Elbling numbers among the oldest white varietals cultivated in Europe. Etymologists assume the name Elbling derives from the Latin albus, meaning white. The majority of historians feel that the Romans brought Elbling to Germany more than 2,000 years ago. In Germany today, Elbling is a specialty cultivated almost exclusively in the Mosel region. Particularly growers in the upper Mosel Valley point to a 2,000-year-old tradition of Elbling viticulture.
Statistically, there are about 560 hectacres of Elbling in Germany, or well under 1% of the country's overall vineyard area. Yet, in the Mosel, it accounts for about 6% of the region's vineyards, making it the third most important variety there.