Something I should have done years ago is to take a tour through the vinyards and wineries in the Rheingau region. Living in Frankfurt can make you lazy though because everything seems to come to your doorstep. There are wine markets and winebars all over the place.
But the Rhein valley has been famous for many years for its many wines and especially for the Riesling white grapes. So when Jerome from BottleStops contacted me and offered me the chance to tag along on a winetasting tour for the weekend, I just couldn’t say no. So, thanks to Jerome’s invite, I got the unique chance to join 5 other bloggers (a unique experience in its own right…!) in exploring Mainz and the Rheingau.
I never really thought tour guides were that useful, I tend to prefer to figure it out as I go, but I have to admit that getting help from someone who knows the regions was really effective. Firstly, if you are planning to drink your way through the Rheingau, you need someone who is willing to drive you around and not drink! Thanks, Jerome, for taking a hit for the team 😉
More importantly though, we had a really well organised tour of local wineries that we wouldn’t have access to without inside knowledge along with all of the historical and specialist wine guidance that you would expect from a tour guide.
We actually started off with an unusual introduction from a local start up called Sechzisch Vierzisch (sixty forty) who offer a drink called Weinschorle which is a mix of local Riesling wine with fizzy water. Adding a bit of basil or orange with rosé was suprisingly good! Probably better in the summer though.
From there we went straight to the old town of Mainz for a tour and to meet with the head of the local winery association who talked us through the finer points of Winzerglühwein. Fun fact is that not all glühweins are equal. The sweet stuff you normally get at the Christmas market is actually not the best sort. Now I know this is coming after the Christmas markets are all shut for the year (sorry about that!) but there are a wide variety of Glühweins on offer out there. The best you can get is Winzerglühwein and in order to be sold under this name, the Glühwein must have been produced from grape by the seller and can not be watered down or have juice added. Only natural sugars can be used as a sweetener.
This means that to get Winzerglühwein you have to go to a market where a proper wine producer has a stand which is not the case at most places. Mainz was perfect though thanks to the city’s wine history.
After this, the main tour (and drinking began). The key idea of a wine tasting tour of course is to drink lots of different types of wine which we managed quite nicely. Jerome put us in the back of a van and took us to two different wineries, one large mass producer – Kloster Eberbach – producing 2 million bottles a year, and one small producer – Georg Breuer – producing 200,000 bottles.
I’m not going to bore you with a description of the many, many wines we tasted, but you get the picture.
If you are planning on organising a trip like this yourself, then you should absolutely include what is actually a bit of a wine museum and self-tasting tour: Rheinwelt in Rüdesheim. Aside from having an amazing stock of locally produced meats, cheeses and relishes to go along with the wine tasting, you pay for coupons and get to test any of over 100 wines from the region on display in dispensing machines. And if you like what you taste, you can buy directly at a very decent price.
I have many more alcoholic pictures that I could add to this post but I am trying to contain myself. You can always have a look at my alcoholic Instagram feed if this isn’t enough though!
And thanks also to the hotel sponsor for the night! We stayed at the newly opened meandall Hotel next to the station, so really handy for easy logistics for the trip. If there is one thing you should check out it is the ‘magic 3d’ tour on their website.