Enjoying German wines at the 2018 Rheingau Wine Festival (until 7th September)

The 2018 Rheingau Weinfest, hosted on the Freßgass' in Frankfurt,  is a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with classic German wines. Put any preconception of sweet wine out of your mind. Good German wine is a whole new World waiting to be appreciated, however the German wine classification can feel complicated to novices so, to get the most out of the wine festival, below are some hints and tips to launch you into your voyage of wine discovery.

Dry or Sweet

Trocken is the word to look for if you want a dry, crisp wine. If you find the wine too crisp and minerally you might want to try a halbtrocken or feinherb wine which contains a small amount of residual sweetness, but are not sweet wines! Lusciously sweet wines, the ones you associated with dessert wines, carry the labels Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslese.

Trocken and feinherb labels. Photograph © Anne Noble

Trocken and feinherb labels. Photograph © Anne Noble

Grape Varieties

The Rheingau is renown for it's riesling, the king of grape varieties. Many people underestimate riesling however Masters of Wine highly rate it for it's complexity and amazing ageing qualities. Gently sniff the bouquet of your riesling and you'll be amazed at the variety of scents ranging from floral, fruit, honey, herbs and the very distinct 'petrol' nose of an aged riesling. The Rheingau offers some other grape varieties which might be more familiar once you recognise their English names: Grauburgunder = Pinot Gris and Weissburgunder = Pinot Blanc. If you have the chance also try a Scheurebe a truely unique German grape created in 1916 by Dr. Scheu. He combined two grape varieties, riesling and bukettraube (of silvaner heritage) resulting in a wine which is dry with gentle fruit overtones.

Spätburgunder, aka Pinot Noir, dominates red wine production in the Rheingau. The style produced varies from a light finesse, which reflects the cool climes of the Rheingau area, to a richer, darker wine from grapes nurtured in the vineyards using select harvests. The difference is easy to spot in the glass, a light transparent red wine of the old style and a rich deep red of the new style.   

VDP

Some producers belong to the elite VDP association. VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) started in 1910 and serves to promote quality viticulture focussed on regional grape designation, quality production and vineyard management working in harmony with nature. Wine producers have to meet with strict requirements before they can carry the VDP eagle on their bottles. There are a few VDP producers at the Rheingau Weinfest. One repeat visitor is F. B Schönleber and Weingut Hamm is another renown producer which has also achieved the organic certification.

VDP Eagle. Photograph © Anne Noble

VDP Eagle. Photograph © Anne Noble

Wine Stands

This is a list of this years participants, and all offer great quality wines. All along the Freßgass will be the wine stands interspersed with food stalls making it a great place to head for an evening out with friends.

Festivals in and around Frankfurt during summer 2018

As you can imagine festivals are very much about food and drink, but some are dedicated to the local Rheingau wine. Whatever the festival there will always be plenty of food, plenty of drink and live music to dance away the warm summer evenings to.

In this list festivals are listed by date and every festival is either in Frankfurt or is easily accessed by public transport. I've added a few notes about trains, but please check the RMV website for full details.

For a print friendly version use this pdf file (entries last updated 05.07.2018)

Festivals in June - July

  • 26 June - 7 July - Frankfurt Opera Square Fest, at the Alte Oper. Lots of food and drink stands, plus entertainment starting at lunchtime and into the evening.

  • 4 July - 8 July - Darmstadt Heinerfest, opens at 18:00 on July 4th. An amazing array of events and attractions during this 5 day festival hosted all around Friedensplatz, with a firework display on Monday evening. (Numerous regional and S-bahns depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof on a regular basis)

  • 5 July - 8 July - Eltville Sekt & Biedermeier Festival, This is a lovely festival along the Rhein promenade at Eltville, celebrating the sparkling wine of the region. The link also contains details of all other wine festivals in the Rheingau region. (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)

  • 30 June - 9 July - Frankfurt Höchst Altstadt Fest. Taking place at the Schloss and Justinusplatz. Daily from 1pm - midnight. Lots for the family to enjoy (S1 & S2 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof regularly throughout the week)

