In Germany it is the common practice to harvest grapes at various stages of ripeness. This practice has given rise to a system of rating German wines based on their ripeness. Qualitätswein can be made from either ripe, very ripe or overripe grapes and is divided into 2 categories: Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) and Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP).
Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) – this category encompasses the largest number of German wines. These wines come from eleven specified winegrowing regions. All wines carrying this rating are produced from grape varieties that have been approved and which have reached levels of ripeness that allow the wines made from them to reach a certain traditional level of taste and style. These wines tend to light, fresh and fruity and are produced to be consumed while in their youth.
Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP – quality wine with special distinction, or attributes) is the highest quality wine produced in Germany. Wines having this rating carry one of six special attributes (Prädikat) on its label: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese (BA), Eiswein, Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA).