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Germany East - ITINERARY

A German Wine, History, and Culture Tour

Discover Germany's lesser known wine regions, and Germany's intellectual and cultural cradle in "Mitteldeutschland"!

Spend 10 days traveling from Berlin to Frankfurt through four wine regions, indulge in first class wines, travel through beautiful, unspoiled landscapes, follow Johann Sebastian Bach's paths, see stunning art, listened to mind boggling music, live culture, get deep into fascinating old and recent history, in particular into the reunification time of the two Germanys, and attend performances at world-renowned concert- and opera houses.

Berlin • Saale-Unstrut • Sachsen • Württemberg • Franken
Hildebrandt Organ Naumburg • Gewandhaus Leipzig • Semperoper Dresden • Ballet Stuttgart

Monday, June 11 - Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Accommodation: 9 nights:

Night 1: Monday, June 11:
Hotel Gendarm nouveau, a 4 star quiet, small, friendly hotel in the Gendarmenmarkt area, the most centrally located plaza of Berlin. 
Nights 2 + 3: Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13:
Hotel Zufriedenheit in Naumburg, a brand new 4 star, very elegant boutique hotel with stunning room designs in the heart of Naumburg.
Night 4: Thursday, June 14:
Hotel INNSIDE in Leipzig, a brand new 4 star ultra modern hotel in a beautifully restored late 19th century building just next to J.B. Bach’s famous Sankt Thomas Church, and the historic city center.
Night 5: Friday, June 15:
Welcome Parkhotel in Meissen, a beautiful, charming 4-star hotel built in 1870 in the art nouveau style with stunning views across the Elbe river to the Meissen cathedral and the impressive Albrechtsburg.
Night 6: Saturday, June 16:
Hotel INNSIDE in Dresden, a very stylish, modern 4-star hotel with innovative design in the heart of the city with the Twist Sky Bar on the 6th floor that allows for a spectacular panoramic views of the golden, magnificent dome of the rebuilt Frauenkirche.
Night 7: Sunday, June 17:
Hotel Unger in Stuttgart, a 4 star old-school, family run hotel in short walking distance to the Stuttgart theater.
Night 8: Monday, June 18:
Hotel Zum Ochsen in Oberstenfeld, a 3 star family run hotel in the historic center of Oberstenfeld with very comfortable rooms in contemporary style and an award-winning regional cuisine.
Night 9: Tuesday, June 19
Hotel Greifensteiner Hof in Würzburg, a 4 star hotel with an old-world elegance in the historic center of the Barocke town Würzburg. 

DAY 1: Monday, June 11

We meet in the lobby of Hotel Gendarm
Visit of the Königlicher Weinberg Klausberg project in Sanssouci, Potsdam.
We all know about Frederick the Great, arguable the most important and beloved King of Prussia. To escape the formal ceremonies and pomp of the Berlin court he built a summer palace “Sanssouci” -basically more like a large, single-story villa than a palace- in Potsdam, outside of Berlin. Frederick the Great was very modern in his thinking and an aficionado of the arts and fine living. He dreamt about planting a vineyard in Potsdam and after finishing the construction of the “New Palais” in Potsdam in 1769 he set out to create beautiful gardens and a terraced vineyard “Königlicher Klausberg” on the slopes of the hill Sanssouci sits on. There was varied success in harvesting good grapes and after 1945 most of the buildings and gardens were destroyed by the Russian Army. During GDR times Sanssouci was renovated but the gardens and the vineyard were not really taken care of. After reunification in 1989 besides restoring historical buildings the focus also shifted to the gardens and the vineyard. The project “Königlicher Klausberg” started revamping the vineyard and initially planted 2000 vines of the varieties Regent and Cabernet Blanc. In his will Frederick the Great wrote that he wanted to be buried in the vineyard of Sanssouci but the twists and turns of history had it that he finally came to rest on Hohenzollern Castle in Württemberg. On August 17, 1991 (the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 made it possible) on the 205th anniversary of his death Frederick's casket lay in state in the court of honor at Sanssouci, covered by a Prussian flag and escorted by a Bundeswehr (German Army) guard of honor. After nightfall, Frederick's body was finally laid to rest in the terrace of the vineyard of Sanssouci – in the still existing crypt he had built there – without pomp, in accordance with his will.
Dinner and wine at restaurant borchardt in Berlin. 
The “borchardt” is a Berlin institution. Politics, Press, Diplomats, ...  it is here where they mingle over a perfect “Schnitzel”, “Tatar Brot” or other very well executed German dishes. The borchardt looks back on a 150-year history. It was in 1853 that August F. W. Borchardt laid the foundation for a new dining culture that remains intimately associated with Berlin today. The main site of the borchardt restaurant in Französische Straße supplied the Kaiser in the Wilhelmine era and went on to survive the Second World War and the city’s division by the Berlin Wall.
06:45 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel Zur Alten Schmiede in Naumburg.
Evening and dinner on your own. Explore the quaint historic town of Naumburg. Stop by the house of the Nietzsche family, where the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent his childhood.

