An association of the top German wine growers.

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The Verband Deutscher Pradikatsweinguter consists of 194 top wine estates from across Germany’s 13 wine regions.

The group must adhere to strict rules including low yields, higher starting must weights, selective hand harvesting and five-yearly inspections. Wine estates that belong to the VDP bear the group’s eagle on the bottle. Around 5% of Germany’s vineyards are included in the VDP classification.

The very best wines made within the VDP may be classified as Erste Lage, the German equivalent of Grand Cru. These wines are subject to a tasting panel, must have a maximum yield of 50hl/ha, hand harvested and be made from traditional grapes in proven sites. In 2009, 360 wines from 143 wine estates and 209 vineyard sites qualified for this prestigious title. These wines are identified by a number one next to a cluster of grapes embossed on the bottle or label.

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