Landmarks and Wineculture Details
Niersteiner Glöck: The oldest vineyard site of Germany
Landmarks of German Wine Culture: Rheinhessen
A historic charter proves that the vineyard "Niersteiner Glöck" is Germany's oldest named vineyard site. It was gifted in 742 by the Diocese of Würzburg to the Carolingian ruler Majordomo Karlmann, uncle of Charlemagne.
The gift was the parish of Saint Mary's Church in Nierstein which included this small vineyard, the "Glöck", so named from either the chiming of the church bells or because the bell-ringer was paid with wine from that vineyard. This is yet to be established but the fact remains that the bishop of Würzburg henceforth had to be paid the tithe, and that remained the case for many centuries. Today, the church adjoining the vineyard is named Saint Kilian's Church, the successor of the former Saint Mary's Church.
Today, the "Glöck", which is only 2,1 hectares big, is owned by the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Oppenheim and is classified as a 'Großes Gewächs Rheinhessen', similar to a Grand Cru. The small but fine hillside is mainly cultivated with Riesling and Gewürztraminer grapes. The wines are marked by their balance of fruitiness and minerality, they grow on a mixture of clay and loess situated above the leftbank of the Rhine.
The river creates a special climate together with the 20 percent gradient of the slope and a centuries old stone wall which completely surrounds the vineyard. In the Middle Ages, monks built walls like this one around their vineyards in order to protect them from cold winds and provide a special micro-climate for the grapevines.
The premium wines from the Glöck as well as many others from the area can be tasted and bought at the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne in Oppenheim.