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Germany South / Alsace - ITINERARY

German Pinot Country - The Culinary South and Alsace

Discover Germany’s southern wine regions and fabulous Pinot Noir. Explore Baden, the southernmost and internationally fairly unknown region that produces outstanding Pinot Noirs (in German: Spätburgunder), and whites from Burgundy grapes and other varietals. We travel through the famous Black Forest to explore winemaking at Lake Constance. We will spend one night in an epicurean's dream destination in the Kaiserstuhl to indulge in true southern German hospitality and gourmet food. We will step across the Rhine River to compare the very different wines of the eastern (German) and western (French) Rhine valley and we will get a feel for beautiful, quaint Alsace with its picturesque wine villages dotted with half-timbered century old buildings. Of course we will also live the very French way of having an exquisite meal at a 2 Michelin-star restaurant. Our last night in Alsace we stay in Lembach just a stone throw from the German border at the Cheval Blanc where chef Pascal Bastian will spoil us. Enjoy the Pfalz and Rheinhessen with its gently rolling hills, sumptuous red and white wines, and a generation of young, ambitious, up and coming winemakers.

Baden • Alsace • Pfalz • Rheinhessen

Saturday May 12 - Sunday May 20, 2018
Accommodation: 8 nights:
Nights 1 + 2: Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13:

Hotel zur Rose in Überlingen, Bodensee (Lake Constance), Baden, a 3 star, family run historic hotel with totally modernized tastefully renovated rooms within a 3 minutes walk from the shore of Lake Constance. This hotel also boasts of a very good restaurant that serves traditional Baden fare.

Night 3: Monday, May 14:

Hotel Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, a 4 ½ star family run hotel and well-known address for a refined life style. With its 1 Michelin star restaurant and top notch winery it is an epicurean’s dream destination. It is listed in the association of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”.

Night 4: Tuesday, May 15:

Hotel Le Schoenenbourg in Riquewhir, Alsace, a 4 star hotel with a great outdoor pool, nestled at the foot of vine-covered rolling hills just outside of the city gate of Riquewhir, a true eye candy! This is one of the most charming, romantic Alsatian wine towns.

Night 5: Wednesday, May 16:

L'Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach, Alsace, a 4 star, beautiful place with pool and spa facilities close to the German border in Wissembourg run by Monsieur et Madame Bastian. Pascal Bastian is a 2 Michelin star chef and the restaurant is known for its refined cuisine known well beyond the Alsace region

Night 6: Thursday, May 17:

Hotel Ritter von Böhl in Deidesheim, Pfalz, a 3 star very unique guest house with a 700 year old history. From its foundation over 700 years ago, it continuously served as a ‘Hotel”. Yet it was only recently that the house was converted to a hotel in our definition of modern times: to provide lodging to the traveler. Since its foundation in the 13th century it served as a “Hotel Dieu”, a hospital and home for the sick, the poor, and the elderly. Still today it caters to the handicapped, and while we are in modern times, internet connection however can sometimes be very poor because the more than 1 meter thick old 700 year old walls obstruct the signal flow.

Nights 7 + 8: Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19:

Hotel Hilton in Mainz, a modern 5 star hotel situated on the edge of old town Mainz on the picturesque banks of the mighty Rhine River.

DAY 1: Saturday, May 12

MORNING

Departure by coach from Frankfurt am Main.

Visit at Weingut Heitlinger(VDP) and Weingut Burg Ravensburg (VDP) in Sulzfeld and Östringen-Tiefenbach, Kraichgau, Baden.

Burg Ravensburg can look back to more than 760 years of history. It is located in Sulzfeld southeast of Heidelberg in the Kraichgau region of Baden in close proximity to the Zabergäu region of Württemberg. The Württemberg influence is noticeable here since 30% of the vineyard area is planted with Lemberger (35% Riesling, 15% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Gris), Württemberg’s signature grape. In 2009 Burg Ravensburg cooperated with Heitlinger and today the joint property -run by the same management- is one of Germany’s largest environmentally operated wine estate. Weingut Heitlinger is a mere 15 minute car ride west of Ravensburg. Here 90% of the almost 200 acres of vineyards is planted with the five Burgundy grapes and the rest with Riesling.

LUNCH

Wine pairing lunch at Restaurant Heitlinger belonging to Weingut Heitlinger.

Typical German faire is served here which perfectly matches the wines.

