These are usually uncomplicated wines for everyday drinking - easy on the palate, youthful, light, and refreshing. The varietal was named after Professor Hermann Müller (1850-1927) from the Swiss canton Thurgau, who bred it at the research institute in Geisenheim in 1882.
Müller-Thurgau played a leading position in the German wine industry in the 1980s and most of the 1990s, but was supplanted by Riesling shortly before 2000. Nevertheless, it still accounts for a respectable 13.3% of Germany's vineyard area, or 13,550 hectacres, not least because of its versatility and its appeal even to wine novices. It is not terribly demanding with regard to site and yields are consistently reliable. The shift to young, light, refreshing and dry Müller-Thurgau wines labeled under the synonym, Rivaner, has been a marketing success with ambitious restaurateurs.