Village at Memleben in Saale-Unstrut- source Wikipedia

The Winegrowing Region of Saale-Unstrut in the Middle Ages

Numerous small springs and other water sources feed the rivers Saale and Unstrut before they confluence with the Elbe. Along these river valleys, the hilly countryside is still fit for winegrowing while the fertile flat land along the rivers offers excellent agricultural possibilities.

The Saale-Unstrut region lies in between the confluence of the rivers Saale and Unstrut in a hilly and steep countryside with a thousand-year-old tradition for winegrowing. This made it until recently, the northern-most winegrowing region in Germany.


Though it is believed wine was grown from the 7th century, the earliest exploitation of the steep hillsides for viticulture is documented for the 10thcentury. More precisely, a donation from )98 to the monastery in Memleben lists seven locations where vineyards were cultivated. Unfortunately, the hillsides with their terraces are not workable with heavy machinery, and in recent years the landscape is marred by abandoned vineyards and loss of biodiversity. Also, the traditional dry walls bordering the terraces have been left crumbling.

Although some sites – e. g. the Kathert Vineyard in Karsdorf – have been preserved as part of the regions cultural heritage, much has been lost. The traditional wine cabins, which housed the vineyard guards when the grapes were ripe, have also been lost.

Castles and Monasteries

Another natural feature, the abundant limestones and red sandstone provided building material for the Romanesque architecture, which continue to plays such a visible role in the landscape of the region.


The Saale-Unstrut cultural landscape corridor
By M. Hoppert, B. Bahn, E. Bergmeier, M. Deutsch, K. Epperlein, C. Hallmann, A. Müller, T. V. Platz, T. Reeh, H. Stück, W. Wedekind. Siegesmund
In: Environmental Earth Sciences, February 2018, 77:58


Natur Stein Kultur Wein: Zwischen Saale und Unstrut
By Siegfried Siegesmund Michael Hoppert and Klaus Epperlein (Ed).
Mitteldeutscher Verlag 2014