German Wine: Measurement and Evaluation of Product Quality
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German wine is classified according to legally binding standards that are measurable and verifiable , because any appraisal of sensory wine quality is based on subjective impressions. This notion of "quality" is outlined in wine laws and regulations. The EU wine law assigns general conditions that apply to all wine-producing member states, but takes common interests as well as national differences into account. For example, the vineyard areas in the EU are divided into climatic zones to help compensate for the climatic variations that influence wine production. Similarly, the EU wine law defines quality categories that enable legally equivalent comparisons among member states. However, each member state is permitted to determine the criteria and method of assessment necessary to meet local (and EU) quality standards. In other countries, wine quality is closely tied to origin; i.e. the system is based on given conditions. Quality standards vary considerably, depending on appellation of origin, and the qualitative assessment is usually determined by regional wine trade organizations. However, in Germany quality is confirmed or denied by official testing. The quality in the glass rather than the origin counts. The standards are largely uniform and the assessment is determined through quality control testing. Regulations governing quality categories and testing are important components of the German wine law.