Definition - What does Dornfelder mean?

Dornfelder is a red-grape variety originating from Germany, bred by August Harold in 1955. The darker-skinned variety was a contrast to other locally-grown red grapes, making it the first red wine of Germany internationally excepted.

It is easier to grow compared with the local Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), has a better resistance to rot than Blauer Portugieser, stronger stalk than Trollinger and earlier maturity than Lemberger. It is also preferred because of higher must weights.

WineFrog explains Dornfelder

The Dornfelder grape was a new breed of red grape for Germany. While most red wines made from the current available red varieties made pale-colored wines, the Dornfelder had the structure to create wines with deeper color and character. For red wines, Germany could finally get on the international market.

It was originally created as a blending grape to add color to the paler wines. But by the 70s, cultivation of Dornfelder rapidly increased and it became more of a single-varietal wine.

Today it can be found growing in the Rheinhessen and Palatinate regions, but it is also found in Switzerland, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Canada, Vancouver Island and the British Columbia wine region.

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