The AOC Grand Cru was created in 1975 and features 51 classified areas, defined according to strict geological and climactic criteria. In 2011, each of these lieux-dits was recognised as an Appellation in its own right
Alsace Grands Crus appellations showcase the influence of the different terroirs on the wines. The designation is attributed to wines satisfying a number of quality-related criteria: strict limitations on terroir, highly restricted yields, specific rules of conduct regarding the vines, minimal natural ripeness levels and taste .
The appellation Alsace Grand Cru recognises the most exceptional terroirs, which impart to the wines an expressive character and a unique authenticity. The size of these exceptional vineyards varies between 3 and 80 hectares
The label must indicate the vintage, one of the fifty-one terroirs within the Grand Cru appellation, and may indicate the grape variety. With a few minor exceptions, permitted grape varieties grown in Alsace include: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat.
The Grands Crus of Alsace represent an average annual production of nearly 45,000 hL (or 500,000 cases), just 4% of the total Alsace wine production.