The culmination of the wine year

People are sitting around little tables on the grass and enjoying the sunny October weather. They are listening to the laid-back beats of a jazz band playing on the square in front of them, while chatting and clinking their glasses. The waft of Flammkuchen hangs in the air. What better way to relax and enjoy a drop of the local wine and the culture that goes hand and hand with it!

The German Wine Festival in Neustadt an der Weinstraße provides the perfect atmosphere for everyone. Next to the Mediterranean garden with palm and fig trees on Hetzelplatz, a historic ‘Spiegelpalast’ marquee is set up, complete with a ‘Bon Vivant’ lounge and two magnificent bars where staff serve more than 100 different wines from Neustadt, the Palatinate region and all over the world. You can enjoy them in peace in one of the cosy booths between the wooden columns and order a selection of fine cheeses to go with them.

Things get livelier as you head towards the station. There is a merry-go-round on the festival square and the little half-timbered stalls provide sustenance for visitors in the form of local specialities, plenty of sausages and no shortage of drinks. Big groups of people stand around chatting, laughing and enjoying the atmosphere, while others are dressed up in their finery as they head over the square towards the town hall, which is the venue for a special wine tasting every year and also where the German Wine Queen is crowned.

The wine festival in Neustadt is just one of many celebrated in the Palatinate region. They are all lively occasions and visitors from outside are always welcome. People will shuffle up to make space. After all, the more people are sitting around a table, the more entertaining it gets. Everyone drinks, eats and laughs together, and chats about life in this lovely area in general and about the local wines.

Rides on the fair at the German Wine Festival in "Neustadt an der Weinstrasse", Palatinate

Rides on the fair at the German Wine Festival in "Neustadt an der Weinstrasse", Palatinate

Enjoy wine at "Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt" in Bad Dürkheim, Palatinate

Enjoy wine at "Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt" in Bad Dürkheim, Palatinate

The oldest wine festival in the Palatinate has a name that could confuse visitors: the roots of the Wurstmarkt, which literally translates as the ‘sausage market’, go back to the 15th century. The locals entertained the pilgrims and festival-goers who had travelled to the pilgrimage church on the Michaelsberg outside of town for the church consecration festival. Every September, 600,000 visitors now head to the Brühlwiese to celebrate the Wurstmarkt, one of the largest wine festivals in the world. There is also a big funfair and plenty of opportunities to taste various rieslings from the Palatinate region and other products from local winemakers.

‘Kerwe’ is a local term for church consecration, which is where the Weinkerwe in Deidesheim gets its name. The event has changed over the years, with winemakers and cooperatives given permission to serve wine in the Weingasse, and it is now considered one of the most important festivals in the region.

Every year, the season begins with the almond blossom festival in Gimmeldingen, a district of Neustadt an der Weinstraße.  As of March, the pink blossom of the almond trees can be seen all over the Palatinate region, giving the landscape a colourful new face and marking the end of the cold winter months. In Gimmeldingen, this is celebrated with the crowning of an almond blossom queen and a glass of wine, the first of the year enjoyed in the open air.

Almond trees at Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Palatinate

Blooming almond trees at Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Palatinate

Throughout the summer, there are then a series of lively wine festivals culminating in events held in various villages in October in honour of the year’s new wine, known as Federweisser or Rauscher.  This grape must speciality is drunk half way through the process of turning grape juice into wine, so can taste different every week. But whatever the occasion, if you happen to chance upon one of these wine festivals, you will not regret deviating from your original plans and sitting down for a while to enjoy a glass of fine wine and some good company.

More leisure tips in the Palatinate region:

More information about holidays in the Palatinate

Find out everything you need to know on events, attractions and other destinations in the Palatinate at the Pfalz.Touristik.

Wine festivals

The wine festivals in Romantic Germany are a pure pleasure, as diverse as the grapes that are grown and pressed here.

Palatinate Card: The ticket to your Palatinate adventure

Enjoy an "all-inclusive" holiday with the Palatinate Card: You can use the local public transport and enjoy more than 100 attractions throughout the region free of charge for your entire stay.

Romantic Cities: Trip to Speyer

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