Every winemaking country has vineyards that stand out – for the quality of their grapes of course, but also for their history, or for their particular natural features. We picked eleven vineyards in Germany that are the best … for a wonderful wine tour along the rivers in winemaking regions of Mosel, Mittelrhein, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, and Nahe.
We start in Germany's western winemaking tip, the Upper Mosel and Saar area:
1 Vineyard ‘Scharzhofberg’ in the Saar // Wineregion Mosel
… already an expensive vineyard in Napoleonic times, the Scharzhofberg is origin to some of the most sought-after wines of Germany. Bottles of Weingut Egon Müller’s sweet riesling wines from this vineyard fetch the world’s highest prices for white wines. Other known winemakers such as Weingut van Volxem work parcels in this priced terrain as well.
Continuing down the Mosel river:
2 Vineyard ‘Bremmer Calmont’ // Wineregion Mosel
At its top the Calmont vineyard reaches 300 meters above sea level. It is the steepest vineyard in Germany, possibly in Europe. And it is beautiful to hike - for vertigo-free wine travellers happy to use ladders and ropes. To taste wines from this spectacular vineyard, stop by at Weingut J Oster or Weingut Franzen.
We have now reached the River Rhine and swayed into the Rhine River Gorges:
3 Vineyard ‘Bopparder Hamm’ // Wineregion Mittelrhein
Located in the Rhine Valley’s largest loop, the winemaking district of Bopparder Hamm was already known to the Romans, who in 370 settled in the area. The vineyard’s south facing slopes catch sunshine not only directly but also as a reflection from the River Rhine. Amongst the best winemakers working the Hamm are Weingut Martin Müller and Weingut Weingart.
We reached the Southern end of the romantic Rhine River Gorges:
4 Vineyard ‘Bacharacher Posten’ // Wineregion Mittelrhein
The Bacharacher Posten is a small vineyard, with a south facing steep slope growing Riesling and Spätburgunder aka Pinot Noir. At its bottom the vineyard is almost sliding into Bacharach, the most gorgeous medieval township in the Mittelrhein area. Weingut Friedrich Bastian and Weingut Ratzenberger produce fantastic wines at the 'Posten' – taste them in the historic center of Bacharach.
We now take a quick detour into the Nahe river:
5 Vineyard ‘Kupfergrube’ // Wineregion Nahe River
The spectacular beauty of this vineyard and its excellent wines are the result of manual labour a 100 years ago, when Prussian administration had a former copper mine (‘Kupfergrube’) transformed into a vineyard. The estate Weingut Hermannsberg sits right in front of it, a perfect spot to taste a grand cru riesling while admiring the stunning terroir that delivered it.
Just a bit further downstream on the Nahe River we hit…
6 Vineyard ‘Bastei’ // Wineregion Nahe River
Bastei is a grand-cru vineyard right at the foot of the steepest cliff North of the Alps, the Rotenfels Mountain. The vines are growing right on the rocky debris that has fallen off this enormous parabolic reflector. Weingut Dr Crusius produces some outstanding grand cru wines from this vineyard. There is a hiking path on top of the mountain offering sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards and the Nahe river.
Follow the Nahe river back down to where it meets the Rhine River and get a perfect view of...
7 Vineyard ‘Berg Schlossberg’ // Wineregion Rheingau
Sitting right next to the Rheingau capital Rüdesheim, this vineyard watches the entrance of the famous Rhine River Gorges. The vine rows climb up increasingly steep slopes, some of them reinforced by massive vineyard walls. Quarzite and slate collect heat and drain water off, while the river reflects light into the vineyard. Smack in its middle sits castle Ruin “Ehrenfels”. Amongst the top winemakers sharing this vineyard are Weingut Balthasar Ress and Weingut Künstler.
And then right in the township of Rüdesheim we find…
8 Vineyard Rosengarten // Wineregion Rheingau
This improbable in-town grand cru vineyard hugs the remainders of the Brömserburg, one of the oldest castles in the Rhine River Gorge. The ‘rose garden’ is surrounded by thick historic walls offering protection. The vines sit on a sandy gravel soil ideal to drain water. Rosengarten is a monopoly vineyard managed by Rheingau pioneer Weingut Leitz.
We now proceed further upstream and soon appears, further up on the hill....
9 Vineyard Steinberger - Wineregion Rheingau
The Steinberger is a monopoly vineyard, too, the wines being made under the brand of the Cisterian Monastery Eberbach, founded 900 years ago. The vineyard is surrounded by an impressive 3.5 km long wall, initially built to keep away wildlife and thieves – but it also offers positive microclimatic effects by shielding from cold air and by radiating warmth. The terrace of the refurbished winery offers sweeping views of the Rheingau vineyards.
Pushing further on against the Rhine River’s current we notice a huge slope on the western bank, which is the …
10 Vineyard Site Roter Hang - Rheinhessen
This moderate-to-steep formation hosts a collection of some of Rheinhessen’s most famous vineyards such as Pettenthal, Hipping, and Ölberg. The East to Southeast facing slope features red weathered clayey slate, a particularity in a region where limestone is prevalent. World famous estates like Weingut Gunderloch, St Antony and Weingut Schätzel grow their Rieslings here.
We end our tour of best vineyards at …
11 Vineyard ‘Glöck’ – Rheinhessen.
This is Germany’s oldest documented vineyard – first mentioned in 742! A special climate is created here by surrounding walls, a nested position in the slope, south facing exposure and reflecting sunlight from the river. 'Glöck' takes its name from Glocke - bell - associated to the Kilians Church at top of the vineyard. Domaine Oppenheim produces some grand cru Rieslings from the 'Glöck'.
Gute Reise! Enjoy your wine tour along the best German vineyards! For trip planning or travel support, contact us.