Nowadays the people of the Moselle Valley are grateful that their Roman conquerors 2000 years ago brought with them grapes and the knowledge of how to cultivate them. The hub of this wine-growing region is Trier, one of Germany’s oldest cities
In Imperial Roman times, Trier was the largest city north of the Alps. The Porta Nigra, an imposing gate of darkened sandstone and an emblem of the city, testifies to that. One exhibit in Trier’s Rhenish State Museum is the tombstone of a Roman wine merchant that bears a relief of a Roman ship carrying wine barrels on the river, a clear sign of how popular Moselle wine was even back then.
Now the Riesling grapes in the vineyards on the steep slopes above the river produce top quality wines. Before the term "terroir” became fashionable, wine growers here knew how valuable climate, location and the slate soil were to the quality of their wines. The soil's mineral components vary from vineyard to vineyard, so the Moselle wine tastes slightly different in every wine-growing village in the region. Boat tours through the romantic Moselle Valley, including one on a replica of an ancient Roman craft, also offer wine tastings.