Course: Understanding Professional Wine Sales and Service

Class 5: Old World Model: France


Alsace has alternated between German and French control for hundreds of years. It has been French territory since World War II, but the wines are in some ways closer to those of Germany than those of France.

Like German wines, Alsatian wines are labeled with the grape variety and the region, and are bottled in the familiar tall, thin profile of German bottles.

Two of the most important varieties, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, are German in origin, but the wines themselves are quite different; the Alsace varietals are fuller-bodied.


Climate and Geography

Alsace lies in the northeastern corner of France, separated from Germany by the Rhine River.

The vineyards stretch from Strasbourg south to Mulhouse, along the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mountains. The Vosges protect the...

Ready to enroll? First, you must register for a membership to Your membership benefits include:

FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School

Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes

FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are

E-newsletters with advance ratings

Editors’ blogs

Food and wine matching tool

And much more

Log In If You're Already a Member

Please log in using your email address and password for Wine Spectator School students who enrolled before 7.4.10, log in with your email address and school password or get more info here.

Forgot Password?

By clicking "Log in" you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Wine Spectator Online

Read our FAQ for more information

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences