The Grand Cru system in Alsace was introduced in 1983, with the first 25 vineyards classified at that time. It denotes a wine from a single named vineyard site, from a single vintage, and from one of the four permitted varieties: Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer or Pinot Gris.
The maximum permitted yields are distinctively lower than for those of the basic appellation Alsace, (70 hectoliters per hectare versus 55 hectoliters per hectare). Wines undergo an official technical analysis and certification before release.
The system currently recognises 50 Grand Cru sites. Certain vineyards have always enjoyed an undeniable reputation for the high quality of their wines, thanks to the unique combination of soil, topography and the aspect of their site. The Grand Cru system encompasses the following:
Bas-Rhin: Altenberg de Bergbieten, Bruderthal, Engelberg Frankstein, Kastelberg, Kirchberg de Barr , Moenchberg, Muenchberg (fantastic Riesling and Pinot Gris from André Ostertag), Praelatenberg, Steinklotz, Winzenberg
Haut-Rhin: Brand (Turckheim, 57.95 hectares) is one of the most acclaimed Grands Crus, with top wines, particularly Gewürztraminer, from Zind-Humbrecht. In Goldert, Zind-Humbrecht is amongst the top growers, showcasing superb Muscats, while Hengst also features classy wines from Zind-Humbrecht. At Rangen, Zind-Humbrecht coaxes superb wines from this well-known Grand Cru site
As well as: Altenberg de Bergheim, Altenberg de Wolxheim, Eichberg, Florimont, Froehn, Furstentum, Geisberg, Gloeckelberg, Hatschbourg, Kanzlerberg, Kessler (excellent Gewürztraminer), Kirchberg de Ribeauvillé, Kitterlé, Mambourg, Mandelberg, Marckrain, Ollwiller, Osterberg, Pfersigberg Pfingstberg, Rosacker (on wine labels appears as lieux-dit Clos Sainte Hune, owned by Trimbach), Saering (famed for its Rieslings), Schlossberg, Schoenenberg, Sommerberg, Sonnenglanz, Spiegel, Sporen, Steinert, Steingrubler, Vorbourg, Wiebelsberg, Wineck-Schlossberg, Zinnkoepflé, Zotzenberg.