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In the past German wine law distinguished 3 wine qualifications, comparable to those for non-sparkling wines:
- Sparkling wine
- Qualitätsschaumwein (quality sparkling wine) or Sekt
- Prädikatssekt (today forbidden)
On 20 February 1975 the European Court of Justice decided that the name Sekt may also used for sparkling wines produced in countries other than Germany. Since 1967 the term Prädikatssekt is not allowed anymore.
Regulations for German SektGerman Sekt has to have a minimum of 10 % alcohol. The pressure within the bottle has to be 3.5 bar. Where carbonation was artificially added to the wine, this has to be declared on the label. German Sekt is aged for a minimum of 9 months. Quality sparkling wines may not contain more than 185 mg sulphuric acid per 100 ml. The label of German Sekt has to state an official identification number. It may show the grape variety, year of harvest and area of origin, if the proportion of these grapes is at least 75 %. It may also show the term Flaschengärung (bottle fermentation), if the Sekt was stored on the yeast for at least 6 months.
Deutscher Qualitätsschaumwein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (b.A.), or German quality sparkling wine from specific areas, has to be produced from 100 % wines from one of the 13 German wine growing areas.
Sekt made in Germany is mostly produced by the Charmat method. Riesling wines are often used and well suited for the production of Sekt. The last dosage defines the taste of the Sekt. It is regulated by German law and stipulates for example the amount of sugar that may be added for Sekts that are extra brut (extra dry), brut (dry), and mild (sweet). For Vintage Sekt 85 % of the wines used in production have to be from the stated year.