Worms and wine are two that are inextricably linked, and not just because they share the same initial. When about 50 BC. When the Romans first arrived in the area that is now Worms, they not only provided the first urban structures, but also brought the wine with them. Since transporting the popular drink was too expensive in the long run, people began to cultivate their own vines in the new province, just as they had done in Gaul. Over the centuries, wine has become increasingly important economically for the region. Worms is now the third largest wine-growing community (after Neustadt and Landau). Around 80 winegrowers maintain the winegrowing tradition today. Worms is in turn in Rheinhessen, the largest wine-growing region in Germany. In particular, the mild climate in Rheinhessen, plenty of sun, coupled with little rainfall, creates ideal conditions for an all-round successful wine. The hilly landscape of Rheinhessen is therefore characterized by endless rows of vineyards. A main part of the sweet fruit, almost 73 percent, is reserved for the white wine. Of these, Riesling claims the most vines and regularly causes a sensation at wine awards. Wine also plays an important role in social life here. Numerous wine festivals, taverns, vinotheques and wine fairs bear witness to this love of wine. In Worms, the celebration of wine reaches its peak at the end of August with the Baked Fish Festival and the accompanying Wonnegau Wine Cellar. In the form of the market winegrowers, he is represented almost all year round on Saturdays at the weekly market.
Liebfrauenmilch – A wine goes around the world
The best-known wine-growing areas in Worms are the Luginsland and the Liebfrauenstift. Both vineyards are in the middle of the city. In particular, the wine that came from the Liebfrauenstift and was marketed under the name Liebfrauenmilch ensured that the wine town of Worms also enjoyed a worldwide reputation. The 17-hectare small vineyard around the Church of Our Lady is surrounded by walls and is therefore particularly sheltered from the wind. The church, built between 1267 and 1465, watches over the “church piece” like a patroness and provides important shade. The vines also benefit from the city’s somewhat warmer climate and its proximity to the Rhine. After the Dutch merchant PJ Valckenberg acquired the city’s vineyards, he began selling the wine throughout Europe. England in particular, including the English royal family, proved to be happy buyers. Soon after, the precious drop also made it to America, where it was demonstrably served in the restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton in New York. Liebfrauenmilch became an export hit and even made it to dizzying heights. When the zeppelin made its first round-the-world flight in 1929, 2 of the 10 white wines offered on board were Wormser “Liebfraumilch”. A lack of laws to protect a brand meant that more and more wine merchants and winegrowers began to baptize their grape juice Liebfrauenmilch without, however, meeting the quality requirements. Weinkontor Valckenberg finally added the location “Kirchenstück” and had this term protected. So if you hold a wine with the name “Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück” in your hand, you know that this is the only genuine original. 10 hectares of the area are now cultivated by the newly founded Weingut am Dom. The remaining areas are tended to by the Worms wineries Spohr, Schembs and the Gundheim winery Gutzler. The Liebfrauenstift wines are Rieslings that are made both dry and sweet.
Where does the Riesling actually come from? Of course from Rheinhessen….
The important German viticulture historian Friedrich von Bassermann-Jordan noted in his two-volume work “History of Viticulture” published in 1907 that the origin of the “most important German white wine vine – Riesling” will probably never be conclusively clarified. The theory that Riesling made its way from the Moselle to the Rhine persists to this day. In his work, however, Bassermann-Jordan refers to a literature source from 1857, according to which “the area from Neustadt/Weinstraße to Worms can be regarded as the original home of Riesling”. In the “Rheinhessen grape variety guide”, which was published in 1978 by the Rheinhessischer Rebenveredler producer association, it says about the Riesling: “The origin of the Riesling could not be determined exactly. However, there are many indications of the Wonnegau. The Wonnegau is in turn a southern region of Rheinhessen, which also includes Worms. A Riesling cultivation area with a size of “half an acre” was first mentioned in a document in Pfeddersheim in 1490. Today’s largest district of Worms enjoyed independent city rights at the time and has belonged to Worms since 1969. The author Dieter Braaz claims to have found another indication that Riesling was located in Worms and the region even earlier. In an entry on the subject of Riesling, Wikipedia refers to its “Wine Atlas of Germany”. In it, the author explains that the first written mention of the Riesling vine and the city of Worms dates back to 1402. However, he does not provide any evidence for this claim. In fact, the oldest document mentioning the popular vine dates back to 1435. The administrator of Burg zur Rüsselsheim noted the purchase of Riesling vines, which were transplanted into their own vineyard. But how did the vines get to Opelstadt? Although there are no documentary mentions, legend has it that Count Johann IV from the Katzenelnbogen family, to whose county the aforementioned vineyard also belonged, was on a shopping spree in 1435. This also led him to Pfeddersheim, where he bought wine. Whether he also bought the seedlings there is not documented.