  • 6 July - 8 July - Hugenotten Market, Friedrichsdorf - and the festival is in the centre of town at Landgrafenplatz. Fri 6pm - 2am, Sat 10am - 2am, Sun 10am - midnight (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

  • 6 - 9 July - Wiesbaden Schierstein Harbour Fest, Wiesbaden-Ost. A festival along the Habour promenade with plenty of music, food and drinks. On Saturday morning there is a flea-market, and throughout the weekend a dragon boat regatta. (Wiesbaden-Ost is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)

  • 7 - 8 Jul - Amazing Thailand Fest, Bad Homburg. A weekend of Thai celebrations, arts and food, hosted in the the Kurpark. (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

  • 13 - 16 July - Hochheimer Wine Fest, hosted in the old town of Hochheim. A chance to try Queen Victoria's favourite wine! (S1 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min throughout the week)

  • 20 - 22 July - Frankfurt Christopher Street Day, Frankfurt. The main parade is on Saturday starting at Römerberg. Festivities all weekend long around Grosse Friedberger Strasse.

  • 13 - 16 July - Geisenheimer Lindenfest. A wine festival hosted in the Geisenheim cathedral square and special opening of shops on Sunday 16th too. (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof for Geisenheim Bahnhof every hour throughout the week)

  • 20 July - 5 Aug - Frankfurt Sommerwerft Theatre Fest - along the northern banks, near Weselerwerft, of the Main river a festival of theatre and events for all the family. Of course they'll be drinks and food too!

  • 27 - 29 July - Mainz Light Fest All along the Rheinufer you will find food and drink stalls as you enjoy the festival of lights. Special ships are chartered to view the lights from the river and there is a spectacular firework and laser show on the Saturday evening. (S8 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)

  • 27 - 30 July - Frauensteiner Weinfest, Wiesbaden. Hosted on St. Georg and Katharina Platz, Georg Str. 2 in the centre of Wiesbaden. (Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)

  • 27 Jul - 5 Aug - Dietzenbach Wine Fest Taking place on Europaplatz in the heart of Dietzenbach this festival draws vintners from around the region. Lots of live music. Opens at 5pm every day. (S2 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

Festivals in August

  • Until 5 Aug - Dietzenbach Wine Fest Taking place on Europaplatz in the heart of Dietzenbach this festival draws vintners from around the region. Lots of live music. Opens at 5pm every day. (S2 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

  • 3 - 5 Aug - Frankfurt Street Food Fest hosted at Hauptwache in the centre of the city, pretty hard to miss! Great selection of foods and drinks. (Numerous S-Bahns and U-Bahns travel through Hauptwache every minute of the day)

  • 3 - 5 Aug - Oberursel Weinfest hosted on the Marktplatz. (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

  • 3 - 5 Aug - Wallufer Weindorf A wine festival in the oldest wine producing village of the Rheingau. Hosted along the river bank at La-Londe-Platz, Walluf. (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour throughout the week)

  • 3 - 6 Aug - Frankfurt Main River Fest Hosted along the northern bank of the Main River, by the Eisener Steg in the heart of the old town. Funfair rides and lots of fun for the family. Firework display on Monday (7th) night.

  • 4 - 5 Aug - Kronberg Art and Wine Fest. A weekend of festivities starting at 3pm on Saturday until 8pm and Sunday from 11am - 7pm. Stores are open on Sunday too! (S4 to Kronberg departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 30 min throughout the week)

  • 5 Aug - Tomaten Fest at Gärtnerei Schecker, in Oberrad. Buy tomatoes by the basket full and snack on tomato based fare all around this wonderful hof. (It gets very busy best to cycle or take the tram to Wiener Str. and walk up)

  • 11 Aug - Frankfurt Deutschherrnfest. Along the Deutchherrnufer in Sachsenhausen it s a day of fun for the family and entertainment into the evening. (Trams nr. 14 & 18 to Frankensteiner Platz)

  • 10 - 19 Aug - Frankfurt Applewine Fest. A celebration of apple wine takes place on Roßmarkt with multiple producers selling many varieties of apple wine. This blog post offers a guide to the apple wine varieties.

  • 10 - 19 Aug - The Rheingauer Weinfest in Wiesbaden One of the largest wine festivals in the World which takes place at Wiesbaden’s Schlossplatz and Dern’sches Gelände. (Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof is the closest station. S1, S8, S9 depart Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min)

  • 16 Aug - Frankfurt Bahnhofsviertalnacht starting at 7pm. Roads are closed and the Bahnhofsviertal streets are handed over to the people of Frankfurt - drinks, food and music into the early hours.

  • 18 - 19 Aug - Frankfurt Bockenheim Weinfest, Weingarten, Bockenheim. Go along to Bockenheim and support their 2nd ever wine festival (we want to encourage them to host it every year!)

  • 17 - 20 Aug - Frankfurt 528th Fountain Festival in Sachsenhausen. A festival in old Sachsenhausen, celebrating the purity of the old water fountains. Yes, it has live music, food, drinks and a party atmosphere all weekend.

  • 24 - 26 Aug - Frankfurt Museumsuferfest starting at 3pm on Friday and finishing with fireworks on Sunday night. Stalls of arts, crafts and old books along the Museumsufer. Whilst on the riverside on both the north and south side of the Main river are music, food and drink booths.

  • 29 Aug - 7 Sept - Frankfurt Rheingauer Weinfest A wine festival hosting a huge variety of Rheingau wine producers along the Fressgass' (Große Bockenheimer Straße).

Festivals in September

  • On-going from Aug til 7th Sept - Frankfurt Rheingauer Weinfest A wine festival hosting a huge variety of Rheingau wine producers along the Fressgass' (Große Bockenheimer Straße).

  • 1 - 2 Sept - Day of the open wine cellars in Rheingau. On these days, during September, vintners open the doors to their cellars and host special tastings and events. The link above lists the individual vintners and vineyards that are taking part. The event is repeated the following weekend on the 8th & 9th of September.

  • 1 Sept - Frankfurt Brücken.Wall Fest. A festival celebrating the shops, market, restaurant and bars on Brückenstraße and Wallstraße in Sachsenhausen.

  • 8 - 9 Sept - Day of the open wine cellars in Rheingau. On these days, during September, vintners open the doors to their cellars and host special tastings and events. The link above lists the individual vintners and vineyards that are taking part.

  • 7 - 16 Sept - Autumn Dippemess, Frankfurt Ratsweg. Fair rides and fun for all the family, starting 2pm. (Take the U7 to Eissporthalle.)

  • 21 - 23 Sept Wine Market, Seligenstadt. Starting on Friday evening, throughout the weekend the old town is beautifully lit up in celebration of the wine fest. (Trains depart from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof and Südbahnhof. you might need to change trains at Hanau, although there are direct trains too)

  • 14 - 16 Sept Gartenfest Schloss Wolfsgarten, Langen. A must for gardening enthusiasts. Entrance 14€.

  • TBC - 14 - 16 Sept - Rumpenheimer Kunsttage. Rumpenheim has a community of artists who throw open their doors to visitors. It's a great weekend centred around the Rumpenheim Schloss (Travel requires a car or a bike, or a 3km walk across pretty countryside from Arthur-von-Weinberg-Steg (Tram nr. 11)

  • 15 - 16 Sept - Weinfest am Morschberg, Geisenheim Local vintners offer samples of their Geisenheim wines. (Regional RB10 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof for Geisenheim Bahnhof every hour throughout the week and the footpath to Morschberg is well signposted (approx 20-30 minute walk)

  • 20 - 22 Sept Frankfurt Harvest Festival, on Roßmarkt. From 10am - 8pm. Lots for the family to enjoy, and of course some food and drink!

