The northernmost wine-producing country in Europe, Germany’s cool climates are mostly suitable for white grapes. The best vineyards are situated along rivers such as the Rhine and the Mosel, which temper the extremes of weather and help the grapes ripen. German wines are named after the places they come from, usually a combination of a village name, a vineyard name, and a grape name. German law makes no distinctions of quality between vineyards. As a result, many wines are mass-produced. Look for the classification QbA or QmP to assure that the grower is reputable. The finest wines are given a Prädikat, which is an indication of the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. There are six levels of Prädikat; in order from the least ripe to the ripest they are Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese (BA) Eiswein, and Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). At the three highest levels, the amount of sugar in the grapes is so high that the wines are inevitably sweet, but since Prädikat is an indication of the amount of sugar in the grape at harvest (and not in the wine) the lower levels of Prädikat offer no direct hint about the wine’s sweetness.