If you’ve exhausted France’s Loire Valley and grown bored of sipping Tempranillo in Spain, why not head to one of Europe’s lesser-known wine areas?
So, what do you know about the Rheingau region? Here’s a quick roundup. It’s known for its fertile soils, idyllic medieval villages and handful of ancient castles. And the best bit? It’s also a gem on Germany’s wine trail. Think crisp and delicious bottles of Riesling. Plus it’s just a short drive away from the buzzing city of Frankfurt! Awesome.
Fancy a week hopping between fantastic Frankfurt wineries? Us too. In fact we’d love to join you! For a little helping hand here’s our round up of five lush locations for a tipple which are all within easy reach of the city…
Sipping Riesling in a castle sound pretty awesome? Don’t skip Schloss Johannisberg
Perhaps one of the most impressive vineyards in Germany, you can’t beat savouring a glass of wine at gorgeous Johannisberg Castle!
Wine in a castle? Sounds great doesn’t it. You’ll find this rather regal winery just outside the village of Johannisberg. It’s also famed for being the very first vineyard to produce Riesling! Schloss Johannisberg has been making bottles for over 1000 years and is a stunning place to get to grips with the wine’s history and flavours.
Tasting session aside, you can’t miss the tour of the grand palace and its huge cellars which are brimming with barrels of the first-rate wine! Why not pick up a few bottles to take home as souvenirs? From the shop of course, not the cellars!
Driving distance: 50 minutes
For a vineyard with a good story, check out Kloster Eberbach
This vineyard in the Rheingau not only produces some spectacular bottles of wine, but it also has an intriguing past!
Want to learn more? Kloster Eberbach is actually a former Cistercian abbey dating back to the 12th century. After it was deconsecrated in the early 1800s it became a dedicated winery.
History lesson over. Let’s get back to the wine! It’s actually the largest vineyard in Germany. Partly because it’s linked to the neighbouring Steinberg winery. Yes that’s right. Definitely a household name for the wine connoisseurs out there!
Like to party with your wine? Yes you can enjoy tastings all year round, but if you plan your visit in late July you can experience the Steinberg Round Table. It’s part of the lively Rheingau Music Festival and sees a long table set up among the vines, packed with delicious food and local wine. Count us in!
Driving time: 50 minutes
When you’d rather not be the designated driver, head for Frankfurt’s own Lohrberger Hang
Want everyone to enjoy a tipple in easy reach of your accommodation? Technically still part of the Rheingau region, Frankfurt’s Lohrberger Hang vineyard sits on the eastern fringes of the city and is a prime spot in easy reach of wherever you plan to stay.
Over 10,000 bottles of dry or semi dry Riesling are produced here every year, each one featuring hand-picked grapes from Lohrberger Hang’s steep fields. That’s a lot of love going into this wine!
To sample something different (when you finally get bored of Riesling), Weingut Hemmes is the one
Ready to expand your tipple of choice? Located across the river from the popular vineyard town of Rüdesheim you’ll find another of Germany’s great wine regions – the Rheinhessen.
It might not be quite as prestigious as the Rheingau, but it still produces some pretty palatable wines – especially at vineyards like Weingut Hemmes. This family-vineyard is on the shores of the Rhine River and is set over 50 acres. It’s also been producing various wine varieties for over a century. Think refreshing Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, to rich reds like Dornfelder and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Want to impress your other half with your wine knowledge? It also has its very own wine school!
Driving distance: 60 minutes
Finally, when it’s just impossible to choose between wines, try a little of everything in Wiesbaden
Some call it the gateway to the Rheingau wine region. We call it the ideal place for wine and a spa break! In fact Wiesbaden is one of Europe’s oldest spa towns and a gorgeous place to visit regardless of its wine-making connections.
There might not be any vineyards here, but there are plenty of places where you can try the cream of the crop from the entire Rheingau region. Fancy some real local flavour? Every second Saturday at the weekly market in the historic Market Square, Rheingau’s wineries set up tasting tables alongside stalls serving up regional gastronomical delicacies! It’s pretty amazing!
Need to clear your wine head with some fresh air? The town is also the starting point of the Rheinsteig hiking trail (it stretches for over 300km to Bonn), ideal if you fancy combining your Frankfurt wine tasting expedition with a little outdoor adventure! Ideal to burn off those calories.
Driving distance: 40 minutes
Why not spend a few days in Frankfurt itself before you set off on your epic vineyard tour? The city is packed with amazing museums where you can learn a fact or two, plus it’s a good jumping off point for longer road trips to some of Germany’s most beautiful lakes.
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