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Venerable viniculture in Saxony: for over 850 years

Wine in Dresden Elbland

Soils that suit, the right weather and centuries of expertise: when it comes to grapes and their goodness, Saxony is unrivalled. And it’s quality not quantity first – just 450 hectares of vineyards makes the Free State one of Germany’s smallest winegrowing regions. It may be around the northerly limit for grape-growing in Europe, but the special climate of the Dresden-Elbe Valley cossets the fruit. Nowhere in Saxony is warmer than here: more than 1,600 hours of sunshine and an average annual temperature of 9°C boosts the bottling of wine in 15 individual locations between Pirna and Diesbar-Seusslitz. And that’s why dozens of grape varieties thrive, from Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc to Traminer and Dornfelder.

Wine growing region Saxony

500 hectares of pure quality

Today, the Saxon taste is the fruit of more than 850 years of viticulture tradition. A place where special wines thrive like no other, thanks to the rich soil, a suitable climate and years of insight – despite being one of Europe’s smallest wine-growing regions. Over just 511 hectares, real rarities mature and come to the fore. But comprising just 0.2% of the total German wine-growing area, Saxon wines are very much quality over quantity.

Grapes thrive like nowhere else in the balmy Dresden-Elbe-Valley climate; indulging in over 1600 hours of sunshine each year. This part of Saxony, between Pirna and Diesbar-Seußlitz as one of the 17 different winegrowing strongholds, is also the warmest in the region. All of this is made possible by the 1860 wine growers, 96% of whom operate on a very small scale and make nurturing the sensitive wines their vocation.

Many grape varieties find their ideal home between the Elster Valley and Meissen: Mueller-Thurgau, Riesling and Pinot Blanc, Dornfelder and Traminer – they leave you wanting more! We can also revisit a rare treasure in Goldriesling – which is scarce nowadays anywhere else but Saxony.

A good hint: To really get on board with the region and its people, the best is to visit one of the popular autumn wine festivals!

Wine related events

Get to know and love the Saxon vintners and their excellent wines for yourself at numerous events in the Dresden Elbland. This is possible at the open winery days at the end of August or the traditional wine and Federweisser festivals in the fall. Experience Saxon wine paired with regional delicacies and cultural programs.
Photo: André Wirsig, Dresden Elbland

All wineries at a glance

Saxon Wine Route

55 km enjoyment of wine

Opened in 1992 and centuries old: the history of the Saxon Wine Route between Pirna and Diesbar-Seußlitz dates back to the 12th century.
Photo: Erik Gross (DML-BY), Dresden Elbland

Saxon wine hiking trail

Saxon wine hiking trail

A good drop at every stage! The Saxon Wine Trail connects the pearls of the Dresden region along the Elbe and leads to the most beautiful vineyards, vantage points and wine cellars.
Photo: TMGS / Marcus Gloger, Dresden Elbland


Long: The path to today’s viticulture

Winegrowing in the Elbe valley dates back to 1161, although Bishop Benno of Meissen almost certainly planted vines in his diocese as early as 1100. The first plants to arrive in the region were probably brought by Frankish settlers or travellers. Production came properly on tap in the 16th century, and by the mid-17th, as much as 5,000 hectares of land had been devoted to winegrowing between the Elbe valley and the Lausitz (Lusatia). The next boost to the trade came in 1799, when the Saxon Winegrowers’ Association came into being and opened Europe’s first winegrowing college in Meissen in 1811. But it wasn’t all rosy: first came mildew, followed soon after by a devastating phylloxera plague which almost decimated the industry. In 1912, only 150 hectares of vines remained extant, shrinking to a mere 60 after the Second World War. Nor did much improve with the first decades of the GDR.

Fresh: A new beginning

Tentative steps made to usher in a new era took until the early 1980s to transpire. As former vineyards were replanted, many hobby winegrowers seized their chance, while the Cold War thaw in 1989 sped things up. As benchmark wine legislation was issued and the new (or re-established) estates opened up, the vineyards gained a second wind, as exemplified today by widely acclaimed wines from slopes such as Radebeul Goldener Wagen, Meissen Kapitelberg and the Royal Vineyard in Pillnitz. Saxony’s 850-year-old wine tradition has risen phoenix-like from the ashes, thanks in no small measure to the enthusiastic efforts of a new generation of winegrowers.

Saxon wine queens

Photo: Weinbauverband Sachsen/ Eckhard Kahle, Dresden Elbland
Saxony's wine sovereigns are the face of Saxony's wine products as well as its winemakers. Coordinated by the Weinbauverband Sachsen e.V., the trio (one wine queen and two wine princesses) performs representative duties such as opening wine festivals, national and international trade fair appearances, local wine tastings and many others. The most beautiful honorary office in the world lasts one year and is based on an election.

Every year, the Saxony Winegrowers' Association is looking for wine ambassadors for the next year in office. Ladies over 18 with an affinity for wine can apply for this until June. For more information, visit

Wine bars with predicate

With the best recommendation, wine lovers can visit selected restaurants and wine taverns in the Elbland. Under the quality seal "Especially recommended in the wine country Saxony" you will always find the right thing for you from the rustic Schoppenstube to the romantic courtyard.
Photo: Tobias Ebert, Weingut Schuh

All wine taverns at a glance

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