Rheingau is considered to be the most reputable wine region and a major hotspot of Germany due to the elegant medium- and full-bodied Riesling wines from the region. The winemaking tradition of this region is ancient, as it began in the local Abbeys during the Middle Ages. The top-quality of the wines from the Rheingau wine region are paired with a romantic atmosphere provided by the Rhine River and the hilly landscapes all around wineries that are exposed to the sun all day long.
Visit Rheingau wine regions and immerse yourself in heritage places, landscapes indulged by the sun dotted with rustic villages and breathtaking views over the vineyards and Rhine River.
Rheingau wine region is located in the southwest of Germany surrounded by Rheinhessen, Nahe and Rhineland wine regions. Thanks to the location of the Rheingau wine region along the powerful Rhine River between the Main River and the Wisper River, the vineyards enjoy a favourable microclimate and fertile soil throughout the year. Most of the vineyards are cultivated on steep slopes creating an ideal growing environment.
Riesling dominates the vineyards of the Rheingau making up more than 78% of all Rheingau vines. The second most popular grape in the area is Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). There are 14 designated growing areas where Riesling and Pinot Noir are popularly planted, delivering full-bodied, high-end wines, along with a few plots dedicated to Müller-Thurgau. Each of the wines produced here are classified depending upon the ripeness of the grapes.
This region has all the climatic, soil, and excellent proximity to the river for Riesling and Pinot Noir grapes to grow in the best way possible. With only 3000 hectares of vines, the Rheingau is small in comparison to the neighbouring wine regions. But its reputation for the production of world-class white wines makes it a driving force in the international perception of German Riesling.
The vineyards of the Rheingau wine region are planted for 78% with Riesling grapes that really dominate the production. The second most grown grapes is Spätburgunder, but the vineyard area is only 12%. Some of the other varieties grown in very small amounts include Müller-Thurgau, Ehrenfelser, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris. The Rheingau wine region is also home to some extremely small quantities of Dornfelder, Portugieser, and Pinot Madeleine. Over the years, the wineries of the region have shifted their interests in some international varieties, namely Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
Globally, the best white wines from Germany are those produced in the Rheingau wine region. The territory is indeed dominated by the absolute king of German white wines, Riesling.
Rheingau Riesling wines are medium-bodied, which makes it different from other Rieslings, such as the one from Mosel. Mosel Riesling is known for having more peach and apricot notes, as well as a hint of petrol, and blue slate. Rheingau wines are stronger, austere, and feature a distinctive mineral taste with racy acidity and crisp citrus fruit. Rieslings from the Rheingau wine region are perfect with a wide range of food or can simply be enjoyed on their own as an aperitif.
Wineries to Visit in Rheingau Wine Region
The original winery dates back to the year 1880, but recently the Breuer family acquired the winery and made it popular all over the world. 34 hectares of the winery territory are planted with Pinot Noir grapes and Riesling grapes. Today, Theresa Breuer the together with Markus, the expert winemaker of the winery, meticulously control that the wines from the cellar are of the best quality both for local consumption and for international shipping.
Located near the village of Assmannshausen, the small Robert König Winery produces almost only Pinot Noir. Robert König dedicated his winemaking passion to favour export, and in fact, the Pinot Noir from his winery became very popular in the USA, in China, and in Japan. The grapes are grown in three different sub-regions with slightly different microclimates. This gives every type of Pinot Noir a specific characteristic.
The Winzer von Erbach Winery specializes in the production of fruity Riesling and velvety Pinot Noir. All the winery’s vineyards are carefully picked and chosen to assure the wines the best and most tasty characteristics. Red wine varieties age in high-quality German, American, and French oak barrels. Young wines are given more time to mature, this helps them gain a more complex taste.
Eltville and Kiedrich – Art Treasures in the middle of the Vineyards
Eltville, also known as the city of wine and roses, is an attractive destination and the biggest town in Rheingau. It is surrounded by the Rheingau wine region vineyards; in fact, winemaking is the primary economic activity of the town.
The main attraction in Eltville, apart from the beautiful bank on the Rhine River, is the Electoral Castle with its walk-in tower and rose garden around, which creates spectacular atmosphere, especially in May when roses are blossoming. The castle was built in the 14th century as the residence of the Electors and Archbishops of Mainz. The best period to visit the castle is between spring and summer when all the roses around the castle and on the Rhine promenade bloom.
Only 2 km from Eltville, the town of Kiedrich also was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz and once acted as a border of defence for the city. The ruins of this fortified castle, Burg Scharfenstein, still tower over the vineyards today.
Rüdesheim am Rhein – A World Heritage Location
The town of Rudesheim am Rhein is not just a winemaking town but is also part of the UNESCO Upper Middle Rhine World Heritage Site. Rudesheim is a major tourist attraction particularly due to the picturesque old town, historical buildings, and charming German village atmosphere, where one wine bar after the other invites visitors to enjoy local wines.
The most notable sites to visit in Rüdesheim are the Niederwald Monument celebrating the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The cable car ride that takes you up to the monument provides excellent views of the river and the vineyards. You can take the cable car from the village of Rüdesheim. Other sites not to miss include the quaint little alleyway of Drosselgasse, with its half-timbered homes, and the Eibingen Abbey.
Rudesheim is also regularly visited by tourists because of the number of beautiful and safe hiking trails that start from there. The town also hosts a number of regular events which draw people from all over the world.
Eberbach Abbey – Where it all Began
This former Cistercian monastery is considered to be the “birthplace” of Rheingau wine. The monks of the Cistercian order who founded Eberbach Monastery in 1136 successed in viticulture and winemaking, which turned the abbey into a flourishing wine enterprise. Today, the vineyards of the abbey are managed by the government of Hesse.