Festivals in October

  • 12 - 15 Oct - Autumn Market & Fest (Herbstfest), Idstein Starting on the Friday through to Monday, hosted on Schlossplatz in the heart of this pretty old town. A family occasion plus musical entertainment. (The RB22 runs hourly from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Idstein, every 2 hours on Sunday)

  • 13 - 14 Oct - Elisabethmarkt & Fest, Marburg. A pretty university town about 80km north of Frankfurt. Not only the market, but also Sunday opening for stores in the centre too. (Regional RB and IC trains run half hourly from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Marburg throughout the weekend. Buy a Hessen card, 35€, and up to five people can travel together)

  • 14 Oct - Harvest Festival, Bad Homburg. The Harvest festival is hosted along Louisastraße and stores will be open from 1pm until 6pm (S5 departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every 15 min on weekdays, every 30 mins at the weekend)

  • 19 - 21 Oct - Federweisser Days, Rüdesheim An opportunity to try the fresh new wine up from the local vintners. They'll be onion cake on sale too, to compliment the wine. Hosted over two weekends! (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)

  • 26 - 28 Oct - Federweisser Days, Rüdesheim. The second weekend of the Federweisser Days. See 20-22 Oct. (RB10 regional train departs Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof every hour)

 

Museumsuferfest August 25th 2017

The annual Museums Embankment festival is in the heart of Frankfurt and not to be missed. It is the largest outdoor festival in the region with stalls and booths on both sides of the River Main offering a huge variety of gastronomic delights plus beer, wine and bands who play into the early hours, and its free! This year the festival runs from Friday 25th August through to Sunday 27th. The festival is in walking distance from most hotels in the city centre, if you're staying/living further out, this link offers a map of tram, bus and U-bahn stops nearby.

For a printer friendly (less images) version of this post -> Frankfurt-Museums-Fest

Along the river bank by the städel at the Museumsfest, in Frankfurt.

Along the river bank by the städel at the Museumsfest, in Frankfurt.

The Museumsuferfest Button

A major highlight of the festival is the 7€ badge - this gives you free access to 23 museums in Frankfurt the whole weekend, starting from 3pm on Friday 25th until closing time on Sunday 27th. You can buy the badge, or 'button' as the locals call it, from any participating museum or from the Tourist Information Office. This link lists all the museums taking part and also has the extended opening times during the festival weekend.

the Museumsuferfest 'button' For free Museum Entry

the Museumsuferfest 'button' For free Museum Entry

What to do and see at Museumsuferfest Events and Stalls

During the day, visit the many stalls along the south side of the river bank. Up at street level, starting from the Friedensbrücke, walk through the many stalls selling second hand books, vintage vinyl and local art and crafts. Down at the waters edge, close to the Holbeinsteg, local artists also display art and sculptures.

As you progress eastwards, at the street level, the stalls change to booths offering food and drink. Down on the riverbank itself, there is more food and drink and live music too.

By the evening the festival turns into a party atmosphere. Live bands, and DJ's playing sets from techno to rock,  there is something to suit everyone's musical taste. All events are listed in this link, select the date or the type of event you are interested in.

Along the northern bank of the River Main are more stalls offering food and drink and live bands. This side can sometimes be less busy than the southern side of the river, but it still gets busy!

Museum Gardens

Many of the museums, Städel, Liebieghaus, the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum Angewandte Kunst) open up their gardens offering more chances to eat and drink and listen to live music. It's an opportunity to escape the hectic pace of the festival and the crowds on the river bank itself.

Another major highlight is the fireworks display which rounds off the celebrations at 10:30pm on Sunday night. A handy hint for novices - if you want to be on the riverside for the display, then head down to the bank about an hour before the fireworks start, grab some food and drink and find a good viewing spot. As 10:30pm approaches the police sometimes stop people descending onto the river bank to prevent overcrowding.

The weather is forecast to be warm and pleasant for the whole weekend - so come along to the festival and enjoy having a party with the locals.