A Trio of German Wine Festivals

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Every year in August and September, western Germany hosts some of the oldest, largest, and most visited wine festivals in the country. If you’re a budding wine connoisseur, don your lederhosen or dirndl dress and venture to one to sample culinary delights, folk dancing, and meet fellow wine enthusiasts.

Mainz Wine Festival, Mainz

Along the Rhine River, a short drive east of Frankfurt is the great wine capital Mainz. The charming city on the edge of Germany’s largest wine-growing region attracts visitors with its half-timber houses, cobbled streets, and pretty market squares. During the last week of August and first week of September each year, the city hosts one of the region's finest wine festivals at Mainz Stadtpark. Amidst beautiful rose gardens, local producers showcase over 100 wines from the region, including Rheinhessen Rieslings, sparkling wines and Spätburgunder reds.

Embrace the funfair atmosphere as you sample wines from different vendors, try sizzling bratwurst sausages straight from the grill and dance the night away to indie and folk bands as they play on stage. You’ll see locals dressed in traditional costume and have the opportunity to meet new people with a shared love of fine wine. When you’ve explored the festival, see Mainz from a different perspective on a cruise along the Rhine River, visit the city’s famous wine bars or make a stop at the Gutenberg Museum – home to the world’s oldest printing equipment.

When: 24 August – 3 September 2023

Where: Mainz Stadtpark, Mainz

Rheingau Wine Festival, Frankfurt

The week-long celebration of wine in Frankfurt takes place on Freßgass promenade near the 19th century opera house – Alte Oper. Each year the district transforms into the world’s longest wine bar, attracting thousands of visitors. Over 600 flagship wines from the noble Rheingau region are presented across 30 stalls. Expect to sample full-bodied dry and citrus infused Rieslings, Pinot Noirs (also known as Spätburgunder wines), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines during your visit.

Observe local vintners discussing terroir and cultivation methods and gain unique insight into the viticulture process. As with most German festivals, fine wines are accompanied by gourmet cuisine including creamy cheeses, sausages, and schnitzel. Open wine cellar events take place across both weekends of the festival, but if you fancy a break from the festivities, browse luxury shops on nearby Goethestrasse or take a stroll to the city’s modern art museum. If you plan to extend your stay, follow the Rheingau wine route to mediaeval villages, monasteries, and fairy-tale castles for a more relaxed conclusion to your trip.

When: 30 August – 8 September 2023

Where: Freßgass promenade, Frankfurt

The Wurstmarkt/Bad Dürkheim Wine Festival

The Palatinate region of Germany has been growing and harvesting grapes since the Middle Ages. During these times, vineyards brought their wines to town to sell at the local markets. By the 15th century, the wine markets had become so popular that they were transformed into a huge celebration of wine and agriculture. Today, the tradition continues in mid-September in the spa town of Bad Dürkheim south of Frankfurt. The Wurstmarkt/ Bad Dürkheim Wine Festival is considered to be the world’s largest with over 600,000 people expected to attend this year. In fact, it is often referred to as the oenophile’s version of Oktoberfest.

Discover the different stalls and vintners, sample classic Rieslings, Sekt, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends. Listen to literature readings and live jazz bands with friends and join in with games and contests. As day turns to night, marvel at the fireworks or take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. Don’t leave town without visiting the largest wine barrel in the world – the Dürkheimer Riesenfass holding over 40 million gallons. Alternatively, extend your stay with a trip to Mannheim or Heidelberg to view their city attractions.

Where: Bad Dürkheim, near Mannheim

When: 8 – 12 and 15 - 18 September 2023

Stay at Schlosshotel Kronberg in Frankfurt

Plan your wine expeditions around a luxury stay at Schlosshotel Kronberg. The historic hotel, located outside Frankfurt, was once a favourite residence of Queen Victoria. It became an American officers club during WWII and has hosted numerous authors and movie directors.

The 62 well-appointed guest rooms are comfortable and relaxing, decorated with antiques, soothing tones and floral embellishments. Bay windows enhance garden and park views, while hallways display original artworks by Titian and Gainsborough. Guests can rent a Porsche during a stay, make use of the hotel’s chauffeur and limousine services, relax with a soothing spa treatment, or play a round of golf on the hotel’s challenging course.

If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, the old town of Kronberg im Taunus is a delight to discover with half-timbered houses and summer residences – once homes of European nobility. The town is surrounded by nature, perfect for leisurely hikes and bike rides, and in the centre, award-winning restaurants and speciality shops await.

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