The architecture of the Eberbach Abbey features Romanesque, early Gothic, and Baroque buildings and decorations. The first monks entered the monastery complex in the 12th century; now that monks don’t live here anymore, the Abbey is used as a venue for the Rheingau Music Festival. In the years 1985/1986, Eberbach Abbey was turned into a location for the film The Name of the Rose.
The Eberbach Abbey is open for visitors. you can admire the beauty and the architecture of the building as well as enjoy wine tasting. Twice a year, the abbey hosts the wine auctions.
Natural Spots in Rheingau
The Rheingau wine region offers an expanse of lush vineyard hiking trails, picturesque landscapes, and dense patches of forest. The region has numerous opportunities for hiking, cycling and nature exploration. The romantic atmosphere of the Rhine River, the spa parks, and the monastery gardens are constantly calling you to live a perfect getaway in between wine tastings.
Rhein Taunus Nature Park – Forest, Meadows, and Wine
The Rhein Taunus Nature Park is an attractive environment for families, nature lovers, and hiking-enthusiasts. The Park is situated at the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis, covering the whole area between the cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden, and expanding to the West following the Rhein River.
The low range of the Taunus Mountains is actually perfect to relish the amazing landscape, that includes river banks, immense vineyards, green forests, and rolling hills. Inside the park, 130 loop trails are sign-posted with numbers, walking time and information about the animals you might encounter and the flora.
Niederwald Tempel – A Beautiful Shrine
Located on the broad Niederwald hill on the right bank of the Rhine, the Niederwald Temple has always been an appreciated monument from which to benefit from the amazing view on the Rhine River. The monument was built in 1788 by the nobleman Karl Maximilian Graf von Ostein. In the following century, the Niederwald Temple became a symbol of German Romanticism and inspired many writers, composers, and philosophers. Unfortunately, the original temple was destroyed during World War II, what is visible now is what survived the bombings.
The Niederwald area is also an amazing spot for hiking or just having a relaxing walk in nature.
Romantischer Rhein – A Romantic Valley
The Romantischer Rhein Valley is situated between the cities of Rüdesheim am Rhein and Bingen. What makes this valley so Romantic are the steep vineyards, the calm flowing of the Rhine River and the green hills all around. The air has its own essence, which is divine in its own breath.
Visit Romantischer Rhein and discover the breathtaking UNESCO cultural landscapes through hiking, cycling routes or the boat. 67 kilometres long valley will present you castles, quaint villages, history and breathtaking scenery.
What to Eat in Rheingau
The Rheingau has a vast range of artfully prepared cuisines and handcrafted dishes. Do not miss a chance to taste some of the seasonal delights, made from local ingredients of the region, paired with luscious wines or a fresh pint of beer.
Spundekäs – Spreadable Cheese with a Twist
The Spundekäs is a cheese spread or dip that originated in Mainz but due to its proximity to Rheingau, it is also a very popular appetizer on the other side of the Rhein River.
The base ingredients of Spundekäs are fresh cheese (mainly Quark), butter, onions, peppers, chili peppers and various spices. This delicacy is best experienced with a glass of wine and pretzel crackers or with some wholesome German bread. It is usually served in a cone shape, together with radishes and boiled potatoes.
Riesling Soup – There’s Never Too Much Riesling
This creamy, tasty, and thick soup is a holiday must in the entire Rheingau wine region. In most restaurants and family gatherings, the soup is served with crunchy croutons powdered with cinnamon. Not all the Rieslings are good for making this dish, as the drier styles might offset the balance in the flavours.
All wine styles of the Rheingau pair beautifully with this dish.
Speckkuchen – A Crusty Bacon Pie
Speckkuchen is a popular speciality from northern Hessen, but is widespread throughout the entire region, which makes this very special pie available in the Rheingau region. The Speckkuchen is a bacon crust, or a pie, baked with rye flour and topped with bacon, sometimes it also has leeks or onions in it. Every bakery in Hessen has its own recipe and prepares its own unique Speckkuchen.
This is a pretty popular street food, it can be easily found in stalls at Christmas Markets or at Gastronomy events in the Rheingau region.
Insider Tips about Rheingau
Where to eat in Rheingau?
Gasthaus zum Engel in Eltville-Erbach
Address: Markt 2, 65346 Eltville am Rhein, Germany
Address: Kloster-Eberbach-Straße 1, 65346 Eltville am Rhein, Germany
Take hiking trailat Rheinsteig
Address: Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH An der Königsbach 8 56075 Koblenz, Germany
Visit Electoral Castle
Address: Burgstraße 1, 65343 Eltville am Rhein, Germany
Most Frequently Asked Questions about Rheingau Wine Region
1. Where is the Rheingauwine region located?
Rheingau wine region is located in the Rhine district, state of Hesse, or the heart of Germany.
Rheingau is among 13 other designated German wine regions.
2. What are the most famous sub-regions and appellations in Rheingau?
Several villages delimitate areas inside Rheingau wine regions. The sub-region of Rheingau are Hochheim am Main, Walluf, Eltville, Kiedrich, Hattenheim, Oestrich, Winkel, Johannisberg, Rüdesheim, and Assmannshausen.
The appellation of this regions comes with its own name “Rheingau”.
3. What are the main grape varieties in Rheingau?
Riesling, Spätburgunder, Müller-Thurgau, Weißer Burgunder, Dornfelder, Grauer Burgunder, Kerner are the main grape varieites under vine in Rheingau.
4. What is the best wine to try in Rheingau?
When visiting the Rheingau wine region their fantastic bottles of Riesling. This white wine is one of the specialties of the region, certainly a flagship of Rheingau.
5. What are the best wineries to visit in Rheingau?
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