AFTERNOON

Drive to Lake Constance. On our way we will cross the Black Forest and enjoy beautiful views.

Arrival and check-in at Hotel zur Rose, Überlingen, Bodensee (Lake Constance), Baden.

The hotel is in the center of town only steps away from the shore of Lake Constance.

EVENING

The evening is free for you to explore Überlingen on your own. Dinner on your own.


DAY 2: Sunday, May 13

MORNING

Guided visit of Schloss Salem.

Salem castle is an impressive ensemble of majestic buildings. It was founded as a Cistercian Abbey in 1134, when Bernard de Clairvaux ventured from his home base Burgundy to establish Cistercian monasteries on the eastern banks of the Rhine river. In a very short time Salem Abbey developed into one of the leading abbeys in southern Germany. Salem experienced a second period of affluence during the Baroque era. It is fascinating to see the Gothic buildings, in particular the Minster decorated with its unique alabaster plasterwork and the ornately Baroque style decorated rooms in the Palace. After secularization during the Napoleonic era Schloss Salem came into the possession of the Markgraf von Baden, the ruler of the Kingdom of Baden, and the ownership has not changed since then. Schloss Salem is also home of the prestigious boarding school Schule Schloss Salem. Kurt Hahn, a respected educator, who later was instrumental in establishing the International School system and the IB (International Baccaleurate) founded the school in 1920 with support of Prince Max of Baden. The student dorms are in the former monk cells and the monk’s spirit and simplicity of life can still be felt today.

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at the wine tavern belonging to the Winery Markgraf von Baden on the Salem castle grounds.

The town of Salem is basically the castle and its surroundings. The tavern is located on the beautiful castle grounds.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at winery Markgraf von Baden (VDP) at Salem, Baden.

As it was customary the Cistercian monks produced wine to support themselves and the abbey. Thus this winery has a long history. This winery comprises two estates, the bigger one at Schloss Salem on the northern shore of Lake Constance and the one in the Ortenau, at Schloss Staufenberg. The two estates together with 335 acres of vineyards make for one of the largest privately owned wine estates in Germany. Owner is HRH Prince Bernhard von Baden (see picture). The aristocratic dynasty, ones the rulers of the Kingdom of Baden can look back to more than 600 years of viticulture tradition. It was the Markgraf von Baden who as early as in the 15th century introduced the first wine law and innovative viticultural practices. We have the opportunity to taste wines from both, the Salem estate and the Staufenberg estate and it will be interesting to see the difference due to the very different soils and climatic conditions.

Cellar visit and tasting at Staatsweingut Meersburg in Meersburg, Bodensee (Lake Constance), Baden.

The Staastweingut Meersburg is in a beautiful castle sitting majestically on a hill overlooking Lake Costance. It basically never changed ownership: it has always been in the hands of the rulers of Baden. Wine production in Meersburg has been first documented in 1210. This year also marks the establishment of the Staatsweingut Meersburg. However in those days it was the winery of the Prince-Bishop of Constance who reigned over Baden. For 600 years the winery stayed in he hands of the Prince-Bishops. In 1802 Napoleon secularized all church properties and ownership changed to the Markgraf von Baden who was the ruling King of Baden in those days. The Grand Duchy of Baden remained a sovereign country until it joined the German Empire in 1871. After the revolution of 1918, and the abolishment of the monarchy in Germany, Baden became part of the Weimar Republic as the Republic of Baden. The Republic of Baden as the successor of the Grand Duchy of Baden took over the winery (but it did not take over Schloss Salem, which became the private property of the Markgraf of Baden). After 1945 Baden and Württemberg were merged to the Republic of Baden-Württemberg, which is the current owner of the Staatsweingut Meersburg. Today the vineyard area totals 150 acres, planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Traminer and Regent. The Staastweingut has parcels in famous vineyard sites around Lake Constane such as Bengel, Chorherrnhalde, Lerchenberg, Jungfernstieg and Rieschen (Meersburg – monopole holding), Olgaberg – highest vineyard in Germany at 520 metres above sea level (Hohentwiel), as well as Ritterhalde (Gailingen).

Visit of the Basilica Birnau.

The Basilica Birnau is a Baroque jewel and sits majestically on a hill high above Lake Constance. It was built in 1749 and has been a pilgrimage church since then. The interior is richly decorated in the Rococo style and the church is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in all of Germany, not least because of its unrivalled position overlooking Lake Constance and its surrounding vineyards. The church is still in the hands of the Cistercian monks.

EVENING

Back at hotel in Überlingen

The evening is free for you to relax, since we have an early start tomorrow. Soak in the incredible charm of Lake Constance. Dinner on your own.


DAY 3: Monday, May 14

MORNING

We leave Lake Constance and drive again cross the Black Forest to arrive in the Rhine plains.

Visit and tasting at Weingut Ziereisen in Efringen, Markgräfler Land, Baden.

The Ziereisen winery is in the Markgräfler Land, the far southwestern corner of Germany where the country borders both Switzerland and France. Winery Ziereisen sits right at the Switzerland – Germany border. Hanspeter Ziereisen and his family are now the fourth generation at the helm of the winery. This family are fanatically dedicated winemakers and are rewarded with four grapes in the 2018 Gault-Millau wine guide. They make very interesting and age worthy red wines made in Germany. Most are Pinot Noirs but their fascination with Syrah led to the production of one Syrah wine. The house wine is a Gutedel. Gutedel is more known under the name „Chasselat“ or „Fendant“ as the signature white grape varietal of Switzerland. Gutedel has also become the signature grape of its close neighbor the Markgräfler Land. It is regarded as oldest known grape variety, grown in Egypt 5000 years ago. In the late 18 hundreds the Chasselat grape was brought from Vervey, Switzerland to the Markgräfler Land.

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant Der Löwen in Staufen.

Staufen is an incredibly picturesque village with the romantic Schlossberg, with it’s ruin on top and vineyards on the slopes. Time seems to have come to a standstill here.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at Weingut Martin Waßmer in Bad Krozingen, Markgräfler Land, Baden.

The winery Martin Waßmer is also located in the Markgräfler Land. Winemaking in this region can be traced back to the late 13-hundreds. The Waßmer family have been involved in wine growing for many generations but it was only in 1997 that Martin Waßmer started to make his own wine and founded the Martin Waßmer winery. He specialises in the Burgundy grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris. He also grows and produces Chardonnay, Muscat, Gewürztraminer – a nod to neighboring Alsace- and of course Gutedel. Winemaking is traditional, with only natural yeasts used for the slow, long fermentations, and the wines are all aged in barrel with the top cuvées in Burgundian barriques for up to 18 months, with a minimal filtration before bottling. The 2018 Gault-Millau wine guide awarded Winery Waßmer with four grapes.

Check in at Hotel Schwarzer Adler, in Oberbergen.

This hotel and its restaurant run by Bettina and Fritz Keller is an epicurean's dream destination for foodies and wine aficionados in all of Germany, as well as of neighboring Alsace and Switzerland.

EVENING

Dinner at restaurant Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden.

This 1-Michelin star traditional restaurant run Bettina and Fritz Keller offers a harmonious mix of Baden country charm and elegance. The menu is a successful marriage of French and German cuisine reflecting the frontier on the nearby Rhine River, which is the border between Germany and France. The impressive wine list boasts 2 600 different wines, including an excellent selection of bottles from Baden and a mouthwatering list of wines from France, in particular from Bordeaux. The Kellers are Bordeaux lovers and also Bordeaux wine merchants. Their vaulted storage cellar hewn into the rocks across the street makes your palate water when looking at the aisles of Bordeaux cases with only the top names on them. If time permits, Melanie Wagner, the fantastic sommelière of the Schwarze Adler- just received the sommelier of the year award - will show us the cellar. After dinner we just need to climb the stairs to our rooms and dream about the outstanding food and wines we had.


DAY 4: Tuesday, May 15

MORNING

Visit and tasting at Weingut Hunn in Gottenheim, Tuniberg, Baden.

Owners Kilian and Martina Hunn – once the wine queen of Baden - are both passionate winemakers. The Tuniberg and Kaiserstuhl regions are the warmest wine regions with the most sun shine hours in Germany - and one of the most beautiful wine regions. The Mediterranean climate offers ideal growing conditions for the Burgundy grape. Three quarters of the 60 acres of vineyards belonging to the Hunn winery are panted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Kilian and Martina Hunn produce powerful wines with finesse and grace that perfectly reflect the limestone soils and climate of the Tuniberg.

Leaving Germany and going to France.

