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Rheinhessen-Touristik GmbH

Wine tip


Germany's biggest wine region encompasses more than a thousand rolling hills. As Rheinhessen's new generation of wine makers know, the region's low rainfall, warm summers and mild winters provide ideal conditions for producing outstanding rieslings. Silvaner, the grape traditionally grown in the region, is also making a comeback. The land area used for producing red wine has doubled in size over the last ten years, a boom principally fuelled by the popularity of dornfelder. When Rheinhessen wine makers began to champion fine wines, they focused on sekt, which has gained a substantial following in recent years.

A wine region celebrated in song, where Europe has its roots

Despite its name, Rheinhessen is in Rhineland-Palatinate, not Hessen. The region enjoys an average of 1,700 hours of sunshine a year and is Germany's biggest wine-growing region. 1,400 square kilometres are under vine in the area along the Rhine between Mainz, Worms and Bingen. Rheinhessen is the setting of the Nibelung saga, Germany's national epic, and the region's beauty has been celebrated in song for centuries.

Ingelheim imperial palace

Charlemagne, the `father of Europe', made the imperial palace in Ingelheim his base from which he exerted a major influence on the development of Europe. In the late 8th and early 9th centuries the emperor frequently held court in Ingelheim, often for long periods. Imperial diets were held in the palace and even after Charlemagne's death the court retained its importance. Ingelheim was where Emperor Barbarossa granted audiences to Hildegard von Bingen, the mystic whom he respected and whose advice he took. Parts of the palace are still in good condition, such as the aula regia, or assembly hall, the church and the throne room.

Nibelung fiddlers and secret underground passages

The lovely town of Alzey is proud of its association with the Nibelung saga, according to which Volker von Alzey, a fiddler and son of the town, performed for the Burgundian court. Alzey's medieval town centre, Renaissance town hall, fish market and the remains of its Roman fort span different eras in the last two millennia. By contrast, Oppenheim am Rhein boasts a huge maze of secret tunnels beneath the old quarter. Best known for its Gothic architecture, the town only rediscovered the system of cellars a few years ago. Some of them are five storeys deep and in the early Middle Ages they were used for storing beer and wine. Above ground, St. Katharine's church, St. Michael's chapel, the Oppenheim ossuary and Landskron Castle ruins are worth a visit.

Romantic gardens in Rheinhessen

The Rheinhessen Syndicate of Garden Guides offers tours of fifty gardens and parks in 35 locations. Most are private gardens whose owners have fulfilled their dreams of creating their own piece of paradise. They love nothing better than answering questions and talking about gardening. Some of the gardens have fixed opening hours, others welcome visitors on request.


An amazing network of sunken lanes running for 30 kilometres between metre-high loess walls has developed around Alsheim. In spring this remarkable landscape is filled with colonies of wild anemones and it also provides a habitat for rare animals and plants such as hog fennel. There are six different routes for exploring the sunken lanes.

Walkers and wine lovers

The Rheinhessen wine region is extremely attractive walking country. The area around Nierstein offers particularly enjoyable walks, such as the path to the Brudersberg vineyard and the Riesling walking trail to Oppenheim. There are plenty of traditional wine growers' taverns along the way where you can take a break and taste the region's best wines.

Rheinhessen cuisine

Rheinhessen's food is always a perfect match for its excellent wines. Asparagus from the region is a firm favourite in the spring, while other specialities include spundekäs (well-seasoned cream cheese), woihinkelsche (the Rheinhessen version of coq au vin), and backesgrumbeere, a meat and potato dish. Vintner's taverns that open in the main wine season and serve traditional fare with their own wines are highly recommended. Many of them are in vaulted cellars which are also used as cultural venues all year round. Rheinhessen also boasts a wide range of gourmet restaurants with award-winning chefs.

Romance and charm

Of the many fantastic vantage points from the vine-clad hills, the view of the Rhine from the Roter Hang vineyard near Nierstein is probably the most spectacular.

Food and drink

Wine growers' taverns serving their own wines can be found all over the region. Typically, they serve snacks such as spundekäs (cream cheese) and backesgrumbeere (potato casserole).

History and tradition

Rheinhessen is associated with great names and events in world history, such as Johannes Gutenberg who invented the moveable-type printing press. The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz covers all aspects of the history of printing, books and writing.

Nature and scenery

The Rhine Cycle Route and the Selz Valley Cycle Route guide wine lovers through gently rolling hills and vineyards, from one vineyard guesthouse to the next, with magnificent Rhineland scenery along the way.