Landmarks of wine culture

As its famous monasteries, deep cellars, old vineyard sites and countless stories testify, Germany's great tradition of winemaking started with the ancient Romans. Discover treasures such as the oldest wine in the world, Götz von Berlichingen's vineyard, the world's biggest wine barrel and many more highlights of wine culture.
Heidelberg Castle's four great barrels

Crowds flock to see the gigantic wine barrel at Heidelberg Castle . Four such vats were made between 1591 and 1751, but only the last can still be seen. Following a visit to Heidelberg, Anton Praetorius, a German theologian and opponent of witch hunts, praised one of the four barrels. The oldest was known as the Johann Casimir barrel and it could hold 127,000 litres of wine.

Hoflössnitz: sachsenkeule bottles and wine festivals

Hoflössnitz wine estate is truly the cradle of wine culture in Saxony. The Saxon Electors used to celebrate the wine harvest here and it is where the sachsenkeule, the elegant, skittle-shaped bottle typically used in the region, was invented. Not to mention the fact that wine has been made here for 600 years!

Holy Spirit Viniculture Museum, Meersburg

The museum takes its name from the Holy Spirit wine press it houses. It was established in Meersburg's former Holy Spirit Hospital in 1961. There is documentary evidence that wine has been made in Meersburg since 1324. Nowadays, around 120 hectares are under vine and about a million bottles of wine are produced. The region lies up to 500 metres above sea level, but its mild climate influenced by the lake makes grape-growing possible.

Hornberg Castle: ancient wine estate

Götz von Berlichingen, the legendary Franconian knight with an iron hand, lived at Hornberg Castle near Neckarzimmern for 45 years. He became famous for his battles in the Swabian Peasants' War but also made wine at his castle which was so successful that his Neckar wine found buyers as far away as the imperial court in Vienna.

Iphofen vinothek: a beautiful showcase for fine wines

The ensemble of buildings at the centre of the Franconian wine village of Iphofen offers an exciting combination of traditional and modern architecture. As well as rooms for showcasing wines, the vinothek is also home to the tourist information office, a gallery for temporary exhibitions, meeting rooms and a vaulted cellar. There is also a wine bistro and farm shop.

Jean Stodden: a window into the world of winemaking

The history of the Jean Stodden wine estate goes back to 1578 when the family first began cultivating grapes in the Ahr valley. The estate strikes a perfect balance between preserving traditions and being open to new ideas. This is particularly reflected in the architecture of the old storehouse that now serves as a prestigious vinothek with rooms for wine tasting and sales.

Juliusspital wine estate: home of the bocksbeutel bottle

What could be the oldest depiction of a modern bocksbeutel bottle can be found in a relief on the Juliusspital hospice's foundation stone. A bulbous bottle can be seen between the visitors' feet. It may well contain medicine, but it is regarded as the oldest evidence of the use of this type of bottle in the modern age.

Kessler in Esslingen: the oldest German sekt winery

Georg Christian von Kessler founded Germany's first sekt winery in Esslingen on the river Neckar on 1 July 1826 after learning how to make sparkling wine at the Veuve Cliquot estate in the Champagne region. In the first ten years, Kessler sold around half a million bottles.

Kreutzenberger wine estate: wine meets Bauhaus

It may be unusual for a wine estate to look like a classical modernist building, but that is exactly the case in Kindenheim in the Palatinate region. The Kreutzenberger family estate was built in 1929 in the then avant-garde Bauhaus style. Despite its modernist look, this small family winery sets great store by traditional values and grows its grapes in prime locations in Kindenheim, Bockenheim and Wachenheim.

Kupferberg visitor centre in Mainz: sparkling sekt

The production of sparkling wine has a long tradition in Mainz . Sixty cellars across seven underground levels belonging to the former Kupferberg sekt winery in the Kästrich area of Mainz form the deepest sparkling-wine cellar in the world. Artefacts dating back 2,000 years were unearthed during works in the Kupferberg cellars.

Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück, Worms

Worms has been a wine-making town since the Romans came to the Rhine. In the Middle Ages, the 'Song of the Nibelungs' praised the good wine at the royal Burgundian court in Worms. In the centuries that followed, all of Worms' spiritual and secular leaders developed a liking for these wines, a taste that spread far beyond the region. Wines made from the grapes grown on the Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück estate are particularly well known.

Lorsch Abbey: archive of wine-making

Lorsch Abbey in the Hessische Bergstrasse region has probably done more to preserve the history of wine-making than anywhere else in Germany. Countless places in Baden , Franconia and Rheinhessen are able to trace their viticultural history back to the early Middle Ages because of Lorsch Abbey , which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site .

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