We will leave the Baden area on the right bank of the Rhine River, at the foot of the Black Forest Mountains, and cross over the Rhine river into France, into the Alsace region. This lies just across from Baden on the left bank of the Rhine at the foot of the Vosges Mountains. Last year we passed by a line of tractors belonging to small growers queueing up to deliver their grapes at the local wine cooperative.

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at Le Jardin des Saveurs in Guebwiller-Murbach, Alsace.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at Domaine Schlumberger in Guebwiller, Alsace.

The Schlumberger family can trace its roots back to Swabia, a wine region in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the 16th century a branch of the family moved to Alsace to become tanners. They eventually settled in Mulhouse and became a prosperous family. In 1810 Nicolas Schlumberger moved to Guebwiller and founded a factory of fabric machines. He also bought 50 acres of vineyards and hence, the Domaine Schlumberger came into existence. Today there are two generations working at the Domaine side by side: Alain Beydon-Schlumberger (6th generation) and Severine and Thomas Schlumberger (7th generation). And today – some 200 years after the start- the vineyard area has increased to 350 acres. The vineyard is unique in Alsace: 175 acres -half of the vineyards - are classified as Grand Crus. Because of the steep hillsides (some with slopes of 50 degrees), animals are used to work the land rather than agricultural machinery. The philosophy of the Schlumbergers is to work sustainably to leave healthy soils for the future generations. 75 acres are farmed biodynamically and the conversion to biodynamic farming will continue.

Visite and tasting at Domaine Albert Boxler in Niedermorschwihr, Alsace.

This small family domaine in the southern part of Alsace has a wine growing history going back to 1673. Yet it was only in 1946 that Albert Boxler started to bottle his wine himself and began to commercialize his wines under the label Domaine Albert Boxler. The beautiful label is also a family affair. It was a cousin of Albert Boxler who designed the labels which they still use today. In 1996 Albert’s son Jean-Marc took over and is now managing the estate with 33 acres under vine. The vineyards are around the charming hamlet of Niedermorschwihr and neighboring Turckheim. I love the Boxler wines, in particular the Rieslings. They are unique, precise, pure, and simply delicious. A couple week ago I was in New York attending the annual Rieslingfeier and I had the chance to taste the 2002 Riesling Grand Cu Brand: a devine experience!

EVENING

Arrival and check-in at Hotel Le Schoenenbourg in Riquewihr, Alsace.

Soak in the incredible beautiful medevial town of Riquewhir.

DINNER

Dinner (beverages on your own) at restaurant d'Brendelstub in Riquewihr.

This is a traditional restaurant serving excellent local specialities prepared under the direction of 1 Michelin star chef Jean-Luc Brendel. His Michelin starred restaurant “La Table du Gourmet” around the corner is one of my absolute favorites in all of Alsace (unfortunately closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

DAY 5: Wednesday, May 16

MORNING

Visit and tasting at Domaine Rolly-Gassmann in Rorschwihr, Alsace.

The Domain Rolly-Gassmann came into existence in 1967 with the marriage of Marie-Thérèse Rolly and Louis Gassmann. But Domaine Rolly-Gassmann is by no means a newcomer in Alsatian viticulture. The Gassmann’s can trace back their viticultural roots to 1611 and the Rolly family to 1676. Today the Domaine is managed by son Pierre Gassmann who already started to convert to biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Domaine Rolly-Gassmann has 150 acres of vineyards which is quite big for an Alsatian family domaine. There are no Grand Cru sites in and around Rorschwihr but several excellent ”lieu-dit”. The style of the Rolly-Gassmann wines is opulent, lush, ripe, and very often with a fair bit of residual sugar. The Domain’s philosophy is to wait for physiological and phenolic maturity in the fruit even with some botrytis. 10% of their production is Pinot Noir, and their Pinot Noir belongs to the best what Alsace has to offer.

We are driving north along the Alsation wine trail.

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant L'Auberge Alsacienne in Châtenois.

This is a traditional Alsatian restaurant serving local specialities.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at Domaine Pfister in Dahlenheim, Alsace.

Melanie Pfister is the 8th generation and the first women to head the Domaine Pfister. She trained in Bordeaux and studied oenology in Dijon before she retuned home to Dahlenberg. She intends to apply her knowledge and diverse experiences to continue to produce outstanding wines and to pursue the ongoing quest for perfection. Because of the proximity to Strasbourg – only 20 km west – the village of Dahlenheim has an exceptional wine-producing heritage. It served, first and foremost, as a veritable wine-cellar for Strasbourg's ecclesiastic institutions: the Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg as well as the Abbayes in the area, some of them also produced wine. The monks also travelled and brought back new vine varieties to Dahlenheim. In the 13-hundreds it was recorded that “noble wine” was produced. As early as 1780, the name Nicolas Pfister was recorded. He lived as a “bourgeois wine-grower” in Dahlenheim using the farm buildings that are still in place today.

