Riesling is a white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world’s 20th most grown variety at 120,000 acres (with an increasing trend), but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the “top three” white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling is a variety that is highly “terroir-expressive”, meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine’s place of origin.
In 2006, Riesling was the most grown variety in Germany with 20.8% and 52,380 acres, and in the French region of Alsace with 21.9% and 8,300 acres. There are also significant plantings of Riesling in Austria, Luxembourg, northern Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Finger Lakes, USA, Canada, South Africa, China and Ukraine. In the countries where it is cultivated, Riesling is most commonly grown in colder regions and locations.