced here for over 500 years. The alpine climate and the unique composition of the Tramin soils provide the foundation for a strong-flavored Gewürztraminer from Tyrol.

  • Australia and the USA

Australia and the United States are also notable growing economies. Cooler growing regions in Australia, such as the Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, and Tasmania, deserve special attention. While in the hot areas, the grape variety quickly matures into a low-acid, thus bland sugar bomb and suffers from early harvest. The grape variety is primarily found in California, Oregon, and the state of Washington in the United States.

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Key dates in Gewürztraminer history

1500: Traminer was first found in Tramin from around 1000 to the 16th century.

1870: In the 1870s, the longer name was first used in Alsace (then under German rule).

1932: Georg Scheu crossed Gewürztraminer with Müller-Thurgau in 1932 to create Würzer, which is grown in Rheinhessen and England in small quantities.

Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavors (ALLEN LANE) eBook: Robinson, Jancis, Harding, Julia, Vouillamoz, José: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Wine: A Beginner’s Guide: Amazon.co.uk: Fredrickson, Kenneth: 9781646110544: Books


Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. Jancis Robinson 2012

Wine. Years. People. Events. Massandra Wine Collection 2010

The World Atlas of Wine: 8th Edition. Johnson, H & Robinson, J. 2019

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About the Author: Staff Writer

Wine Profile Series: Gewürztraminer, The Wine Profile Series: Gewürztraminer