Arrival and check in at Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Lembach, Alsace.

We have some time to decompress in this beautiful Auberge and to look forward to a fantastic dinner.

EVENING

Dinner (beverages on your own) at the 2 Michelin star restaurant Cheval Blanc in Lembach, Alsace.

Chef Pascal Bastian has trained at top restaurants in Switzerland and France– among them the 2 Michelin star restaurant La Plaissance in Saint-Emilion, before he acquired the Auberge Cheval Blanc and its restaurant in 2008. It did not take him long to be awarded with 1 Michelin star and shortly after with the 2nd Mchelin star.



DAY 6: Thursday, May 17

MORNING

We cross into Germany into the Pfalz wine region.

We will be greeted by the Deutsches Weintor (German Wine Gate), a landmark built in 1936 which greets the traveler when coming from France. It also marks the beginning of the German Wine Trail. You can climb 18 meters to the top and enjoy the view over the breathtakingly beautiful landscape south towards the Alsace and north towards the Pfalz.

Visit and tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker (VDP) in Schweigen, Pfalz.

This winery is unique. The vineyards are in two countries - Germany and France- due to the winery’s situation right on the German/French border. In this area the Rhine rift created many different soil types which presented favorable conditions for planting a wide variety of grapes. 60% of the vineyards are planted with the Burgundy grapes and Chardonnay; 22 % with Riesling and the rest with Silvaner, Muskateller, Traminer, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, and Portugieser. Friedrich Becker sees the wealth of nature as being the basis for his work, but more importantly, for him nature is an inspiration. He was the first of his family to distance himself from delivering the grapes to the local co-operative and decided to make his own wine. Right from the start he has been one of the best producers in the Pfalz and one of the best Pinot Noir producers in Germany. The Gault and Millau 2010 Best Red Wine of the Year is a Friedrich Becker Pinot Noir. The same instincts seem to have been transferred to his son Friedrich Junior, who has taken over recently.

LUNCH

Lunch at restaurant Schweigener Hof with wines from Weingut Jülg.

Just across the street from the Schweigener Hof you find the winery Jülg. Like Becker their vineyards are also in Germany as well as in France. Karin Jülg runs the wine tavern which is known for outstanding traditional Pfälzer cuisine (unfortunately closed on Thursdays). In the mid 80s Werner Jülg converted the family winery from a low-end mass producing winery -so typical for the Pfalz in those days-, into a wine estate that produces outstanding wines of the highest quality. He is also known for his excellent Sekt making: the Blanc de Noir produced in the Method Champenoise with traditional Champagner grapes is absolutely delicious. Winery Jülg produces only dry wines mostly with traditional Burgundy grapes. After finishing his studies in oenology son Johannes is now also working in the winery to continue with the family tradition.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at Weingut Siener in Birkweiler, Pfalz.

Peter Siener is the third generation owner and winemaker at Weingut Siener. He took over from his father in 2000 and has since stepped hard on the accelerator to pursue quality with a vengeance. He also doubled the vineyard site and has holdings in two of the best vineyard sites of the southern Pfalz: the Kastanienbusch and the Mandelberg both in Birkweiler. He belongs to the generation of the young, energetic winemakers in Germany who follow new paths to only produce the best of the best quality. Besides his passion for his wines Peter Siener also loves cooking and is passionate about food. That explains the grip and power of his wines which are perfect to match with food.

EVENING

Arrival and check-in at Hotel Ritter von Böhl in Deidesheim, Pfalz.

The hotel is in the town center, so everything in Deidesheim is in walking distance.

Evening and dinner on your own. Take the time and explore Deidesheim, a small, picturesque village with half-timbered houses and rustic wine taverns as well as several gourmet restaurants. Time takes on a different meaning in this part of Germany; sipping a glass of wine, savoring delicious local specialties, that’s what is important. The former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who lived close by, made Deidesheim famous, as he took his powerful guests, such as Margaret Thatcher, the King and Queen of Spain, and Michail Gorbatschow, to Deidesheim to try the Saumagen, his favorite dish.


