With its breathtaking views, river landscapes, rolling vineyards, historic architecture, and exquisite wine, Rhineland-Palatinate is a beloved destination. One of 16 states in Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate is the largest wine producing area in the country — six out of nine of countrys wine-producing districts are located within this state. The southwestern region shares a border with France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and is home to more than four million people. At a recent event with the German National Tourist Board, we got to explore this beautiful area and enjoy its prime exports.
Because of its location along the Moselle, Rhine, and Nahe rivers, Rhineland-Palatinate draws many to its picturesque, fairytale-like views along the water — but all across the state, you’ll find beautiful sites to appreciate and explore.When you visit the Moselle Valley, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you experience its quaint towns, stunning castles, and, of course, local wine. Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also known for its wine offerings, as well as its inherent romanticism and storybook-esque castles.
In addition to Moselle and Middle Rhine, though, Rhineland-Palatinate boasts many other wine regions, including Ahr, Nahe, Rheinhessen, and Palatinate. The mild climate, sunny weather, and nutrient-rich soil rich make these regions ideal for winemaking — and the historically significant architecture, striking views, and tasty cuisine are an added bonus. One way to truly experience the wine of this region is to travel along the German Wine Route. This 85-kilometers route offers plenty of locales to explore — you can taste wine in tasting rooms, or even bars and on the side of the road! Along the way, you’ll also see castles, vineyards, forests, and almond and kiwi trees.
Another famous destination is the southwest German state is Palatinate Forest, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its ruins, diverse wildlife, chestnut trees, and sandstone cliffs, the forest is home to almost 150 castles and provides evidence of Germany’s extensive and fascinating history. With its history dating back more than 2,000 years, the region boasts evidence of its Roman origins through its various architectural sites.
Trier is the most ancient city in Rhineland-Palatinate — and in the whole country. There, you’ll discover Porta Nigra, a sandstone Roman gate dating back to 180 A.D. When the Romans constructed the gate, they wanted to make their power evident, so they made it almost 30 meters in height. Other Roman architecture, as well as Germany’s oldest bishop church, can also be found there. If you’re looking for more historic cities with impressive architecture, venture to the state’s capital, Mainz, to view the iconic, six-story Mainz Cathedral and many other popular travel spots. Or, visit Speyer, Worms, and St. Goar. St. Goar, the latter of which is home to one of the region’s most romantic castles, Rheinfels Castle.
The state also hosts one of the largest carnival events in Germany each year: the Mainz Carnival, or Mainzer Fastnacht. Dating back to the 16th century, the carnival includes traditional activities such as parades and festivals, while also emphasizing political and literary humor. Traditions include making schwellköpp, oversized papier-mâché heads, and parade floats conveying political messages.
Since Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany’s largest wine producing area, it won’t come as a surprise that people love the region’s wine, and celebrating it. The area hosts the biggest wine festival in the world each September. Its official name is Wurstmarkt, which means “sausage fair,” but don’t be fooled — at the heart of the festival are hundreds of different wines to enjoy. (Think Oktoberfest but with wine stalls and traditional wine stands, called schubkärchler.) Starting in the 15th century, Wurstmarkt was once a market for farmers and winegrowers. Now, in addition to wine stalls, the festival features live performances, carnival rides, and a plethora of? delicious food. If you’re interested in seeing the festivities first-hand, mark your 2018 calendar for September 7 to 11 and 14 to 17.
And, of course, beyond wine, there is plenty of food and drink to indulge in across Rhineland-Palatinate. Since wine is so significant in the region, it’s also a common ingredient in foods — particularly sauces and desserts. Traditional foods in the state is hearty and sometimes even spicy compared to foods in other regions, though there are some slight regional differences in cooking between Rhineland and Palatinate. Rhineland is known for its stews and soups, while Palatinate cuisine has been influenced by both France and German cities like Frankfurt, meaning that a lighter cuisine style is more popular there. That said, ingredients such as almonds, figs, chestnuts, and kiwis are prevalent in dishes in both areas.
Rhineland-Palatinate is a state known for its beautiful hillsides, lush landscapes, and dreamy vineyards, but also for its historic Roman architecture, ancient towns, and castle ruins. Alongside architecture and scenery that look like they were taken straight out of a fairytale, you’ll find sites that look like pages from a history book, making the region an incredible destination for wine enthusiasts, nature-lovers, and history buffs alike.
At our recent events in New York and Los Angeles, visitors sampled wines and beers from Rhineland and beyond, noting, “to see their love for food and wine and to see how it pairs with different dishes, you see that it [Germany] really is a culinary hub.”
Labels included a Wittman Reisling Trocken (2015) from Rheinhessen, a Günther Steinmetz Pinot Noir (2014) from Mosel, a Castell Silvaner Trocken (2015) from Franken, a Muller Catoir Herzog Rieslaner Auslese (2015) from Pfalz, a Castell Silvaner Trocken Grosses Gewächs Schlossberg (2014) from Franken, a Zen Garden Riesling (2016) from Pfalz, and a Leitz Riesling (2014) from Rheingau.
If you’re a wine-and-food enthusiast, pick up one of the above rieslings and try your hand at this traditional German dish:
If you’re a wine and food enthusiast, pick up one of the above rieslings and try your hand at this traditional German dish:
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This content was produced in partnership with German National Tourism.