DAY 2: Tuesday, June 12

Visit and tasting at Weingut Dr. Lindicke in Werder an the Havel, Brandenburg.
Viticulture in Werder can look back to more than 800 years of history. One of the early pillars of viticulture in Brandeburg was Lehnin Abbey, not far from Werder, founded in 1180 by Cistercian monks who came from Morimond Abbey in the Champagne region. (Morimond by the way is one of the 4 daughter Abbeys of Cîteaux Abbey in Burgundy. Cîteaux is the birth place of the Cistercian Order. It was founded by Bendiction monks in 1098 who were unsatisfied with the rules of their order and started the Cistercian Order.) During medieval times the Markgrafen of Brandenburg pushed the viticultural development and Brandenburg wines were served at the dinner tables of the aristocracy. In the mid 18-hundreds only 192 people lived in Werder but there were 30 winemakers who farmed more than 250 acres of vineyards. However at the end of the 19th century commercial viticulture was slowly substituted by fruit orchards. Hundred years later, in 1985, still under GDR times, 12 acres were replanted with vines. Today there are 25 acres of vineyards and 3 wine producers in Werder.
Lunch at restaurant In Vino Veritas in Wittenberg.
After lunch we have time to do a little bit of sightseeing. Wittenberg is closely associated with the Protestant Reformation. It was here where Martin Luther hammered the 90 theses at the door of the castle church. 
Visit and tasting at Weingut Günter Born in Salzatal, Saale-Unstrut. 
The Saale-Unstrut wine region sits on 51st latitude and is Germany’s northernmost accredited wine region, located in the valleys of the Saale and Unstrut rivers, an area of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). This is a historic wine producing region. Cistercian monks came from Burgundy and planted the first vines more than 1000 years ago. The oldest record of viticulture dates back to the year 998 during the reign of Emperor Otto III. The winery Günter Born is located in the northernmost tip of the Saale-Unstrut region in the Mansfeld lake area. The protective Harz mountains and the heat reflective surface of the water produce a fantastic microclimate. The colored sandstone soil with its layers of loess-loam serves as a heat reservoir. The viticultural history of the Born family goes back to the mid 19th century. In 1990 shortly after reunification private ownership became again possible and Günter Born founded one of the first privately owned wineries in this region. Today the winery has 20 acres of vineyards and is managed by Günter Born and his daughter Elisabeth. Elisabeth studied oenology at the famous Geisenheim oenological university and gained experiences in New Zealand and South Africa. In 2011 she served as the German Wine Princess.

Weather permitting we will have a wine tasting with Uwe Lützkendorf, Weingut Lützkendorf, in the very special, unusual Grand Cru vineyard site Hohe Gräte in Karsdorf.
The Hohe Gräte is a former limestone quarry. Later after reunification some vintners started to plant vines here. The Hohe Gräte has the perfect microclimate: south-west facing; low precipitation; optimal sun exposure; perfect cold air ventilation.

The winery Lützkendorf was founded at the dawn of the 19th century and existed until 1959 when the GDR authorities nationalized the property and integrated the estate into the government run Agricultural Cooperative. In 1991, after the reunification of the two German States the vineyards were returned to the family. Uwe Lützkendorf reestablished the winery, revamped the vineyards, and built new production facilities in Bad Kösen. The stony soils and the climate of this northern wine region decisively influences the character of the wines. Uwe Lützkendorf’s philosophy of wine making is as little intervention as possible to showcase the character of the terroir. In 1996 the winery Lützkendorf was the first estate in the Saale-Unstrut region to become member of the prestigious VDP, the Association of Germany’s Premium Winemakers. To listen to him, and also to his fellow winemakers in this former GDR area, recounting their stories of reviving an economic and agriculture waste land after German reunification, is living history and worthy of a spy thriller.