DAY 7: Friday, May 18

MORNING

Cellar tour and tasting at winery Reichsrat von Buhl (VDP) in Deidesheim, Pfalz.

The winery Reichsrat von Buhl can look back to a rich history. It was founded in 1849 by Franz Peter Buhl. He added the vineyards inherited by his wife, a member of the Jordan dynasty. These latter vineyards came from the break-up of the original Jordan estate into three parts, with the other two parts giving rise to what is today known as Geheimer Rat Dr. von Weingut Bassermann-Jordan and Weingut von Winning - Dr. Deinhard, all also in Deidesheim. Son Franz Armand Buhl inherited the estate. He was a member of the Reichstag and a friend of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Chancellor Bismarck’s famous quote "Dieses Ungeheuer schmeckt mir ungeheuer" this Ungeheuer tastes monstrously good, (Ungeheuer, means “monster” in english) helped make the Forster Ungeheuer vineyard site world-famous. In 1885, Franz Armand Buhl was awarded the title “Reichsrat” der bayerischen Krone, (The Pfalz belonged to the Kingdom of Bavaria in those days) hence the name of the winery. The Buhl wines were very famous and reached the upper price brackets in those days. At the official inauguration of the Suez Canal in 1869 a Buhl Riesling was served. Recently the tradition of making Sekt at the winery has seen a renaissance. Matthieu Kauffmann, enologist at the Champagne House Bollinger was hired to make Germany’s best Riesling Sekt. The first vintage, the 2013 Reichrat von Buhl Sekt, Brut was hyped as the best Sekt ever made in Germany and as close to a grand Champagne as it could get.

LUNCH

Lunch (beverages on your own) at restaurant Weinhaus Henninger in Kallstadt, Pfalz.

This is a very cosy wine tavern that serves excellent food and seasonal specialities.

AFTERNOON

Vineyard tour, cellar tour, and tasting at winery Battenfeld-Spanier (VDP) in Hohen-Sülzen, Rheinhessen.

Hans Oliver Spanier founded his own winery in 1993. It is situated in the southern-most tip of Rheinhessen, the Wonnegau. The 70 acres of vineyards are planted with 60% Riesling, 20% Pinot Noir, and the rest with Pinot Blanc and Silvaner. H.O. is an uncompromising winemaker and from early on he worked with respecting nature and the environment. In 1993 his winery became organic. Over the years he converted to biodynamic practices in the vineyards and cellar and since 2005 the winery works 100% biodynamically. The Wonnegau vineyards are transversed by thick, underground beds of limestone. For H.O. the Riesling acts best as translator that interprets the influence of the extremely lime-rich soils. I quote him: ”That’s what interests me: the spectrum of aromas of the stones and soils that lies beyond the fleeting sensation of fruit”.

EVENING

Arrival in Mainz and check in at the Hilton Hotel.

In Mainz - one of the ten Wine Capitals of the world - wine is ubiquitous. Discover the typical local wine taverns and have traditional Määnzer food such as Fleischwurst, Handkäs mit Musik, Nackesche. "Weck, Wurscht, and Woi" (bread rolls, sausages, and wine) that's the slogan of Mainz.

Supper and wine tasting at Ladendorf's Weinhaus in Mainz.

Roland Ladendorf, the owner of this unassuming wine bar is a dictionary when it comes to German wines. His knowledge is profound and the wines on his list are the best what Germany has to offer. Sylvia, his wife, prepares cold traditional dishes that go very well with the wines.


DAY 8: Saturday, May 19

MORNING

Visit and tasting at Weingut Wagner-Stempel (VDP) in Siefersheim, Rheinhessen.

Owner and winemaker Daniel Wagner is the 9th generation of this estate in Siefersheim, in the far northwestern corner of the Rheinhessen wine region. Weathered volcanic soil When Daniel took over he decided to build on the tradition of classic wine production and to pay special attention to the once famous vineyard sites Höllberg and Heerkretz that were somewhat under the radar for the past fifty years. The Siefersheim sites are carved out of volcanic hills and the weathered volcanic soil brings out phenomenal, well structured wines. Daniel’s thrive for precision and quality regularly gets awarded with 4 grapes in the Gault-Millau wine guide for Germany.

Visit and tasting at Weingut Schloss Westerhaus (VDP) in , Rheinhessen.

