Sparkling Wines - Germany
In Germany, the term “Sekt” is used to refer to sparkling wine. Most Sekt is produced using the closed tank method, but a small percentage is made using the traditional method. It is important to note that cheap carbonated wines are not considered Sekt, but “Schaumwein” in German, while sparkling wine is called “Perlwein”.
90% of Sekt is made using imported wines from Italy, Spain, and France. However, “Deutscher Sekt” is exclusively made with German grapes, and “Sekt bA” is produced only with grapes grown in one of the 13 quality wine regions of Germany, similar to “Qualitätswein bA”.
The best sparkling wines are made with Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir, and are often consumed locally instead of being exported. These sparkling wines are labeled with the name of the vineyards and the village where the grapes come from. “Winzersekt”, also known as “winemaker’s sekt”, is a premium Sekt bA produced in small quantities by vineyard owners, rather than large Sekt producing companies that buy grapes or base wine on a large scale for production. In Austria, the term “Hauersekt” is used to refer to this type of sparkling wine.
In 1826, Georg Christian Kessler founded GC Kessler & Co. in Esslingen am Neckar, which started the production of sparkling wine in Germany. During the 19th century, German producers used various terms to refer to their sparkling wines, but the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 prohibited Germany from using the name “Champagne”. The term “Sekt” became the common term for sparkling wine in German in the 1890s.
Germany attempted to limit the use of the term “Sekt” to sparkling wines produced in countries where German is the official language, but this was overturned by the European Court of Justice in 1975. A court ruling in the 1970s removed exclusive rights of large producers over Sekt production, allowing wine cooperatives and individual growers to create and market their own sparkling wines.
When serving Sekt, it is customary to provide a metal corkscrew capable of withstanding the high pressure of CO2. In addition, since 2005, there has been a tax on Schaumwein, which amounts to 136 euros per hectolitre, or 1.02 euros per 0.75 litre bottle. Germans may also refer to foreign wines similar to Sekt, such as Krimsekt from Crimea (which is often red), as Sekt.