As autumn is coming the wine season is approaching as well. The period between June and October is the peak season for wine festivals in Germany – a great opportunity to savor the diverse flavors of the charming wine regions along Rhine, Main, Elbe and Mosel rivers as well as the southern wine-growing regions of Palatine and Baden.
Every one of the altogether 13 wine growing regions is host to a number of Germany's approximately 1,250 annual wine festivals. Village squares, vineyards, ancient castles and city streets are the setting for these lively events where locals and visitors come together to celebrate the harvest of the grapes. Gourmands and wine lovers can taste vineyards creations, sample regional food, enjoy live music and maybe even catch the crowning of a local wine queen.
The world's biggest wine festival, starting September 7th, is actually named after a sausage (Wurst) – the ‘Wurstmarkt’ in Bad Duerkheim, close to Heidelberg, has a ferris wheel, shooting galleries and a multitude of fairground rides. However, the heart of the festival is made up of small, traditional wine stands with wooden tables and benches. www.duerkheimer-wurstmarkt.de (German only)
Smaller festivals are to be found all over the country and some even begin in August such as Frankfurt's Wine Festival (Aug 29 – Sep 7) where more than 600 wines and sparkling wines from the region can be tasted up and down Grosse Bockheimer Strasse. www.frankfurt-tourismus.de In the Rheingau, some 500 festivals take place in the towns along the Rhine. In the Ahr Region close to Bonn the town of MayschoÃŸ (Oct 10), known for the oldest registered winegrower cooperative worldwide, holds its festival as well as the town of Altenahr (Oct 6 – Oct 7). The festival in Boppard, further down the Rhine, is famous for its fantastic fireworks at the river banks (Sep 28 – Sep 30). In late September the small town of Ingelheim, close to Frankfurt, celebrates its Red Wine Festival around the historical castle (Sep 29 to Oct 10). In Palatinate the towns Freinsheim (sep 29 – Sep 30), Gruenstadt (Oct 5 – Oct 8), Neustadt (Oct 11 – Oct 15) and Impflingen (Oct 6 – Oct 7) host an annual wine festival as well. www.deutscheweine.de
To combine various wine festivals, one of the German wine routes in Palatine is an exciting tour of discovery for walkers, cyclists, sporty types and holidaymakers alike. Around Neustadt and Bockenheim gourmands, wine lovers, devotees of the arts and anyone who generally loves life will take the Wine Route and its sense of joie de vivre straight to their hearts. www.deutsche-weinstrasse.de and www.cometogermany.com