10:00 am Visit of the Naumburg Cathedral.
This impressive late Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral is one of the most important cultural monuments of the High Middle Age period in all of Europe. The ensemble of Romanesque and Gothic artwork in the cathedral is unique and gives the visitor an understanding of middle age liturgy found nowhere else. World-renowned are the “Naumburger Meister”, the stonemasons that sculptured beautiful figures such as the donor portrait of Uta von Naumburg.
11:30 am Departure and walk to the St. Wenzels Church.
12:00 pm Concert, and guided tour of the Hildebrandt organ in the St. Wenzels church in Naumburg.
We will learn everything that there is to know about an organ from our expert guide, Florian Zschucke, who is the resident organist at the St. Wenzels church. The 1746 Hildebrandt Organ in St. Wenzel’s church in Naumburg, is the best example of a “true Bach organ” and belongs to the most significant creations of late baroque organ building. The organ of 52 stops was built by Zacharias Hildebrandt under the influence of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach made sure that this organ corresponds to his idea of an excellent large organ. He examined the organ, certified that Hildebrandt’s work was good, and played the just installed organ. In 1748 Bach’s son in law became the organist at the St. Wenzel’s church.
01:15 pm Lunch at restaurant Ratskeller Naumburg on the market square in Naumburg just around the corner from the St. Wenzels church.
02:45 pm Departure.
04:45 pm Departure. Just half a mile down the road from Lützkendorf there is the winery Landesweingut Kloster Pforta. We will slowly drive by to take a look because of its historic significance.
This winery is one of the five State-owned wine producing estates in Germany, and is owned by the State of Sachsen-Anhalt. Its history mirrors German history. Its origins date back to the Pforta Abbey, founded in 1137 by Cistercian monks. In 1154 the monks started to plant vines in the Pfortenser Köppelberg vineyard, which still today is one of the six vineyards of the winery, producing excellent wines. Pforta Abbey soon had a reputation as the richest abbey in medieval Thuringia, with vineyard holdings in 192 communes, totaling at least 250 ha (around 625 acres). After Reformation (during the 16th century the eastern part of Germany became Lutheran and the monks had to leave), ownership went to the kings of Saxony, which subsequently lost the Abbey Pforta to the Kingdom of Prussia at the Vienna Congress in 1814. After World War II, it became the socialist co-operative VEG (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people) Weinbau Naumburg in the GDR, with 300 acres of land. The quality of the wines after the fall of the Wall in 1989, Abbey Pforta was in the hands of the privatization organization Treuhand for a few years, but privatization efforts were not successful and thus the State of Sachsen-Anhalt took over. The winery still operates in the historic buildings, and we will indulge in the beautiful view across the Saale river and surroundings steeped in an almost 1000 year long story.
06:00 pm Arrival in Leipzig and check-in at INNSIDE Hotel in Leipzig.
Time on your own. Wander through the old city of Leipzig, or relax, and take an early dinner to prepare for the concert.
08:00 pm Gewandhaus Leipzig.
Concert with the full Gewandhaus orchestra and the Monteverdi Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner: Music by Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendessohn-Bartholdy, Otto Nicolai, Richard Wagner

DAY 3: Sunday, June 11

09:30 am Guided walking tour through Leipzig.
This city is a gem for classical music lovers. There is no space to list all the world-famous composers, conductors, musicians, opera singers, and poets, who lived and worked in Leipzig. We will pay a visit to the St. Thomas church, home of the world-renowned “Thomanerchor”, the Sankt Thomas Boys Choir, and a place of musical creativity. This church is also the final resting place of its most famous cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach. We will also visit the Nikolai church, where the collapse of the communist systems in Eastern Europe and eventually the reunification of Germany began. For months on end, every Monday evening people gathered inside the church praying and demonstrating for freedom, before the protests spilled out onto the streets leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall that changed the world order established after World War II.
11:00 pm Departure from Leipzig.