The Westerhaus castle from the 16th and 17th century high above the “imperial city of Ingelheim” -once a very important seat of Charlemagne- is visible from afar. In 1900, a son of famous car manufacturer Adam Opel bought the castle and winery. Today it is managed by the 4th generation of the Opel family, Countess and Count von Schönburg-Glauchau. It is a beautiful, truly stunning estate, surrounded by 40 acres of vineyards including the Monopol Grand Cru site Schloss Westerhaus. The VDP Grosse Lage (GG) wines of Riesling and Pinot Noir are the crown jewels at the top of the quality pyramid and the village wines show the marked influence of the vineyard’s calcerous clay soils.and winemaker Daniel Wagner is the 9th generation of this estate in Siefersheim, in the far northwestern corner of the Rheinhessen wine region. Weathered volcanic soil When Daniel took over he decided to build on the tradition of classic wine production and to pay special attention to the once famous vineyard sites Höllberg and Heerkretz that were somewhat under the radar for the past fifty years. The Siefersheim sites are carved out of volcanic hills and the weathered volcanic soil brings out phenomenal, well structured wines. Daniel’s thrive for precision and quality regularly gets awarded with 4 grapes in the Gault-Millau wine guide for Germany.

LUNCH

Lunch and wine at winery Schloss Westerhaus.

We will have different varieties of Flammkuchen with Schloss Westerhaus wines.

AFTERNOON

Visit and tasting at Weingut Knewitz in Appenheim, Rheinhessen.

There is hardly another winemaker as Tobias Knewitz who embodies the new generation of excellently trained, and ambitious winemakers of Rheinhessen. To describe his estate and his vision, I simply quote his website – I could not come up with something better: “An Estate by the Sea. In Rheinhessen? Of Course! 40 million years ago, anyways. During that epoch, the northern section of Rheinhessen known today as the Mainz Basin was actually part of the Tertiary sea. It was an age in which continents shifted, mountains rose from the ground and a large coral reef took shape in the place where we now live and our grapes grow. The reef has long since disappeared, of course, but its legacy remains — especially in the high limestone content of the soil it left behind. For us it is a true gift, with those limestone remnants serving as the distinctive foundation for our wines. Tasting their almost unbelievable life and energy, one is reminded that the greatest of Burgundian wines thrive on limestone as well. Each and every grape variety we grow at our estate flourishes in these ancient coral reefs. Riesling, as it turns out, is an unparalleled translator of this kind of soil. Appenheim serves as a confluence for those elements we love so much: our beloved limestone vineyards — Hundertgulden, Laurenziberg, and Steinacker — and our Riesling. We tend to our vines deliberately but conservatively, spending hundreds of hours in the vineyards each year. This philosophy of care and consistency ultimately helps the wines better tell their own story. A story of their origin and our obsession.”

EVENING

Back at Hilton Hotel in Mainz. The rest of the evening is free for you to discover Mainz on your own. Dinner on your own.

Mainz - one of the ten Wine Capitals of the world - wine is ubiquitous. Discover the typical local wine taverns and have traditional Määnzer food such as Fleischwurst, Handkäs mit Musik, Nackesche. "Weck, Wurscht, and Woi" (bread rolls, sausages, and wine) that's the slogan of Mainz.you desire to attend a very special, spiritual service every Sunday a “Stiftsamt” conducted by the Cardinal of Mainz with choir and organ concert takes place in the mighty, impressive 1000 year old cathedral.

DAY 9: Sunday, May 20

MORNING

Sightseeing tour through Mainz.

Everywhere you walk in Mainz, you step on ruins from Roman times. Every time when renovating, building, etc, construction workers stumble on Roman artifacts buried under layers of past century buildings.

Mainz is also the birth-place of Johannes Gutenberg, the man who gave the world the power to print and hence to develop our digital future. We will trace Johannes Gutenberg’s steps in Mainz.

If you desire to attend a very special, spiritual service every Sunday a “Stiftsamt” conducted by the Bishop with choir and organ concert takes place in the mighty, impressive 1000 year old cathedral.

LUNCH

Lunch and wine at restaurant Bootshaus in Mainz.

The Bootshaus sits right at the junction where the Main river enters the Rhine river. It is very relaxing to watch the cargo boats travelling up- and downstream and to enjoy a wine in the lawn chairs dotting the bank of the river.

AFTERNOON

Arrival at Frankfurt airport.

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