Festivals and Wineries Nestled in
and around Six Historic Wine Cities
Over 2,000 years ago, the Romans identified the mineral rich terrain and the climate in Germany and they laid the foundations of the vineyards that nowadays cover more than 100,000 hectares. Winding rivers, steep hillsides and medieval castle ruins characterize the various regions and their wine tow.
At the tip of the southern Black Forest in Germany’s southernmost wine region of Baden, Freiburg offers a taste of the academic pace of life in one of Germany’s oldest university tow. It is reachable from Frankfurt by high-speed rail to Stuttgart and then with the local Black Forest Bahn that offers beautiful views over the Black Forest hills and villages. A day of local lifestyle is characterized by spending time at the open air farmers market with all of the products from the local farmers and craftspeople and then enjoying a wine in the Weinhaus Alte Wache with a view of all the market place activities. The Landmann winery is particularly notable for its biological wines and the local wine festival in July is a particularly festive time. In November Freiburg will host the Plaza Culinaria, a culinary trade fair with many local products from Freiburg’s partner cities.
Nestled between two of Germany’s most famous wine regions, the Moselle and the Rhine where the two rivers come together, Koblenz opened a new winery at Fortress Ehrenbreitstein which boasts not only wines from the region but also offers a history of the 2,000 years of wine making in Rhineland Pfalz. Koblenz has long been a stop for wine lovers however. The well-known brand of Deinhard offers tastings of sparkling wine right in the middle of the old city and a special wine cellar and bar can be found not far away: Gerhards Genussgesellschaft.
Deep in the Rhineland but still only a half hour from Frankfurt, Mainz is known as the Great Wine Capital as it is the only German wine city belonging to this worldwide network. Here, it is ever so easy to while away a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in Mainz’s Wine market at the cathedral square. Local farmers bring in an endless stream of regional and seasonal foods and wines that people can try as well as buy. It is a personable and relaxed atmosphere with locals and guests – a perfect way to get a taste of the local goings-on. One particularly sweet time is the end of August and the beginning of September when the Mainz Wine Festival takes place. You can wend you way from stand to stand trying different wine and enjoy music and peruse the crafts for sale. Two tips: The new Hofgut Laubenheimer Hoehe along with the German Wine Institute created a Riesling lounge where Rieslings from each of Germany’s 13 wine producing regions are for sale. An especially enjoyable stop is the Zum Beichtstuhl.
In the middle of Germany’s oldest wine territory close to the steeps banks of the Moselle River and famous for its Roman gate and walls, Trier is where the Romans first brought their roots to plant in Germany. The oldest winery in Germany is theVereinigte Hospitien and in the buildings of the winery you can still see the original Roman walls of the storehouse.
The wine producer, the Bischoefliche Weingueter, can be found at 1.6 kilometers underground in the center of Trier – most tourists don’t realize as they are pattering along the walking zone in the central city of Trier, that a famous wine cellar lies beneath them. The Bar Weinsinnig is where you can get a sense of the region’s great variety as the list of wines offered changes daily.
In the elegant and relaxed spa town of Wiesbaden, the Rheingau Wine Weekin August kicks off a wonderful celebration smack dab in the middle of town on the Castle Square in Wiesbaden. Known for its ornate and elaborate casino, beautiful spa buildings and hotels, elegant streets and antique galleries, Wiesbaden is a prime starting point to explore the Rheingau. The State Winery of Hessen in Eberbach, the former Cistercian monastery responsible for producing wines is one such example, and it is definitely worthwhile to take the tour and a tasting at Henkell, the famous producer of sparkling wine.
On the other side of Frankfurt is the baroque city of Wuerzburg in the heart of Franconian wine region where wine is bottled only in the famous bulbous bottles, called Bocksbeutel. The wines of Franconia are outstanding and one great place to enjoy them is in Wuerzburg’s Residenz (Residence). The wine cellar recently won an architectural prize for its renovation. Another tip for excellent wine and lovers of architecture, at least the setting is unusual, is the Weingut am Stein.