We could pay a short visit to the “Baumwollspinnerei”, a vast, old, former cotton-spinning mill converted to a mecca for the visual arts. More than 50 artists, among them internationally acclaimed Neo Rauch, flagship of the “Leipziger Schule”, live, work, and exhibit here. This has put Leipzig on the global art tourism map.
12:00 am Arrival in Torgau.
Arrival in Torgau, - established in 973 - the beautiful Renaissance town and so called “wet nurse” of reformation, since it became the political center of reformation. The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, and to commemorate this historic year we have to make a stop in Torgau, the town that played a significant role in establishing the protestant movement in Germany, and beyond. In 1544 Martin Luther inaugurated the Schlosskirche in Torgau as first protestant church. It was in the Nikolai Church in Torgau where for the first time baptizing was done using the German language; the town council of Torgau expelled begging monks, and one for the councilors was responsible for freeing nine nuns at Nimbschen. Among them was Katharina von Bora, who later became Luther´s wife. In 1552 Katharina Luther tried to escape from the plague in Wittenberg, and there was a road accident in which she was injured. She died in Torgau and is buried in St. Mary´s Church. We will visit the Schloss Hartenfels in Torgau, one of the most impressive castles of Germany. This town also is of another, more recent historic significance: we will visit the spot where the Russian and American army met after WWII.
01:00 pm Departure and drive to Meissen.
01:45 pm Lunch with wine pairing at the restaurant / winery Vincenz Richter in Meissen.
The winery and wine restaurant was founded in 1873 by Vincenz Anton Richter. It survived the GDR times and Thomas Herrlich is now the 4th generation of the founding family to manage the business. The cozy restaurant is in a beautiful 500 year old half-timbered building in the historic city center of Meissen.
04:15 pm Arrival in Dresden and check-in at INNSIDE hotel.
Take a stroll through the historic part of Dresden, soak in the magnificent architecture and views along the “Brühl Terraces” on the banks of the Elbe river, or simply relax, take an early dinner (dinner on your own), and wind down before the opera evening.
07:00 pm Semperoper Dresden.
Opera: "The Abduction from the Seraglio" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

DAY 4: Monday, June 12

09:30 am Departure from hotel, and drive along the Elbe river to Oberpoyritz.
10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Klaus Zimmerling (VDP) in Oberpoyritz, Sachsen.
In 1992, shortly after reunification, Klaus Zimmerling (see picture) founded this winery. At this very special place art and wine is intimately intertwined. Two people, two passions, a heart warming experience: Klaus Zimmerling, the grape whisperer, who sees his vineyard, the perfectly shaped, southern facing Rysselkuppe as a gift and natural wonder, which imposes on him the duty to go the extra mile to produce extraordinary wine; Malgorzata Chodakoska, his wife, who sculptures graceful feminine figures in her studio, which sits in the middle of the vines. Every year one of her sculptures will serve as model for the bottle label of that particular vintage.
12:00 pm Lunch im Wintergarten Café im Schlosshotel Pillnitz.
The Pillnitz castle and surrounding park, built in 1720, is the most important and largest chinoise castle in Europe. Later it became the summer residence of the Saxon kings and many juicy stories surround the castle still today, because August the Strong bestowed the castle on his favorite mistress, the Countess Cosel. After lunch we will have a bit of time to stroll through the park and to enjoy the serenity of the castle and castle grounds.
02:30 am Departure. We have time to cross the Elbe river by ferry and to enjoy the view to the Neustadt side of Dresden where majestic castles sit right on the slopes of the vineyards. Back at the hotel you have time to discover more of Dresden on your own.

05:00 pm Visit of the Royal Palace in Dresden and the museum complex.
To look at the treasure in the museum leaves you speechless and you get a sense of what Dresden was before WW II. Dresden has a long history as the capital of the kingdom of Saxony. For centuries the Saxon royals spared no money and effort to furnish the city with artistic, and cultural splendor. The baroque and rococo city center, and wealth of art, gave the city the nickname: “Florence of the north”. In modern times, until 1933, Dresden was Europe’s capital of modern art. The allied bombing at the end of World War II wiped out the city, and the city will never be able to shed the scars and to return to its former glory. During GDR times very few of the most important historical monuments were restored. After reunification restauration efforts intensified, and major reconstruction projects, including rebuilding the “Frauenkirche”, were completed. The restoration of the Royal Palace is about to be completed. We will visit the “Türckische Cammer” (Turkish Chamber). This is one of the oldest and most important collections of Ottoman art anywhere in the world outside Turkey. The largest object in the Türckische Cammer, which opened in 2010, is an Ottoman three-mast tent – a 20 m long, 8 m wide and 6 m high dream made of gold and silk. Only in Dresden is it possible for visitors to enter such a tent and examine the supreme craftsmanship of Ottoman textile artists at close quarters. We will also visit the “Historisches Grünes Gewölbe” (Historic Green Vault), to get a glimpse into the late baroque world of the Saxon royals. The Green Vault was reopened on the ground floor in 2006. From 1723 to 1730, August the Strong had a series of rooms constructed to represent his wealth and power as an absolute monarch; the full, incredible experience of this late baroque synthesis of the arts is once again available to visitors in the original rooms. You have to see this with your own eyes. No picture will ever be able to capture the luxury and splendidness of these rooms.

