Dr Hermann Müller's 1882 crossing of Riesling with a table grape called Madeleine Royale played an important part in allowing the reputation of German wine to plummet. Taken up with enthusiasm by German growers after the Second World War, the vine has the practical advantages (in the cool German climate) of ripening extremely early, before the arrival of autumn rain in most years, and (unlike Riesling and Silvaner) yielding reliably on almost any site. The disadvantage is that the wine, especially if produced from high yields, has so little character and can be dangerously short of acid.

It is almost invariably the major ingredient in Liebfraumilch and Germany's other cheap QbA blends. The more recent crossings Ehrenfelser, Faber, Kerner and well-ripened Scheurebe can produce much racier wine but by the late 20th century Müller-Thurgau, Germany's most popular grape variety for much of the 1970s and 1980s, was definitively in decline in favour of Riesling and Spätburgunder. Strangely, the variety seems to have a much higher strike rate outside Germany (although in Austria, where it is widely planted, it rarely achieves anything like as much interest as the native Grüner Veltliner). Some of Washington’s Müller-Thurgau, as well as Slovenia and Luxembourg's Rivaner, and New Zealand and Switzerland's rather naughtily-labelled Riesling-Sylvaner, and even Rizlingszilvani in Hungary, can demonstrate aroma and crispness, and some of the better producers of Alto Adige and Friuli (most notably Pojer & Sandri) can make really rather exciting, even sought-after, wine from it. The variety was also grown quite widely in England.