An example of AP Number

Every bottle of German quality wine, whether QBA or QMP, has the AP Number (or ‘Amtliche Prüfungsnummer’ in German). This 10-to-12-digit number indicates that the wine has passed the famous Germany’s official testing procedure, which includes submitting wine samples for analysis and a blind tasting test in which the wine is checked for flaws by a rotating panel of fellow winemakers and other tasters. The test is far from rigorous; the pass rate is well above 90%.

The purpose behing the AP Number

A given German winemaker can sometimes produce several wines in the same category (let say for instance that he produces 3 different Kabinett and 2 Auslese). There may be some important variances of quality accross wines from the same category. As a result, it can really be misleading for the customer.

This is the reason for the introduction of the AP Number. It enables the client (and everyone else) to find the exact same wine from a specific producer, without regard for marketing words or labeling ambiguity.

The first 2 digits

The first digit indicates which of Germany’s testing stations awarded for the AP Number:

  • 1 = Koblenz (Mosel)
  • 2 = Bernkastel (Mosel)
  • 3 = Trier (Mosel)
  • 4 = Alzey (Rheinhessen)
  • 5 = Neustadt (Pfalz)
  • 6 & 7 = Bad Kreuznach (Nahe)

The following code (usually 6 digits)

The next code serves to indicate the location of the vineyard

The next 2 digits

The penultimate pair of digit is the bottler’s own code, which supplies a unique identification of the particular lot. If a vintner has bottled two or more wines of otherwise identical labelling (same site, Prädikat, and degrees of dryness) this number is often used to distinguish them.

The last 2 digits

The final two digits signify the year in which the wine was tested.

Be careful regarding the last two digits given that some vintages of a given producer can be tested several years after the harvest.

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