07:30 pm Wine tasting and some small bites at winebar “Weinzentrale” in Dresden-Neustadt.
Owners Silvio Nietzsche and sommelier Jens Pietzonka, well-known personalities in the German wine scene will beef up our knowledge of the wines of Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut. Silvio Nietzsche, a living encyclopedia on wine and cheese, also owns the WeinKulturBar in Dresden, an institution for refined wines and a mecca for cheese aficionados. Jens Pietzonka’s career path took him to the most famous Michelin star restaurants, and he was nominated “Sommelier of the Year” in 2013 and 2014 by lifestyle magazine Falstaff.
10:00 pm Back at hotel.

DAY 5: Tuesday, June 13

08:45 am Check-out of hotel and departure from Dresden.
09:30 pm Guided tour of Schloss Moritzburg.
Moritzburg Castle is a Baroque palace in Moritzburg, just a short ride north of Dresden. The castle has four round towers and lies on a symmetrical artificial island. It is named after Duke Moritz of Saxony, who had a hunting lodge built there between 1542 and 1546. The surrounding woodlands and lakes have been a favorite hunting area of the electors and kings of Saxony. The architecture and interior is another example of the splendor, wealth, and power of the Saxon kings.the view across the Elbe river on the beautiful historic city of Meissen with the cathedral and the mighty Albrechtsburg castle.
11:00 am Departure.
11:30 am Visit and tasting at winery Sächsisches Staatsweingut Schloss Wackerbarth in Radebeul, Sachsen.
The Baroque Wackerbarth castle was built in 1727 by Count August Christoph von Wackerbarth. The castle looks back on a volatile history and changed hands multiple times. In 1928 a wine estate was founded at the castle, which even survived the GDR times. During GDR times it became a socialist co-operative VEG (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people). Along the Radebeul vineyards, where counts once resided and the court of Augustus the Strong used to hold glittering parties, today there is an ultra modern winery owned by the State of Saxony, who took over the castle, grounds, and vineyards after reunification. The contrast between a “Napa” style wine estate and a Baroque castle is unique. The Schloss Wackerbarth wines benefit from very favorable climate conditions. The Elbe river dampens the harsh winters and the vineyards are on steep sun-kissed slopes. Schloss Wackerbarth is famous for its Sekt, produced according to the méthode Champenoise.

12:45 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at the restaurant of Schloss Wackerbarth.
A beautiful restaurant with a generous outdoor terrace belongs to Schloss Wackerbarth. The kitchen produces outstanding food. Local, organic ingredients sourced from regional suppliers make every dish a culinary experience.
02:15 pm Departure.
02:30 pm Guided tour of the Porzellanmanufaktur in Meissen.
It was at the Albrechtsburg where the King Augustus II the Strong of Saxony established the first European Porcelain manufacture in 1710 under the supervision of Johann Friedrich Böttger. The world-famous Meissen porcelain was produced at the Albrechtsburg until 1863, when the location became too small and the manufacture moved to its present location in Meissen.
04:00 pm Arrival and check-in at the Welcome Parkhotel in Meissen, Sachsen.
Enjoy the view across the Elbe river on the breathtakingly beautiful, historic city of Meissen with the mighty Albrechtsburg castle. The Albrechtsburg is a late Gothic castle built in the 15th century, and Germany’s oldest castle. It sits majestically on a rock above the Elbe river and presents together with the cathedral of Meissen a gorgeous panorama. Later the castle was superseded by the Dresden castle as the new seat of the Wettin dynasty which eventual produced the kings of Saxony and Poland.
05:00 pm Departure.
05:15 pm Arrival, cellar tour and tasting at winery Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe (VDP) in Zadel, Sachsen.
The Prinz zur Lippe family was first mentioned in the early 12th century and belonged to the reigning dynasties in Europe until 1918. For more than 300 years, the family branch of Georg Prinz zur Lippe, owner of winery Schloss Proschwitz, lived in Sachsen and produced wine. However there is a 45 year long interruption, when in 1945 the Russians occupied the eastern half of Germany, and disappropriated and expelled the family. Immediately after Germany’s reunification Georg Prinz zur Lippe started to buy back his family’s wine estate and ancestral residence, the Proschwitz castle. Since then he has restored the castle to its former glory, and invested heavily to build up the winery to become a state of the art wine producing estate. With 220 acres under vine the estate belongs to one of the larger wineries in Germany and is the largest privately owned one in Sachsen. Great care is given to sustainable techniques in the vineyard to enable future generations to continue to produce outstanding wines.
07:30 pm Wine pairing dinner at Lippe'sches Gutshaus, Schloss Proschwitz.
The regional, fresh cuisine with a sophisticated twist – a perfect pairing with the Schloss Proschwitz wines - received the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs award in 2011.
10:00 pm Back at hotel.

