If you are looking for a wine tour in Frankfurt... you'll definitely need to rethink. Frankfurt has only one type of wine, called "Apfelwein" - in fact an apple cider, which some non-locals would claim requires an acquired palate. For a proper German wine experience you will have to leave the Frankfurt city boundaries and visit the wine regions nearby - Rheingau and Rheinhessen.
Here are 5 wine destinations within Rheingau and Rheinhessen that can be reached within an hour by train on a day wine trip from Frankfurt:
1 Wine Village Hochheim - Rheingau
For older generations the term 'Hock' stands for German whites as does 'Claret' for Bordeaux. Hock originates from the wine village of Hochheim in Rheingau - the origin of Queen Victorias favourite German wine. She visited in 1850 and ever since, 'Hock' relates to German white wines.
Hochheim is 25 minutes by train from Frankfurt. Enjoy walking a tiny old town with half-timbered houses and baroque buildings. The most famous winery in Hochheim is Weingut Künstler (- call for appointment). But in Summer just drop by the wine-tasting stall 'Weinprobierstand' where the winemakers of Hochheim take turns pouring wines by the glass.
Open from 11.00 on weekends - a perfect place to meet locals.
2 Wine Town Nierstein - Rheinhessen
About a century ago, Nierstein was famous in the world of wine, sometimes even headlining it's proper chapter in wine menues. Located just at the southern tip of the famous vineyard site 'Roter Hang' this quaint town pleases with its old architecture and its Rhine River promenade. When visiting Nierstein a hike up Germany's oldest vineyard 'Glöck' is a must and and will be rewarded by a sweeping view of the Rhine River. For a wine tasting, swing by the tasting room of Weingut St Antony.
Approx 50 mins from Frankfurt, change trains in Mainz.
3 Great Wine Capital Mainz - Rheinhessen
Boasting a large old town, one of oldest cathedrals north of the Alps, a generous Rhine River promenade and the world famous Gutenberg Museum, Mainz has a lot to offer, even without wine. Winelovers however, will enjoy the myriad of winetaverns, the al-fresco tasting stalls, and the Weinfeste, taking place virtually all summer around the city. (cf our Mainz guide for wine lovers).
Our favourite wine places are Weinbar Laurenz for casual yet excellent wine & dine, wine tavern Ladendorf for their outstanding wine list, and the sparkling wine house Flik (off the city center, call for appointment).
Mainz is at 35 mins by train on a direct connection from Frankfurt.
4 Red Wine Town Ingelheim - Rheinhessen
Ingelheim is on its best way to reclaim the title as red wine capital of Germany. Historically a riverside base German emperors inspecting their territories, Ingelheim today is sandwiched between Mainz and Bingen. It's historic quarters though do offer plenty of interest to wine tourists: the estate JNeus for instance sits on the largest historic cellar structure of Rheinhessen. Some barrels in here are over 100 years old! Nearby, the estate Weingut Wasem, located in a former abbey, offers not only great wines but also excellent food. Don't miss taking a look at the remainders of the former imperial fortifications.
50 minutes from Frankfurt on a direct train connection.
5 Wine Town Eltville - Rheingau
Eltville is the lesser known sibling to Rheingau wine capital Rüdesheim. While similarly pretty and certainly as historic as Rüdesheim, Eltville doesn't feature a cruise terminal on its Rhine River promenade - and is thus far more quiet. One will want to take a stroll of the riverside walk, stop at Pier 511 for a light meal, and taste wines at J B Beckers Weingarten. Culturally interested should not miss out on a stop at the Eltville castle. From Eltville hitch a bus to visit the world famous 'cradle of Riesling' - Monastery Eberbach.
Eltville is at 50 mins by train from Frankfurt.
- If you prefer a guided experience, with knowledgeable hosts and scheduled tastings... BottleStops runs wine tours from Mainz.
- Some of the links provided lead to German language pages - unfortunately not many estates offer bilingual pages.
- To travel germany by train, do download DB Navigator APP. The English language timetables and booking options come in extremely handy for non-german speakers.