The Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter or VDP is the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates, ‘Prädikat’ meaning the association has its own in-house wine classification system which is not part of Germany’s national wine law.
The VDP Classification: This classification defines wine quality according to the geographic origin of the grapes, rather than the grapes’ sugar level at picking. All VDP wines must be from grape varieties typical of their region. The VDP classfication has four tiers. At the top is Grosse Lage® (plural Grosse Lagen), the equivalent of France’s Grand Cru, meaning from the best sites that are precisely delineated by parcel.. The wines are called Grosses Gewächs, meaning great growth. The next tier down is Erste Lage (plural Erste Lagen), the equivalent of France’s Premier Cru. The wines are called Erste Gewächs or first growth. Below this come Ortswein (plural Ortsweine) meaning a wine from a single Village only, the equivalent of France’s Villages. At the base of the pyramid is Gutswein (plural Gutsweine) denoting a wine from any of the estate’s holdings in a single region eg. Mosel, or Pfalz.
Members: 1990 161 members. | 2014 199.
Stastistics: In 2014 the VDP’s 199 wineries owned 2,700ha of vines or 5% of Germany’s total vineyard, and produced 2.6% of the national crop. The average size of a VDP estate was 25ha. 7% of the world’s Riesling was cultivated by VDP members: Source: Statistisches Bundesamt März 2014.
Grosses Gewächs production: 2013 509 wines from 158 estates and 280 sites. | 2012 436 wines, 157 estates and 261 sites. | 2011 400 wines, 149 estates and 226 sites. | 2010 414 wines, 148 estates and 219 sites. | 2009 360 wines, 143 estates and 209 sites. | 2008 392 wines, 143 estates and 209 sites. | 2007 276 wines, 110 estates and 171 sites. | 2006 225 wines, 107 estates and 151 sites. | 2005 107 estates and 235 wines. | 2004 104 estates and 239 wines. | 2003 105 estates and 230 wines. | 2002 96 estates and189 wines. | 2001 78 estates and144 wines.
Organics: In 2014 the VDP had 49 estates (24% of the VDP’s 199 estates) cultivating ca. 980 ha (2,422 acres) of vines organically (some of which was still being converted from conventional cultivation). This represented 19% of the VDP’s 5,043ha of vines. The VDP’s 980 ha of organic vines gave it a 10.9% share of Germany’s total of 9,000ha of organic vineyards.