DAY 6: Wednesday, June 14

08:30 am Check-out of hotel and departure from Meissen and the Sachsen wine region.
10:30 am Visit of the Deutsch-Deutsches Museum Mödlareuth, Töben, Sachsen / Bavaria.
We will experience recent German history. We see here how the border between West Germany and the GDR affected people on both sides of the fence. This small town of a population of 50 souls was divided just like Berlin. The tiny river Tannbach became the official border when Germany was divided up into 4 sectors after WW II. Unfortunately the Tannbach river happens to flow just through the middle of town, so one side of the river belonged to the American sector, which later became together with the French and British sector the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and the other side belonged to the Soviet sector, which eventually became the GDR. In 1952 the GDR started to construct a 3.60 meter high wall, and watch towers. Until 1989 the divided families could not even greet each other or wave.
11:30 am Departure.
12:45 pm Light lunch at the Museum Café followed by a visit of the Wagner Museum.
After many years of renovation “Wahnfried” the home of Richard and Cosima Wagner, is again open for visitors, and houses the Wagner museum. It is a fantastic museum that gives you a very good idea about the lives of Cosima and Richard, and of Siegfried Wagner their son, whose house is next door, and also on the mind set and ideas of them. We will also visit the garden where Cosima and Richard Wagner rest. The home is still furnished with some items Cosima and Richard Wagner choose. I quote the former German secretary of State, Hans-Dietrich Genscher: “Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth home “Wahnfried” is an outstanding cultural place, but also a symbol of German history – in its contradictoriness and entanglements.”
03:00 pm Departure.
04.45 pm Arrival in the Franken wine region and check-in at Hotel Zur Schwane in Volkach.
This hotel has a more than 600 year history of catering to guests. It was in 1404 that the Schwan family founded this hotel across from the village church. This beautiful hotel sits right in the center of the charming village of Volkach. The traditional, very refined restaurant Zur Schwane offers local specialities and seasonal dishes.
08:00 pm Dinner with wines from winery Zur Schwane at restaurant Zur Schwane.

