PFALZ, also known as the Palatinate, important region in the Upper Rhine Valley in south-west Germany which takes its name from Rome’s Palatine hill. 

Location | A 30-minute drive from Strasbourg in the neighbouring French region of Alsace, and about the same distance from Frankfurt. 

The name | The name Pfalz and its English equivalent of Palatinate derives from the Latin palatium, meaning palace. The imperial residence (palatium) in ancient Rome was on the Imperial (Palatinate) Hill, the first of Rome’s seven hills to be settled, and the one on which the first imperial palace stood. By extension the word palatium came to be used of any imperial residence, and ‘palatine’, a lord with royal priveleges, and palatinate, the territory he ruled. The term was adopted by the Holy Roman Empire, whose foremost secular prince was the Count Palatine of the Rhine. The English form Palatinate is often used in reference to the Pfalz, and is the short form of ‘Pfalzgraftschaft bei Rhein’ or the Countship Palatinate of the Rhine/Rhine territory formerly ruled by the counts palatinate. Pfalz thus counts as one of the Rhinelands, but the Rheinpfalz vineyards are well away from the Rhine. Kaiserpfalz, for example, is also an imperial palace. 

Vineyard area | Over 22,000 ha of vines. 

Terroir | The Upper Rhine Valley is a rift valley, hence the sometimes bewildering mix of soil types across even only small surface areas. The hills local to the Pfalz consist of the Haardt range which rise to 670 metres (2,200 feet). Its slopes are covered by forests of mainly pine, beech and oak. Below the forests and along the lower slopes of the Haardt mountain range are the vineyards. The vineyards end on the valley floor where they give way to arable crops, which are grown on a 10-mile (15km) strip of land right running down to the banks of the Rhine river (the region was in fact called Rheinpfalz until 1992). The Pfalz is among Germany’s warmest, sunniest wine regions and produces lemons, apples, figs, almonds and sweet chestnuts as well as wine. The Pfalz is unofficially called the “German Tuscany”. The centre of the region comprises the Mittelhaardt villages of Wachenheim, Deidesheim, Forst and Ruppertsberg.  

Main towns | Deidesheim. | Forst. | Konigsbach. | Gimmeldingen. | Ruppertsberg. | Wachenheim. 

Wineries 

Certified Biodynamic | Das Hirschhorner Weinkontor Frank John. | Weingut A Christmann. | Weingut Alter Zollberg. | Weingut Bender. | Weingut Dr Bürklin-Wolf. | Weingut Dr Wehrheim. | Weingut Eymann. | Weingut Janson Bernhard. | Weingut Jürgen Leiner. | Weingut Odinstal. | Weingut Müller-Catoir. | Weingut Pflüger. | Weingut Rebholz. 

Certified organic | Weingut Brand.