The Bacchus is a white wine grape that was created by viticulturalist Peter Morio at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate in 1933. He crossed a Silvaner x Riesling cross with Müller-Thurgau. Bacchus received varietal protection and was released for general cultivation in 1972. Its name is taken from Roman name of the Greek wine god Dionysus.

Bacchus can reach high must weights, and has no high requirement for sites it can be planted. It can therefore be used where e.g. Riesling does not ripen reliably. It ripens early, about the same time as Müller-Thurgau, and has a similar high productivity as that variety.

Bacchus wines can have powerful flavours and character, which have even been described as "exuberant", but only if it is allowed to ripen fully. It is however low in acidity, which does not always make it very well suited for varietal wines under typical German growing conditions. Among the new breeds, it is considered to give less elegant wines than Kerner. Therefore, Bacchus is often used for blending into Müller-Thurgau, to give the latter more flavour. Within Germany, Franconia is considered as the source of some of the more successful varietal Bacchus wines.

Bacchus is also grown in England. Under British growing conditions, where the colder climate means that a higher acidity is retained and where only lower yields are possible, Bacchus can give varietal wines of reasonable quality, somewhat in a Sauvignon Blanc-like style.

German plantations peaked in the 1990 at around 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of which more than half were in Rheinhessen, where it was popular to use in QbA blends. Plantations have since decreased and in 2006 there were 2,113 hectares (5,220 acres) of Bacchus left in Germany or 2.1% of the total vineyard surface.


Grape Colour: White
Also called: Bacchus Weiss, Weisser Bacchus, Frühe Scheurebe, Geilweilerhof 33-29-133 and Gf. 33-29-133
Origin: Palatinate, Germany