DAY 7: Thursday, June 15

09:00 am Check out of hotel and departure.
09:30 am Cellar visit, vineyard visit, and tasting at winery Fürstlich Castell’sches Domänenamt in Castell, Franken.
The Fürstlich Castell’sches Domänenamt is one of the oldest wine estates in Germany. The vineyard sites were first mentioned in a document from 1266. The origins of the Castell family can be traced back to the year 1057. The Castell family was an influential force and reigned over a number of well-known places in Franconia. In 1901, the Count of Castell was promoted to the Prince of Castell, demonstrating the recognition of Castell by the royal family of Bavaria. Following World War II, Albrecht Prince of Castell-Castell – at the young age of 20 - took over the responsibility for the family and business side and developed – among other things – the Domänenamt to one of Germany’s largest private wineries, with 173 acres under vine in seven top vineyard sites; nearly all in sole ownership. All vineyards are situated on the slopes below the castle and are planted mainly with Silvaner (40%,), and Müller-Thurgau (21%). The Castell family was instrumental in introducing the Silvaner grape – originally from an area that is now Slovenia – to Franken in 1659. Today, Prince Castell is the head of the family, while his son Erbgraf Ferdinand (Hereditary Count) manages the winery and all other business ventures.
12:00 pm Winepairing luncheon at restaurant Weinstall, which is part of the Fürstlich Castell’sches Domänenamt
01:30 pm Departure.
02:30 pm Cellar visit, and tasting at Winzerhof Stahl in Auernhofen, Franken.
With 3 out of 5 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Germany 2017, Winzerhof Stahl belongs to the elite of winemakers in Germany. Christian Stahl belongs to the generation of young, unconventional winemakers that stir up the establishment of the wine scene in Germany. When he took charge of his parent’s winery 10 years ago, the vineyard area totaled 2 hectares. Within a decade, he was able to grow the winery to 20 hectares of pristine vineyard sites. When Christian took over, the winery was not even mentioned in Germany’s wine guides. Within a decade, he received 3 grapes in Germany’s leading WineGuide. In 2012, Christian Stahl was Falstaff (the leading Austrian wine and life style magazine) Winemaker Newcomer of the Year 2012.
04:30 pm Departure.
17:30 pm Arrival in Würzburg, and check-in at Hotel Greifensteiner Hof.
This hotel has the best location in all of Würzburg. It is right in the center of the beautiful old town, but on a quiet side street. There also is a wonderful restaurant on the premises.
08:00 pm Concert in the Imperial Hall of the Würzburg Residence.
Concert with the Bamberger Symphoniker, and soprano Christiane Karg in the Kaisersaal of the Würzburg Residence:
Mozart, Concert Aria KV 528;
Rihm, “Lichtes Spiel – A Summer Piece for Violin and Small Orchestra”;
Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Concert Aria op.94;
Mozart, Sinfonie 41, CV-Dur KV 551 “Jupiter”C

DAY 8: Friday, June 16

09:15 am Check-out at hotel and departure.
09:30 am Visit of the Würzburg Residence.
This imperial residence is one of the largest in Europe and one of the most homogeneous and most extraordinary Baroque castles. The palace was built in 1720 by the Prince Bishop, Johann Philip Franz von Schönborn who wanted to construct a residence worthy of his position as absolute monarch. Among other gifted artists and craftmen he hired Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, the greatest fresco painter of the 18th century to paint the ceiling of the grand staircase. The artists and craftmen decorated the residence in a joint creative undertaking and created the Würzburg “Rococo”, the most exhuberant of all the variations of this style in Germany. In 1814 Würzburg became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The Bavarian king made Munich the capital and his residence. Thus Würzburg was no longer a center of power.
10:45 am Cellar tour and tasting at winery Juliusspital (VDP) in Würzburg, Franken.
Juliusspital is Germany’s second largest winery with 425 acres under vines in the most renowned sites of Franken, and one of the always top rated wineries. The appeal of the wines lies in their fascinating diversity. This winery is part of the charitable foundation Juliusspital, which was founded more than 430 years ago by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, and still today comprises among other institutions a hospital, a hospice, and care facilities for the elderly and the poor. In order to equip the foundation with the necessary financial means Julius Echter founded, among other business entities, a winery to guarantee steady income. The beautiful historical cellars - which we will have the opportunity to visit-, with the old traditional wooden casks, are still in use for fermentation and aging.
12:45 pm Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant and wine tavern Juliusspital.
02:00 pm Departure from Würzburg and rive to the Württemberg wine region.
03:30 pm Visit and tasting at winery Fürst Hohenlohe Öhringen (VDP) in Öhringen–Verrenberg, Württemberg.
As Germany’s oldest family business continuously in the possession of the same owner, the Duke zu Hohenlohe-Öhringen, the Hohenlohe-Öhringen family can look back to the year 1253 as the founding year of their viticulture history. The 27th generation is now at the helm and today they manage 42 acres of the solely owned site Verrenberger Verrenberg. The vineyard is planted with the traditional Württemberg varietals Lemberger, and Riesling, and also with Spätburgunder, some Weissburgunder and Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Since 2008 the vineyards have been cultivated according to organic guidelines. The goal is to produce distinctive wines that not only expresses varietal character, but also that of their origin. Their 2013 Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese was awarded the Gold Medal at the 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards. This estate was the pioneer in creating cuvées in Württemberg. Amore than 20 years ago Siegfried Röll, their winemaker in those days, toured Bordeaux and on the long drive back home he began wondering why they did not produce a Bordeaux type blend at home. He blended the local variety Lemberger with traditional Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and voilà this cuvée came out beautifully. This was in 1986. They named the cuvée "Ex Flammis Orior" after the inscription on the family coat of arms. We had the pleasure drinking the fabulous 2008 "Ex Flammis Orior" during last year's wine tour when Burkhard Schork, chef of the wonderful gourmet restaurant 'Schiller's' spoiled us with this bottle during dinner.
05:15 pm Departure.
06:00 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel Gästehaus Weingut Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder in Schozach.
06:30 pm Visit and tasting at winery Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder (VDP) in Schozach, Württemberg.
This winery can look back to more than 600 years of history. It came into being when Count Eberhard von Württemberg gave Knight Friedrich Sturmfeder a piece of land in the forest of Schozach in fief for his services to him. The estate in Schozach sits in the midst of an ideal wine-growing terrain, the excellent quality of which was discovered centuries ago. Current owner is Kilian Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder, a trained winemaker who took over in 1996, the 600th anniversary of the property. He says: „My philosophy is easily explained. The vineyard is the origin, in which the treasure is sought and unearthed with all efforts at the right harvesting time. Healthy, essence-rich grapes are vinified into varietal wines or presented in a composition of a cuvée.”
08:00 pm Dinner (beverages on your own) at restaurant Rebstöckl in Schozach.
09:30 pm Back at hotel.

