Wine country, full of wine bars and festivals

The castle church in Ober-Ingelheim on the Rhine is a special place. It sits between vineyards and narrow streets on the castle hill and is completely surrounded by a medieval fortress with massive high walls and towers. In the time of Charlemagne, noble families settled here to be near his imperial palace, and built this church over a thousand years ago. They are now buried in the side aisles of the church.

On some days of the year, this castle comes alive in a very special way. The smell of Flammkuchen and sausages fills the air inside the walls. The winemakers of Ingelheim set up their little stalls among the trees and serve up their best vintages and new wines. The wine lists are extensive, so making a decision is tricky, but visitors need not buy a whole bottle, instead they can opt for a little tasting glass so they can sample the silvaner, the riesling or the scheurebe before moving on to a dornfelder or pinot noir, or perhaps even an early-ripening variety. The fortress is floodlit at night to add to the magic of the location.

The Ingelheim red wine festival, which takes place every year at the end of September and beginning of October, is a popular event which is famous far and wide. So if you are making a trip of it, it is worth sorting accommodation early. While Rhine-Hesse, the largest wine-growing area in Germany, is dominated by white grapes, the winemakers in Ingelheim tend to focus on reds. So they dedicate a festival to them, one that begins with the crowning of the red wine queen. Over the days that follow, there is a programme of entertainment in the festival tents, with lots of wine tasting, and culminating with fireworks over the castle.

Ingelheim red wine festival at the castle church in Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

Ingelheim red wine festival at the castle church in Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

With its varied entertainment, stunning location and the excellent quality of its wine, the red wine festival has been designated by the local tourist board as an outstanding wine festival, an accolade only awarded to the very best events. These include the ‘Trullo in Flames’ festival in Flonheim, where the town’s trademark, an unusual little round house among the vines, is lit up in the evenings. The winemakers serve up their wines in the open air and entertain the guests as they wander from one station to the next. The next generation also have some great ideas, which they are successfully putting into practice: The Mainzer Weinsalon is a group of 20 young winemakers from the Rhine-Hesse region who hold regular after-work parties on the Rhine.

The ‘Rhine-Hesse EXCELLENT’ accolade is primarily awarded to wine bars with a great atmosphere, such as the Wasern estate wine bar, which is housed in the former Engelthal Monastery in Ingelheim. At the Eppelmann estate in the Selz valley, visitors to the first-floor wine bar can enjoy fabulous views over the ‘Elsheimer Blume’ wine-growing area. But whether or not they have panoramic views, are set within historic walls or are surrounded by modern architecture, the concept has to be right. It can be a single estate or a cooperative of winemakers operating a wine bar together. It is important that there is a good selection of quality wines, regular opening hours and knowledgeable advisors.

Some of these wine bars serve guests food as well as wine, and they nearly all host interesting events, from wine tasting to matched wines with meals, from spring strawberry festivals with wine recommendations to enjoy on the terrace to warming winter gluehwein parties. Together with all the wine festivals in the Rhine-Hesse region, there is a good reason to celebrate the cultural asset that is wine virtually every day.

Modern wine bar in Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

Wine tasting at a modern wine bar in Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

Vineyards near Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

Vineyards near Ingelheim, Rhine-Hesse

More leisure tips in Rhine-Hesse:

More information about holidays in Rhine-Hesse

Find out everything you need to know on events, attractions and other destinations in Rhine-Hesse at Rheinhessen-Touristik GmbH.

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