Hock (wine)

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Hock is a British term for German white wine; sometimes it refers to white wine from the Rhine region (specifically Riesling) and sometimes to all German white wine.[1] The word hock is short for the obsolete word hockamore, an alteration of "Hochheimer", derived from the name of the town of Hochheim am Main in Germany.

The term seems to have been in use in the 17th century, initially for white wines (predominantly Riesling) from the Rheingau, but in the 18th century it came to be used for any German white wine sold in Britain to convey some of the then very high prestige of Rheingau wine to (often much) lesser German wines.[1]

It seems probable that Queen Victoria's visit to Hochheim (in Rheingau) and its vineyards during harvest time in 1850 contributed to the continued use of the term. By then, these Rheingau wines commanded high prices, on par with—and sometimes higher than—the best wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy,[2] matching and sometimes exceeding them in prestige.

There are many vineyards associated with Hocks, such as Hochheimer, Rüdesheimer, Marcobrunner and Johannisberger.[3][2]

Modern usage[edit]

Today hock is occasionally seen on bottles of (mostly cheaper) white wine sold in the United Kingdom. In Australia, hock is still known as the main ingredient of an old-fashioned summer drink called "hock, lime, and lemon".

The traditional British sweets Wine Gums are stamped with the names of various wines, and this often includes "Hock". Despite the names stamped on the sweets, they are all fruit rather than wine flavour, and contain no alcohol.[4]

H. G. Wells refers to "good hock" in A Modern Utopia, Chapter 6, Section 1. George Orwell writes in Homage to Catalonia Ch. XII in 1938 that "It has four crenellated spires exactly the shape of hock bottles", referring to Sagrada Família.


  1. ^ a b "Oxford Companion to Wine: Hock". winepros.com.au. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b "DAILY MENU [held by] BATTLE HOUSE [at] "MOBILE, AL." (HOTEL)". nypl.org. New York Public Library.
  3. ^ "DAILY MENU [held by] AMERICAN HOUSE [at] "BOSTON, MA" (HOTEL)". nypl.org. New York Public Library.
  4. ^ Cloake, Felicity (20 Oct 2010). "The curse of the Blue Nun". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-03-02. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)