Saxony: Wine has flourished where the wall couldn’t manage

From Prague, the nearest foreign wine region lies just a little more than 70 miles (120 km) to the north. The Federal German State of Saxony is home to the wine region of the same name, one of the two regions of the former German Democratic Republic, the other being Saale-Unstrut. Saxony or Sachsen consists of a tiny area hugging the valley of the Elbe River between the city of Dresden and the town of Meissen, the latter more renowned for its refined porcelain. Wine has been around in Saxony for at least 850 years, under the auspices of the church and aristocracy, the principal landowners down the years.

Not only is this among the smallest, it is also the northernmost of Germany’s wine regions. Vineyards account for a mere 470 hectares (1150 acres), of which more than 80 percent is planted with white grapes. The climate is deeply continental, with a considerable likelihood of spring frosts as well as of grapes failing to ripen with insufficient sun, though the proximity of the Elbe helps temper these extremes.

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(Photo: Trish Hughes/