Discovering the Mosellan terroir of Luxembourg

As in many European countries, the cultivation of the vine in Luxembourg began before Roman times. And until the 18th century, it was primarily red wine that was produced there. Moreover, at that time, the wine-growing area was not limited to the Moselle region but extended throughout the country. It is for this reason that many little places called "Wangert" or "in den Wangerten" still exist today in Vianden, Wiltz, Diekirch, Ettelbrück or Mersch, as in the south of the country. Even in Luxembourg-Ville, along the banks of the Alzette, we can still find terraces that host a few vines and were once used for growing grapes.

Over the seasons and climatic changes, viticulture then gradually settled in protected valleys, such as those of the Sûre and the Moselle, then more or less sheltered from climatic variations. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, although there were still vineyards from Mondorf to Echternach, the localities of the Sûre ceased all wine-growing activity. Today, there are only a few scattered plots in some of the localities around Rosport and most of the wine production now extends from Schengen to Wasserbillig.

Today's Wine Route

Now, the area dedicated to the cultivation of vines along the Moselle stretches over a length of 42km and a width of 300 to 400 meters. On this road which runs along the river, commonly called the Wäistrooss (or Wine road in English), more than half of the vineyards are located on hillsides with a slope of up to 40%. About 35% of the other vineyards are flat or on very shallow slopes. And finally, there is still a little less than 5% of vineyards installed on terraces. The best "lieux-dits" (small localities which since the creation of the cadastre designate a piece of land whose name recalls a topographical or historical peculiarity), face south and have an altitude of 150 to 200 meters.

In these countless plots of land, we cultivate vines made from grape varieties such as Riesling, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois, Pinot noir and Saint Laurent, for the production of quality wines. And it also produces many crémants and other specialties such as late harvest wines, ice wines and straw wines. Finally, it should also be noted that in recent years, the conversion of plots to Organic Farming has been progressing well.

AOP, guaranty of the quality of the terroir

And concerning the "lieux-dits", precisely. If Luxembourg vineyards and localities have always had names (either in popular language or in the administration's cadastre), these did not appear on the labels of wine bottles in the past. Indeed, during the very first wine markets, we could read names such as "1921 Schwebsinger", "1924 Remerscher" or "1924 Schengener". It was not until 1925 that this habit began to change and that in 1930, on the wine market of Grevenmacher, we finally found the name of the vineyards on most wines.

Subsequently, this practice will be kept and formalized by the Institut Viti-Vinicole (Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development) which, through the Protected Designation of Origin Moselle Luxembourgeoise (AOP-Moselle Luxembourgeoise), will define more stringent quality criteria, such as for example the indication of origin of a wine. Thus, by simply reading the label, the consumer is then able to identify very easily:

  • "vins de lieux-dits" (vins de terroir - local wines) constituting the top of the range of Luxembourg production. As such, Wä is the only wine player in Luxembourg to offer you the widest range of Luxembourg terroir wines in existence, well ahead of other more "famous" wine brands in the country.
  • "vins de coteaux" (typical quality wines) representing the Luxembourg mid-range. These are the classic wines of the Luxembourg Moselle.
  • and "vins de côtes", the entry level of national production.

Today, in the era of globalization, the indication of guaranteed origin is constantly gaining in importance and constitutes a real counterweight to the wines marketed without a precise origin, often technically consumable, but nevertheless very lacking in soul.

Will you look at Luxembourg wine labels differently now?

Vineyards of Machtum

On this map of the surroundings of Machtum, the "lieux-dits":

and the winegrower:

Vineyards of Remich / Stadtbredimus

On this map of the surroundings of Remich and Stadtbredimus, the "lieux-dits":

and the winegrowers:

Vineyards of Remerschen / Wintrange

On this map of the surroundings of Remerschen and Wintrange, the "lieux-dits":

and the winegrower:

Vineyards of Schengen

On this map of the surroundings of Schengen, the "lieux-dits":

and the winegrowers: