10 charming, traditional wine festivals in Rhineland‑Palatinate

A convivial wine tasting with close friends or family is a great opportunity to get to know the best wines produced by individual vintners. But if you really want to delve deep into the culture and the flavours of a whole wine-growing region, then there is no better place to start than the wine festivals in the villages and towns of Rhineland‑Palatinate. Although even the smallest of places take to the streets, squares and alleyways every year to celebrate the grape harvest, there are a few communities who prefer to think a little bigger. They dress up in historical costumes, put on magnificent processions and hire local music groups, and sometimes there are even fairground rides and fireworks to showcase the local wine and, more importantly, the culture. We are happy to show you the best places to enjoy these Rhineland‑Palatinate event highlights between August and October.

1. Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim

We start with what is probably the largest wine festival in the world, the confusingly named Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt in the Palatinate! For nine days and nights from early to mid-September, the otherwise sleepy spa town on the German Wine Route puts on an impressive programme, with groups in traditional costume parading through the streets alongside marching brass bands, while the town’s dignitaries and regional wine royalty teem around the festival square near the graduation tower. By the evening at the latest, the melodious live music from the bands starts to merge with the friendly chatter and the thousands of bright lights from the market stalls, fairground rides and visitors. Virtually everywhere you look, there are stalls plying regional Palatinate specialities, not to mention some 300 still and sparkling wines from the whole region. There is bound to be a tipple or two for you to enjoy as you admire the evening’s spectacular of music and fireworks!

Toast at the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt, Palatinate

Toast with the traditional "Dubbeglas" at the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim, Palatinate

2. German Weinlesefest in Neustadt an der Weinstraße

The festival in Bad Dürkheim is barely packing up before the next big event dedicated to the liquid gold of the Palatinate opens its doors in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. From the end of September to the middle of October, it is time for the German Weinlesefest, incorporating highlights such as the fair, the w.i.n.e.FESTival and even the traditional coronation of the German Wine Queen from among the 13 candidates vying for the crown from all the wine-growing regions in Germany. At the end of the festivities, countless traditional and minstrel groups accompany spectacular floats and carriages through the town in the largest wine festival procession anywhere in Germany! Our tip: As most of the programme takes place near the railway station, arriving by train is an excellent option.

w.i.n.e.FESTival during the German Weinlesefest, Palatinate

Wine enjoyment at the w.i.n.e.FESTival as part of the German Weinlesefest in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Palatinate

3. Herbstmarkt in Landau

In mid-September, between the two big events in Bad Dürkheim and Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, there is time to head to the Landauer Herbstmarkt in a traditional winemaking village in the south of the Palatinate. With its big wheel, rollercoaster, merry-go-rounds and stalls, this fair is really all about the famous Palatinate hospitality. There is lots of swaying to the music, singing and laughter! All the Palatinate festivals are completely accessible so everyone can join in with the fun. There is no shortage of good food either. The roads taken up by the fair are jokingly known as ‘Fressgasse’ or ‘scoffing street’, offering original and modern interpretations of hearty Palatinate cuisine, while the region’s winemakers are only too happy to ply the exquisite results of their hard labour. The Südliche Weinstrasse boasts a whole host of different varieties, with Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Rivaner among the 71 white and 52 red grape varieties cultivated here – just the right level of diversity for a discerning palate!

Herbstmarkt Landau with wine village, Palatinate

View over the Herbstmarkt in Landau with wine village, which is one of the "Palatinate festivals for everyone", Palatinate

4. Weinfest der Mittelmosel in Bernkastel-Kues

It is not just in the Palatinate that they know how to celebrate grapes. Wine festivals are a constant feature of the late summer on the Moselle too. One example is the Weinfest der Mittelmosel in the charming wine-growing town of Bernkastel-Kues, famous for its picture-postcard market square and its ancient half-timbered houses. The five-day festival includes a procession, live acts, evening events and a firework display. Boredom is simply not an option. It is definitely worth taking a diversion along the 300-metre wine road, where winemakers from more than 20 different areas offer their Riesling wines for tasting. You can soak it up with all sorts of different refined and rustic dishes, while the bands and music clubs add their traditional or modern sounds to round off the mood. It is all simply perfect! 

Fireworks at the Weinfest der Mittelmosel Bernkastel-Kues, Moselle valley

Traditional high-altitude fireworks over Bernkastel-Kues for the Weinfest der Mittelmosel, Moselle valley

5. Moselle Festival in Winningen

The Moselle Festival in Winningen is said to be the oldest wine-making festival in Germany and is an absolute must for wine lovers. It takes place on the Moselle from the last week of August to the first week of September. This pretty village full of tradition and local colour is surrounded by terraced vineyards, and is the ideal spot to experience the history of the region close-up. For 10 days, the narrow streets and open squares are flooded with visitors from all over the world enjoying a morning tipple by or even on the water, visiting the market stands, listening to tales from the locals in the afternoon and partying into the night with the concerts and live music. At the end of the Moselle Festival, the river is lit up by magical lights as the fireworks shoot up from the hills above the water towards the skies, illuminating the steep slopes, the vines and the riverbanks.

Wine queen at the Moselle Festival in Winningen, the oldest wine festival in Germany, Moselle valley

The wine majesties of Winningen with traditional costume group at the Moselle Festival in Winningen, Moselle valley

6. Weinmarkt im Stadtpark in Mainz

While you can enjoy the historic ambience of the half-timbered villages along the Moselle, Rhine-Hesse invites you to the Weinmarkt im Stadtpark in the lush green park at the heart of Mainz. Among the flowers, shrubs and trees, there are alleyways lined with pavilions, tents and stalls that are full of regional winemakers and exhibitors showcasing their wares. The craft market in the charming atmosphere of the rose garden boasts handmade jewellery, pottery and wood carvings. The walkabout wine tasting is a popular option for new arrivals at the wine market. You can stroll around the park at your leisure and sample nine selected wines from winemakers at different stands. There is a short programme of events including a classic car rally, a culture trail and live music, ensuring your time in the green of the Mainz Stadtpark is both interesting and relaxing!

Weinmarkt im Stadtpark in the state capital Mainz, Rhine-Hesse

Cozy atmosphere at the Weinmarkt im Stadtpark at Mainz, Rhine-Hesse

7. Rotweinfest AUSGEZEICHNET in Ingelheim

Not far from the regional capital is the little town of Ingelheim, whose Rotweinfest AUSGEZEICHNET, set against the historic backdrop of the floodlit mountain church, is one of the loveliest wine festivals in Rhine-Hesse and perhaps even in the whole state. Over nine days towards the end of September, the winemakers of Ingelheim showcase the year’s best wines inside the walls of the medieval castle complex. There are four stages, featuring varied but always catchy live music, heart-stopping rides and a range of different stands allowing you to sample the local food and wines. Every year, the highlight of the festival is the Lord Mayor’s Pinot wine tasting, where 15 selected Pinot wines are perfectly paired with wonderful dishes and served in the festival marquee. It is a real treat for all the senses!

Rotweinfest AUSGEZEICHNET at the castle church of Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

At the castle church in Ingelheim traditionally the Rotweinfest AUSGEZEICHNET, Rhine-Hesse

8. Binger Winzerfest AUSGEZEICHNET in Bingen

The Binger Winzerfest at the intersection of the Rhine and the Nahe is another Rheinhessen-AUSGEZEICHNET event. In early September, the people of Bingen celebrate the skills of their winemakers and showcase the best of the local wine estates for a whole 11 days, making it the longest wine festival on the Rhine. But there is an extensive programme of events to ensure time just flies by. Every day, there is live music, with lots of firework displays lighting up both Klopp Castle and the banks of the Nahe, and a traditional procession rolling gently and elegantly through the town centre. There is even a funfair promising entertainment and adventure near the Hindenburg-Anlage, stalls serving Rhine-Hesse specialities on the market square and the festival wine tasting, complete with a refined multi-course menu. You could almost forget that it is all about the liquid gold from the grapes, but the winemakers of Bingen have thought about that too and put on one of the largest open-air wine tastings in Rhine-Hesse, giving you ample opportunity to discover your new favourite wine.

Toast with wine at the Binger Winzerfest, Rhine-Hesse

Socializing and enjoying wine at the Winzerfest in Bingen, Rhine-Hesse

9. Weinmarkt in Oberwesel

From Bingen, the gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site, the next step is to Oberwesel in the heart of the romantic river valley, with its countless castles, steep slopes and awe-inspiring rock formations. At the traditional Oberweseler Weinmarkt, you can stand amid the vine leaves around the historic market square with more than 150 different wines, sparkling wines and spirits to choose from, plus a wide range of local delicacies to enjoy. But early September is not just the time for wine in Oberwesel. While enjoying the treats for the taste buds on the market square, you can also admire the famous Rhine in Flames over the waters of the Rhine, with inspirational music seeming to ring out through the whole valley and an extravagant top-notch firework display from the hilltops above the Middle Rhine Valley. The steep slopes with their rocky peaks, rows of trees and vines are bathed in almost mystical light, and this spectacular view becomes even more unforgettable with a glass of wine in your hand!

Fireworks at Rhine in Flames in Oberwesel, Romantic Rhine

On the wine market weekend, the Rhine in Flames event with fantastic fireworks takes place in Oberwesel, Romantic Rhine

10. Ahrweiler Weinwochen in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

A little less famous but no less popular are the Ahrweiler Weinwochen in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, which take place in the town centre in the first two weeks of September. The elegant marketplace in the shadow of the imposing parish church, surrounded by the historic city walls, becomes a pure paradise for the taste buds, especially for those who enjoy a drop of red, as the Ahr valley is the largest contiguous red wine-growing region in Germany and Ahrweiler is considered the red wine capital of the region. It is no surprise, even the wine queen here is called Burgundia in a nod to the valley’s favourite varietal, Spätburgunder, also known as Pinot Noir. You can enjoy not only the outstanding wines, the fine food and the programme of music, but also the fabulous winemakers’ procession snaking through the streets of the town centre past cafés, restaurants and ice cream parlours, some of them in wonderfully preserved half-timbered houses. It is a lovely way to enjoy what Rhineland‑Palatinate has to offer!

Wine enjoyment at the Ahrweiler Weinwochen, Ahr Valley

Delicious wine tasting at the Ahrweiler Weinwochen in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr Valley

More excursion tips around wine:

Wine festivals

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

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