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.
Abril wine estate: purist aesthetic and eco-friendly viniculture

The warm rust-coloured exterior of the Abril wine estate's new building contrasts strikingly with the verdant vineyards in the Baden town of Bischoffingen. Its two upper storeys nestle into the hillside at the foot of the Enselberg, a prime vineyard location in the Kaiserstuhl region. The estate is managed in an eco-friendly way without the use of synthetic or chemical substances, and this is reflected in the diverse varieties of wine produced here.

Bacharach, centre of the wine trade and home of Bacchus

This town takes its name from Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The name Bacharach is said to be derived from the Celtic word Baccaracum meaning 'farm of Bacchus' or from the Latin Bacchi ara or 'altar of Bacchus'. Wine heritage dominates the townscape and is reflected in the numerous old timber-framed houses around the market square.

Bad Sobernheim open-air museum: the history of wine brought to life

Nowhere is the history of wine growing from the Middle Ages to the present day illustrated so vividly as in the Bad Sobernheim open-air museum by the river Nahe . Established in the beautiful Nachtigallental valley in 1973, the museum occupies 35 hectares and attracts around 60,000 visitors a year, making it the biggest of its kind in Rhineland-Palatinate . The everyday life of vintners is brought to life in the buildings they lived and worked in, as well as in the museum's own vineyard.

Bopparder Hamm: the biggest Rhine loop

Bopparder Hamm, the name of the biggest loop in the river is also the largest single area under vine in the Middle Rhine. 'Hamm' is thought to derive from the Latin word hamus, which means something like 'hook' and alludes to the S-bend in the river Rhine. Around 600,000 litres of wine are produced here per year – almost all of it riesling.

Brennfleck wine estate: a historical winery with a state-of-the-art pressing room

A sense of tradition, a clear commitment to modern winemaking and loving attention to detail are the hallmarks of the wines and vineyard of Hugo and Susanne Brennfleck. The business, which has been in the family for 13 generations, has been managed by the couple from the Franconian wine village of Sulzfeld am Main since 1998. At the heart of the Brennfleck wine estate is a listed manor house dating from the late Middle Ages.

Bürgerspital estate and Würzburg Stein wine

The latter is the oldest named vineyard site and the former is Germany's oldest wine estate owned by a charitable foundation. Wine from the Stein vineyard has been made by the Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist winery for centuries, and the two places remain closely connected today. One of the oldest wines in Germany that is still liquid is stored at the Bürgerspital estate – and it is a 1540 vintage Stein wine.

Calmont: vines grown in rock

Even on the Moselle , slopes do not get any steeper than this. The Calmont is the most precipitous vineyard in Europe with a gradient of up to 60 degrees. The cliff face between the Moselle villages of Bremm and Ediger-Eller is over 290 metres high. It was formed 400 million years ago in the Devonian period and consists of denuded slate, quartzite and greywacke rocks.

Castell: the arrival of silvaner grapes

A milestone in the history of the Franconian village of Castell occurred on 6 April 1659 when the Count of Castell's bailiff, Georg Körner, had new vines planted at the foot of Schlossberg hill. They were not just any vines, they were '25 Austrian cuttings' which a messenger from the village of Obereisenheim had delivered the previous day.

Disibodenberg abbey ruins where the oldest vines grow

Made famous by Hildegard von Bingen , Disibodenberg in Odernheim on the Nahe also plays a part in ancient viticultural history as the oldest site in Germany where vines are grown. Traces of Roman vines have been found on the southern slope of Disibodenberg hill and grapes have been grown continuously in the abbey vineyard since the 11th century.

Eberbach Abbey: wine made by Cistercian monks

The art of wine-making has been practised for centuries at Eberbach Abbey near Eltville in the Rheingau . Thanks to its wines, the abbey quickly developed into one of Germany's biggest, most influential monasteries. The pinot noir grapes that the monks brought with them from Burgundy became the first major export from the Rheingau wine region.

Gierer winery and guesthouse: wine and wonderful scenery

This winery is situated on the sun-kissed northern shores of Lake Constance in Nonnenhorn, Bavaria. The Gierer family has been devoted to the art of winemaking for over 300 years, passing on its expertise from generation to generation. Their new vinothek unites exceptional design and regionally sourced materials, while affording visitors views of the scenic countryside outside and the wine cellar down below.

Gut Hermannsberg estate: copper-bottomed riesling

Where outstanding riesling grapes now grow, copper ore was once excavated. Until 1901, the Kupfergrube vineyard in Schlossböckelheim was just what its German name means – a copper mine. The Prussian state established the Niederhausen wine estate and bought the land belonging to the Hermannsberg farm on the river Nahe in 1901. The first riesling vines were planted two years later.

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