Gewürztraminer: A Dance of Aromas and Flavours

Welcome to the world of Gewürztraminer, a white grape variety known for its aromatic prowess and exotic flavour profile. The wines produced from Gewürztraminer often deliver a flamboyant bouquet and a rich palate, offering an engaging, sensory wine-drinking experience unlike any other.

A Brief History

Gewürztraminer’s origins can be traced back to the Alto Adige region in what is now Northern Italy, and the grape is a variant of Traminer, an ancient green-skinned variety. The name “Gewürztraminer” translates as “spicy Traminer,” referencing its aromatic characteristics. While the grape has been cultivated in Europe for centuries, it found notable success in the Alsace region of France, which today is home to some of the world’s most celebrated Gewürztraminer wines.


Gewürztraminer is a pink-skinned grape variety that produces full-bodied white wines. The grape prefers cooler climates where it can ripen slowly, maintaining its vibrant acidity. Gewürztraminer is known for its low yield, making it a labor of love for many vineyard owners. The wines are often recognizable by their deep golden hue and intensely aromatic nose.

Flavour Profile

The flavour profile of Gewürztraminer is a captivating dance of the senses. Dominant aromas and flavors often include lychee, rose petals, ginger, exotic spices, and a hint of sweetness. Depending on the terroir and winemaking techniques, the wines can exhibit notes of citrus, honey, smoke, and a rich, oily texture. Gewürztraminer wines are usually off-dry to medium sweet, with a characteristic slightly bitter finish.

Different Styles of Wine

Gewürztraminer wines can range from dry to sweet, with the sweetness level often dependent on the winemaking region and style. Dry Gewürztraminer wines, such as those from cooler parts of Alsace or Germany, maintain a balance between the grape’s natural sugars and acidity. In contrast, late harvest or dessert style Gewürztraminer wines, often produced in warmer regions or specific vintages, highlight the grape’s potential for rich, intensely sweet wines.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

Winemaking techniques with Gewürztraminer often focus on emphasizing the grape’s natural aromatics and flavors. Fermentation is typically carried out at cooler temperatures in stainless steel tanks to preserve the variety’s exotic fruit characteristics. While not common, some winemakers use oak aging to add complexity and structure to the wines. In certain regions, late harvest or noble rot-infected grapes are used to produce incredibly rich, sweet dessert wines.

Important Regions

While the origins of Gewürztraminer lie in Italy, it’s in France’s Alsace region where the grape truly shines. The cool climate and diverse soils of Alsace produce Gewürztraminer wines that strike a balance between aromatic intensity, complexity, and acidity. Other notable regions include Germany’s Pfalz and Baden, Northern Italy’s Alto Adige, and parts of New Zealand and North America, including California and the Finger Lakes region in New York.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Gewürztraminer’s bold flavours and aromas make it a versatile partner for a range of dishes. Its affinity for spicy and aromatic cuisines, such as Indian, Thai, and Moroccan, is well noted. The wine’s floral and spicy character also pairs wonderfully with rich, creamy cheeses, pate, and dishes featuring smoked or cured meats.

Stepping into the world of Gewürztraminer is to embark on a delightful sensory adventure. The captivating aromas, complex flavours, and the grape’s ability to produce both dry and lusciously sweet wines offer a unique charm that can be both intriguing and enchanting. Whether it’s a bone-dry Alsatian bottle, a honeyed late-harvest treat, or a New World interpretation, Gewürztraminer always promises a distinctive and memorable tasting experience.

Take a quiz to test your knowledge

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

Wine Sections

Tasting and Enjoying Wine | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Tasting & Enjoying Wine

Understanding Wine Making | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Making

Understanding Wine Regions | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Regions

Understanding Grape Varieties | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Grape Varieties

Understanding Wine Labels | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Labels

The Wines of the World | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

The Wines of the World

Wine Trends & Technology | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Trends & Technology

Wine and Food Pairing | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

My Wine Adventures

Wine & Food Diary | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine Reviews | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Reviews

Wines To Look Out For