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Wine Grape Varietals 101


What is Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a white grape that produces its most famous aromatic expressions in the Alsace region of France. Although Gewürztraminer is technically a white grape, the berries are deeply pink-hued on the vine and the resulting juice is often rich gold, owing to their highly pigmented skin and juice.

This early-budding grape is extremely susceptible to frost and prefers dry, warm summers. In warm climates, it loses its acidity and the resulting wines can be unbalanced, with too much sugar overtaking the wines.

Gewürztraminer vines are also easily felled by disease and dislike chalky soils, which makes them suitable for very particular microclimates. Crop-thinning and vineyard management are necessary with this grape that is considered by winemakers to be among the more fickle.

Another problem often encountered with Gewürztraminer is yield. The grape has been known to present a challenge in this area, and a failure to thin the crop often leads to diluted flavors that do not adequately reflect the grapes’ unique and complex flavors

A highly aromatic grape with a particularly strong flavor profile, Gewürztraminer is often identified by lychee and stone-fruit aromas and flavors. Rose, passion fruit and white and pink flowers are also often present on the nose and palate.


While the grape’s name is German for “perfumed Traminer,” the grape is related to Termainer of northern Italy and Savagnin Blanc of the Jura in France. In Alsace, Gewurztraminer (spelled here without the German umlaut) is the second most-planted grape variety. Stylistically, this grape can be vinified dry or sweet. Because the grape is naturally high in sugar, it is often used in the production of the region’s notable vendage tardive (late harvest) and Sélection de Grains Nobles sweet wines.


While the grape’s origins are rooted in France, Gewürztraminer has found a second home in the winegrowing regions of Germany, particularly in Pfalz, Rheinhessen and Baden. Due to the grape’s yellow-reddish color, it is also commonly known as Roter (red) or Gelber (yellow) Traminer. German Gewürztraminer is often produced in a high-quality, dry style, although sweeter versions do exist as well.

North America

While the grape is still coming into its own in the United States, it has had some success in areas like Sonoma, California, the Snake River region of Idaho, Michigan, as well as Long Island and the Finger Lakes regions of New York. Canadian winemakers have had some success with the grape on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, on the Niagara Peninsula, and elsewhere.

Global Production

In addition to Alsace, this grape variety is widespread in Europe. Gewürztraminer is grown in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Luxembourg and Turkey. The grape also grows in the Golan Heights in the Middle East.

In the New World, the grape has success in cool-climate New Zealand, as well as the Mendoza region of Argentina and the southern reaches of Chile. In Australia, Gewürztraminer is grown in some of the cooler winegrowing regions of the country, like Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, Yarra Valley and Tasmania.


Auvernas Rouge, Blanc Brun, Blanc Court, Bon Blanc, Christkindeltraube, Christkindlestraube, Clevener, Clevner, Crevena Ruziva, Crovena Ruzica, Dišeči Traminec, Dreimaenner, Dreimannen, Dreipfennigholz, Drumin, Drumin Ljbora, Duret Rouge, Edeltraube, Fermentin Rouge, Fleischroth, Fleischweiner, Formentin Rouge, Fourmenteau Rouge, Frencher, Fromente, Fromenteau, Fűszeres, Fűszeres Tramini, Gentil Rose Aromatique, Gentil-Duret Rouge, Gentile Rlanc, Gertie, Gewuerztraminer, Gringet, Gris Rouge, Haiden, Kirmizi Traminer, Klaebinger, Klaevner, Kleinbraun, Kleinwiener, Livora, Livora Cervena, Mala Dinka, Marzimmer, Mirisavi Traminac, Nature, Nature Rose, Noble Rose, Nuernberger Rot, Pinat Cervena, Piros Tramini, Plant Paien, Princ Cerveny, Princt Cervena, Princt Cerveny, Ranfoliza, Rosentraminer, Rotclevner, Rotedel, Roter Nuerberger, Roter Nuernberger, Roter Traminer, Rotfranken, Rothklauser, Rothweiner, Rothwiener, Rotklaevler, Rotklaevner, Rotklevner, Rousselet, Runziva, Rusa, Ruska, Ryvola, Salvagnin, Sauvagnin, Savagnin, Savagnin Jaune, Savagnin Rosa Aromatique, Savagnin Rose, Savagnin Rose Aromatique, Savagnin Rose Musque, St. Klauser, Termeno Aromatico, Tramin Korenny, Traminac, Traminac Crveni, Traminac Dišeći, Traminac Mirisavi, Traminac Mirisavi Crveni, Traminac Sivi, Traminec, Traminer, Traminer Aromatico, Traminer Epice, Traminer Musque, Traminer Parfume, Traminer Rosa, Traminer Rose Aromatique, Traminer Rot, Traminer Rozovyi, Tramini Piros, Trammener

Gewürztraminer grapes are found in sparkling, white, and dessert wines.

Structural Characteristics

Low Medium High
Alcohol levels
Low Medium High
Low Medium High
Tannin Structure
Low Medium High

Examples of Gewürztraminer to Try

Handling Tips

38-45°F / 3-7°C
1-5 years