Wherever the Riesling first dug its roots into the earth, it is clear that this is inextricably linked to Rheinhessen and thus also to Worms. This is already shown by the proportion of vineyards. This is 18 percent for the white wine vines. The somewhat less glamorous Müller Thurgau takes second place. In wine tastings in gourmet magazines and blogs, Rheinhessische Riesling regularly gets the best ratings. The density of quality in the self-proclaimed “Riesling City” of Nierstein is particularly striking. Located along the Rhine route in the direction of Mainz, wines from the city with a population of almost 8,000 are now regulars in the top 10. The Riesling has since received a new boost in popularity thanks to the American pop star Pink. In an interview, she confessed to her love for Riesling. Time for the musician to make her way to the home of Riesling. The range of tastes of the demanding vine is enormous and overwhelmingly well chilled not only the palate of a world star. Another prominent friend of Rheinhessen and Worms wines was the famous French writer Victor Hugo (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). He traveled to the Nibelungen city of Worms in the hope of getting to know the places of the Nibelungenlied, was ultimately disappointed by the few historical traces, but was all the more enthusiastic about the Worms wines. With his flattering quote: “Truly, I would come to Worms for the sake of three glasses of Worms wine,” he adorns the Am Roman Emperor winegrower’s fountain in the pedestrian zone.
Summer, sun, wine and Worms: Worms’ market winegrowers invite you to relax and enjoy wine on Saturdays from spring onwards
The Wormser Marktwinzer are, how could it be otherwise, six Worms winegrowers who alternate weekly and invite you to enjoy wine together on the edge of the weekly market. Between the cathedral and the Trinity Church, the Marktwinzer-Treff is now not only an insider tip for market visitors, but also for tourist groups. Seating sets lined up around the Siegfried Fountain, which is well worth seeing, invite you to linger. The enjoyable morning can be rounded off with a few delicacies such as pickled olives, Spundekäs or the unbeatable trio “Weck, Worschd and Woi”. Of course, bought fresh at the weekly market. The wine stand is also a good opportunity to take a few delicious wines away from a visit to a winery, either as a souvenir or to enjoy at home, and to chat with the winemaker for a while in a relaxed atmosphere. However, inexperienced wine connoisseurs are advised to apply lotion in the summer months, as the site offers little shade and it can get really hot under the Rheinhessen sun. The wineries Spohr, Weinmann and Klosterhof Loesch from Worms-Abenheim, Weingut Müsel and Schäfer from Worms-Herrnsheim and Helmut Kloos from Worms-Horchheim offer their products in rotation. In the winter months there is no open bar, but the opportunity to buy bottles. The exact dates can be found here:
Worms Wine Fair
When the Worms Wine Fair was launched 16 years ago, the primary aim was to place the subject of wine much more prominently in the cityscape. One can say frankly that this mission was a success. After Corona had to be canceled last year, the organizers hope to be able to hold the popular wine fair again on two days in November this year. Around 50 winegrowers, most from Worms and a few from the surrounding area, invite you to try wine and talk about wine together in the stylish ambience of the conference center. There is probably no better place to get an idea of the city’s rich wine offerings. Theme-oriented events such as “Old Vines” or “Wine and Chocolate” enable small groups to immerse themselves intensively in the secrets of wine in addition to the trade fair. Since the tickets are in great demand, it is worth securing them in good time. At the box office it can sometimes be said, unfortunately sold out!
You can find more information here: www.worms.de/weinstadt/weinmesse/
Wormser Vinothek – A permanent home for Wormser wine
Since the beginning of summer 2019, Wormser wine has finally had a permanent home in the city center. In the Worms Vinothek on Parmaplatz, 16 winegrowers have joined forces with Stadtmarketing Worms eV to present wine lovers with 80 selected wines, 16 of which are on tap. The selection is tailored to provide the most comprehensive possible overview of all important Rheinhessian grape varieties. With a view of the colorful green areas and the Luther monument, you can feel like you’re on vacation in the summer months. Mediterranean conviviality makes it possible to quickly get to know people who were previously strangers, so that at the end of a vinotheque evening, new friendships for life can sometimes be made. The visit is rounded off by fine culinary delicacies, which are of course tailored to the demands of the wines. Those who like it non-alcoholic can fall back on all-round refreshing grape juice spritzers, which of course also come from the winemakers. Small concerts, readings and guided wine tastings are also part of the offer.
You can find more information at: www.wormser-vinothek.de