The wine fests have begun!!!! As a US service member in Europe, one of the big events each spring is the Stars & Stripes publication of the calendar of all the wine fests in Germany from April through October. Well, that was last Thursday and, with that, Jeff and I figured we’d better get right on it and not fall behind in wine fest participation. Not that we did last year but it’s best to start early and finish strong. So last Saturday we drove to Freinsheim for one of the first wine fests of 2012.
Freinsheim is about a half hour east of Kaiserslautern and the Ramstein Air Base area. It’s an easy drive on the A-6 autobahn with an exit onto the famous Deutsche Weinstraße, German Wine Road. Freinsheim, although not right on the Wine Road, it’s a couple miles east, is just a short drive south from the A-6. This puts Freinsheim right in the middle of Germany’s largest wine growing region, part of the Rhineland-Pflaz.
Freinsheim’s wine fest was a particularly fun event because of the way they presented their wines to the festival goers like Jeff and I. For 10 Euros each we got a yellow wrist band that allowed us to visit 10 different vintners in the town. At each vintner we had the opportunity for unlimited sampling of the wines they had on display; lots of whites, Rieslings, Silvaners, Rivaners, Gewürztraminers and more, and reds like Portugieser, Dornfelder and Spätburgunder. And, like I mentioned, unlimited sampling. You could stand all day at one vintner if you chose to but Jeff and I were determined to visit all ten. Here’s our Saturday adventure.
The Freinsheim wine fest is called the Blütenfest (Blooms Fest).
Vintner #1 is Weinparadies Freinsheim.
Here we’re inside. Just bought our wrist band and ready to get to work.
Here’s the wine list that we could sample at Weinparadies, from dry to half-dry to sweet.
Vintner #2, Weingut Altes Landhaus (Old Country House).
Only about 8 wines to sample here but still tasty, fun and the people were so nice.
Vintner #3, Alte Bäckerei (Old Backery). When we got to their sampling area we learned that they were not providing samples of wine but vinegar. Yes, vinegar!! Skip #3.
Vintner #4, Kassner-Simon.
Although Germany is not known for its reds, we had a really good red Dornfelder here. These vintners were just great and answered all our questions about their vineyards and wine production operations.
Jeff and I at the Freinsheim wine fest. Jeff wearing a beer hat (Pilsner Urquell) to a wine fest. The man has no couth.
Sights of Freinsheim. Freinsheim has a really pretty old town area and they do a number of different festivals here at different times of the year.
I’m assuming that’s the Freinsheim coat of arms which is about the gate on the town wall. You can see the white and blue diamond pattern that’s typical of Bavaria. Freinsheim, is now part of the Rhineland-Pfalz but prior to WW II the town was part of Bavaria.
Vintner #5, Winzerhof Rehg. Not sure who this wine nymph is supposed to be.
Good wines here too. Duh!!
Narrow alleyway between #5 and #6.
Vintner #6, Weingu Langenwalter-Gauglitz.
Quite a selection of wines to sample here, probably twelve reds and twenty whites.
Vintner #7, Weingut Kreuzhof, Family Herbel.
Now, as I mentioned, as long as you wanted to sample their wines, these vintners would keep pouring, so size of the sample wasn’t much of a concern but at #7, the samples were certainly generous.
Nice carriage ride.
In Germany, if you’re going to have a festival of any kind you have to have as a minimum one carnival ride for the kids and one candy vendor. Here they are.
Vintner #8, Weingut Primann. Let’s see, which one first?
It’s very common at these festivals for the wives to bake up a desert of some sort and bring them in to raise money for some cause or charity. These look very inviting!!
Vintner #9, Weingut Krebs.
At Krebs, blooming trees at the Blütenfest.
The wine sample table in Krebs was placed in front of these new wine barrels, a great setting for sampling wine.
Vintner #10, Weingut Weisbrod. Big time head fake from these folks Their sampling area was not at their hotel like the map showed and since we had to go well out of our way to get to the hotel we didn’t feel like wandering around looking for it. So headed back to the car and that was the end of our day in Freinsheim.
Why? Because it's there.
So, one down, who knows how many to go. But, if Freinsheim was indicative, 2012 is going to be a good year for wine fests. A very good year.