Dornfelder is a dark-skinned variety of grape of German origin used for red wine. Dornfelder has a depth of color, good acidity and the ability to benefit from barrique aging and the associated oak flavors. In comparison to traditional red wine varieties of Germany, Dornfelder is easier to grow than Spätburgunder, has better resistance to rot than Blauer Portugieser (as well as deeper color, more powerful flavors and more tannin), has stronger stalks than Trollinger, ripens earlier than Lemberger, and achieves higher must weights, i.e., higher natural alcohol levels than most of these varieties. Dornfelder can be very productive, but quality-conscious producers typically keep yields lower.
Higher-quality Dornfelder wines are velvety textured, slightly floral, often show flavors of plums, blackberries or cherries, and are typically oaked. Sometimes the wines have a hint of sweetness.