DAY 9: Saturday, June 17

09:00 am Check out at hotel.
09:30 am Visit and tasting at winery Wachstetter (VDP) in Pfaffenhofen, Württemberg.
The Wachstetter family have cultivated vines for generations. Since 1990 Rainer Wachstetter has been responsible for the winery and brought the estate to new heights. The 40 acres of vineyards are on the steep, south-facing slopes of the Heuchelberg near Pfaffenhofen. His goal is to produce unadorned wines that are unmistakable and authentic. The red wines (more than 50% of his production) age several months in oak casks and are unusually bottled unfiltered. His Lemberger (Blaufränkisch in Austria) always gets high remarks in wine competitions.
11:30 am Departure.
12:30 pm Winepairing luncheon at the restaurant of Schlosshotel Monrepos.
The historic flair of the 150-year old building, and a young kitchen team which interprets regional and international specialities in a new, playful way makes this restaurant very enjoyable.
02:30 pm Visit and tasting at Herzog von Württemberg (VDP) in Monrepos - Ludwigsburg, Württemberg.
The winery is located in the park next to the Schlosshotel. The art of winemaking at the House of Württemberg goes back to the 13th century. With 100 acres under vine it is the largest privately owned winery in Württemberg. Their vineyard sites are in the most prestigious parcels in Württemberg and tasting the Herzog von Württemberg portfolio is a high-class journey through the best of the best that the Württemberg wine region has to offer. Owner is H.R.H. Carl Duke von Württemberg and he makes sure that old tradition and modern knowledge go hand in hand to produce outstanding wines. In 1981 a new, modern winery was constructed in the romantic park of the beautiful Castle Monrepos. We will be received by Michael, Duke of Württemberg.
03:15 pm Departure
04:00 pm Check-in at Hotel Unger in Stuttgart. Wind down before the performance. Dinner is on your own.
07:00 pm Ballet at the Stuttgart Theater.
Stuttgart Ballet Company: “Romeo and Juliet”, Ballet in three parts by John Cranko based on the play by William Shakeaspeare. Music by Sergej Prokofjew. World Premiere at the Stuttgart Ballet on December 2, 1962.cert with the


DAY 10: Sunday, June 18

09:30 am Departure.
10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Beurer (VDP) in Kernen-Stetten, Remstal, Württemberg.
In the Württemberg wine region the majority of wine growers sell the grapes to cooperatives and do not vinify themselves. The Beurer family have been wine growers for generations and worked with the cooperative until 1997 when the son Jochen Beurer started to make his own wine. His dad was even the chairman of the cooperative and it was no easy decision to leave the cooperative to start out on your own. Since then Jochen Beurer developed quite a reputation, particularly for his Rieslings. In 2003 he started to convert the winemaking process to biodynamic viticulture. In the meantime he got certified by ECOVIN and Demeter. He produces wines full of character that feature among the best that Württemberg has to offer.
12:00 pm Departure.
01:15 pm Lunch with wine at restaurant Zum Alten Rentamt in Schwaigern, Württemberg.
This beautiful historic restaurant belongs to the winery Graf Neipperg. We will have traditional swabian cuisine meticulously prepared with local ingrediences. Of course we match the meal with excellent wines from the Graf Neipperg estate.
04:45 pm Arrival at Frankfurt International Airport.

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