In Germany, Weinfests are almost as popular as Oktoberfest. Germany actually lies thick with vineyards. You’ll find vineyards within the sight of Bonn, Beethoven’s city and Germany’s former capital. They remember Roman footsteps near the amphitheater at Trier and they hear Mercedes-Benz engines hum at Stuttgart. There are vineyards at Heidelberg, Worms and Würzburg, near the spa at Baden-Baden and even in the alpine lands around Lake Konstanz … and lots of wine gardens to enjoy a Riesling, Silvaner or Grauburgunder in the open air.
Weinfests and The World’s Longest Wine Bar
Between August and October every year, you can visit approximately 1,250 wine festivals in Germany that are as as diverse as the products they celebrate! Some date back nearly 500 years. The largest Weinfest takes place in Bad Dürkheim in September, where up to 300 vineyards sample and sell their latest creations. The “Rheingauer Weinwoche” in downtown Wiesbaden in August is also known as the “world’s longest wine bar.” Other wine festivals take place in the courtyards of castles, in village squares, on vineyard slopes and in city streets. No matter where they’re held, all celebrate harvest season and high quality German white and red wines.
Crowning the Wine Queen
Weinfests are a big deal for vintners. In hundreds of small wine towns along the Rhine, Main, Neckar and Danube the Weinfests feature an elaborate parade of costumed brass bands and the crowning of a Wine Queen. This wine queen becomes the spokesperson for the region’s vintners at official events. (Watch the festive reception of the wine queens from Bernkastel-Kues, located in the Central Mosel Valley.) Displays of antique wine, growing and processing equipment, and colorful floral arrangements further enhance the Weinfests’ festive atmosphere.
Onion Tarts, Cheese and Wine Jellies
The food is, as always, is of course plentiful! One of the regional Weinfest specialties from the Mosel to the Black Forest is Federweisse mit Zwiebelkuchen(freshly fermented wine with onion tarts). You’ll also find sausages, pretzels, cheeses, roasts with spaetzle noodles paired with the white and red wines of the region. In the Frankenland (Franconia in Northern Bavaria), you can find delicious wine jellies made from the regional red wine “Regent” or rose wine “Rotling. All these specialties, prized by Germans and non-Germans alike, play a very important role in the Weinfest celebrations. After all, what is good wine without a pairing of good food!