The healing powers of wine


Prince Elector Bohemond II lay in bed in his summer residence in Landshut Castle, burning up with a fever. There was no doctor or medicine that could touch the fever, until a vintner from Bernkastel brought him a barrel of wine. The power of the grape juice brought the Prince Elector back onto his feet, and he was so overjoyed that he named the vineyard from which his medicine came the ‘Bernkasteler Doctor’.

This legend has been passed down for centuries and is one of the tales you can hear during an entertaining guided tour with the Bernkasteler Doctor himself, in full costume. He leads his guests through the streets of the old town, past proud half-timbered houses and back in time. Even if you discount the miraculous healing of the Prince Elector, the village and the steep ‘Doctor Weinberg’ (Doctor vineyard) behind it have had a remarkable history, and the reputation of the wine is just as extraordinary. It is said to have been taken by British King Edward VII for medicinal purposes and also enjoyed by American President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

When Julius Wegeler, Privy Councillor and part-owner of Deinhard sparkling wine producers, bought around one third of the coveted plot in 1900, he paid the highest price ever paid for a vineyard in Germany to this day. Since then, none of the nearly seven-acre sloping plot has been sold, and only a small number of winemakers work the vineyards in order to preserve the excellent reputation gained by the Bernkastel ‘Doctor Weinberg’ Riesling.

On the Doctor wine tour with the Bernkastel Doctor through Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

On the Doctor wine tour with the Bernkastel Doctor through Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

But they are not the only ones around this spa resort producing outstanding wines. There are many excellent wine estates along the Moselle with traditions going back a long way. The Celts made wine here, as did the Romans around 2,000 years ago. For them, it was not just for enjoyment: they used the fermented grape juice for medicinal purposes, for example, as an antiseptic to treat wounds.

Landshut Castle with views over the town of Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Landshut Castle with views over the town of Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

It was also the Romans who, in the fourth century, built the impressive ‘Princastellum’ castle on the mountain above Bernkastel-Kues, after which the town was named. It stood in exactly the same place that the Prince Elector later stayed, as Landshut Castle was built on the foundations of the earlier castle and is now a station on the ‘Strasse der Römer’ Roman route. Landshut was later destroyed by a fire, but the ruins are now a popular destination affording wonderful views over the Moselle. It is a short walk from Bernkastel and the starting point for other lovely walks.

One of them leads to the Kueser Plateau, site of the spa garden for the healthy climate spa resort, where the air is especially good. The Moselsteig trail also leads through Bernkastel-Kues and on through spectacular sloping vineyards. Here too, the Romans have left their mark: they used ‘Mosel pole trellising’, which is the specialist term used for the unusual and laborious technique that involves securing two shoots of the vine to the stem in an arc shape.

View from Landshut Castle to Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

View from Landshut Castle to Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Wine tasting in the vaulted cellar of the Mosel-Vinothek in Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Wine tasting in the vaulted cellar of the Mosel-Vinothek in Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

But the vines of the region are not just there to admire, you should also sample the wines they are used to produce, ideally on your return to one of the friendly hostelries in Bernkastel-Kues. Although the wine can no longer strictly be considered medicinal, if enjoyed in moderation with a good meal, it is definitely good for the body and soul.

Boat trip on the idyllic Moselle near Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Boat trip on the idyllic Moselle near Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

More leisure tips in and near Bernkastel-Kues:


Bernkastel-Kues

Besides the wonderful Moselle experience, Bernkastel-Kues also offers its guests a range of relaxation options, from ayurveda to zen massage.

Wehlener ObstArtWeg at the Moselle

easy

3,7 km

2:00 h
The Wehlen orchards are, like the famous Wehlen vineyards on the opposite bank of the Moselle, a…

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3,1 km

1:00 h
Smell, touch, feel, hear and see. Hikers learn about the ecology of the forest and its importance…

Book a holiday in Bernkastel-Kues

Book your holiday in Bernkastel-Kues now and enjoy the friendliness and hospitality of your hosts.

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