Elbling is a variety of white grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

 (sp. Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran....

) which today is primarily grown in the upstream parts of the Mosel region in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and in Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, the vineyards of which are also located along Moselle River
Moselle River
The Moselle is a river flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine, joining the Rhine at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is also drained by the Mosel through the Our....

. The variety has a long history, and used to cover much of Germany's vineyards from medieval times and was that country's most cultivated variety until the early 20th century, but has been in decline ever since. As of 2006, there were 583 hectares (1,440.6 acre) of Elbling vineyards in Germany, which made it the country's 23rd most grown variety of grape. Of that vineyard surface, 575 ha or 98.6% was found in the Mosel region In the same year, there were 122.9 hectares (303.7 acre) of Elbling grown in Luxembourg.

History and origin

It has been speculated that Elbling was grown along Mosel already in Roman times, and that it could even be identical to the Vitis albuelis described by Lucius Columella in his De re rustica and the Vitis alba described by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, although this has by no means been proven. Both Latin names mean "the white grape" and would then have been corrupted to Elbling at some later stage. DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 profiling has indicated that Elbling is an offspring of Gouais blanc
Gouais Blanc
Gouais Blanc or Weißer Heunisch is a white grape variety that is seldom grown today but is important as the ancestor of many traditional French and German grape varieties. The name Gouais derives from the old French adjective ‘gou’, a term of derision befitting its traditional status as the grape...

 (also known as Heunisch) and a cross between Traminer and some unidentified variety. This parentage is consistent with Elbling being an ancient grape variety, and incidentally, it is the same parentage as for Riesling
Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally...

. This parentage and history makes it likely that Elbling originated somewhere in the Rhine area.


Elbling tends to give musts low in sugar, and wines high in acid and fairly neutral in character, which makes it primarily used for sparkling wine
Sparkling wine
Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved , or as a result of carbon dioxide...

, such as non-varietally labelled Mosel Sekt. When made into varietal still wine, it gives a wine which has been compared to a lighter and more tart version of Silvaner
Sylvaner or Silvaner is a variety of white wine grape grown primarily in Alsace and Germany, where its official name is Grüner Silvaner. In Germany it is best known as a component of Liebfraumilch and production boomed in the 1970s to the detriment of quality, but it has long enjoyed a better...

. Varietal Elbling wine is most commonly found in Luxembourg.


Elbling is known under the following synonyms: Albana, Albe, Alben, Albig, Albuelin, Albuelis, Allemand, Allemand Blanc, Alsacien, Alva, Argentin, Biela Zrebnina, Bielovacka, Bielovcka, Blesec, Blesez, Bourgeois, Burgauer, Burgeger, Burgegger, Burger, Burger Elbling, Burgundertraube Gruen, Burgyre, Dickelbling, Elbai Feher, Elbe, Elbele, Elben, Elben Feher, Elber, Elbling Weiss, Elbinger, Elmene, Facum, Facun, Facun Blanc, Farantbily, Faucun, Frankenthal Blanc, Gemeine Traube, Geschlachter Burger, Gonais Blanc, Gouais Blanc, Grobburger, Grobe, Grobriesling, Gros Blanc, Grossriesler, Grossriesling, Hartalbe, Haussard, Herblink, Heunisch Gruen, Isodora Brachybus, Klaemmer, Kleinbeer, Kleinbeere, Kleinberger, Klember, Klemmer, Klemplich, Kratkopeccelj, Kristaller, Kristeller, Kurzstingel, Kurzstingl, Kurzstingler, Le Gros, Luttenbershna, Marmont Vert, Marmot, Mehlweisse, Morawka, Mouillet, Naesslinger, Nuernberger Zaeh, Nuesslinger, Pecek, Pezhech, Pezhek, Plant Commun, Plant Madame, Raifrench, Rauhelbene, Reinfransch, Rheinalben, Rheinelbe, Seretonina, Silberweiss, Silvaner Weiss, Spizelbe, Srebonina, Suessgrober, Suessgrobes, Sussgrober, Tarant Bily, Tarant De Boheme, Verdin Blanc, Vert Blanc, Vert Doux, Weissalbe, Weisselben, Weisselbling, Weisser Dickelbling, Weisser Elbling, Weisser Sylvaner, Welsche, Welschel.
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