The history of this wine-growing region boasts both Germanic and Roman influences.
A culture led from the beginning of our era by the Romans, then revived by the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties. Before the end of the first millennium, 160 Alsace localities were farming vineyards and during the Middle Ages, the Alsace wines were considered among the most prestigious in Europe. Secular traditions which are presently combined with cultural practices, proximity, and loyalty to all soils and grape varieties with a deep respect for the land.
A choice of grape varieties intended for very aromatic wines
The extreme diversity of the soils, sub-soils and micro-climates have led Alsace producers to preserve a large range of varieties, thus favouring plant biodiversity and giving all the selected varieties the best conditions for optimum development. The Alsace wine-making tradition is based on seven major grape varieties which gives these Vins d’Alsace their names and aromatic character.
Terroir-specific cultural practices
Both in the vineyards and wine-cellars, Alsace know-how aims to preserve freshness and aromatic expression in the wines. Of particular interest is how vine foliage on trellises is trained to grow high off the ground which limits potential frost-damage and encourages sun exposure, or the grass cover technique which facilitates water retention and curbs erosion, notably on the hillsides.
In order to fully understand the terroir, wine-growers know this means undertaking a genuine partnership with nature. Stimulate natural vine defenses, boost deep rooting systems or limiting the use of chemical inputs: in Alsace organic farming, sustainable farming or biodynamic farming are all common practices.
An ambitious regulatory framework
Supervised by rigorous production rules, this know-how gives the Vins d’Alsace their identity. In wanting to be authentic, AOCs have imposed their constraints at various degrees depending on the terroir-specific expression level desired.