Landmarks and Wineculture Details
Rhodt Rosegarden: The Oldest Vineyard with Original Grapevines
Landmarks of German Wine Culture
These grapevines are true veterans of viticultural history: More than 400 years old, the grapevines from the "Rhodter Rosengarten" have not only survived the centuries but still bear fruit every year. The vineyard in the wine community of Rhodt unter Rietberg is said to have existed already before the 30-Years-War, and that took place between 1618 and 1648.
If that's true, the Rhodt Rosegarden is definitely the oldest vineyard which is still stocked with its original grapevines – that holds true at least for the Pfalz region, if not for the whole world!
400 grapevines are still standing on the 900m² of vineyard, most of them Traminer grapes with occasional Silvaner vines inbetween. The person who planted the vineyard is unkown. Viticulture, however, has a long history in Rhodt dating back to the Romans then later in the Medieval Ages, the community was well known for its Traminer wine. In 1603, Margrave Ernst Friedrich of Baden bought the whole village, and he and his successors ruled until 1801. It was the margrave who transformed the village, replete with castle from 1200, into a wealthy community by trading wines. Consequently, resplendent mansions of wine producer families were built and these can still be seen today. Almost 80% of the village comprises heritage-listed sites.
The beauty of the region, nicknamed Tuscany of the North, did not go unnoticed by the rulers and kings. In 1846, King Ludwig I from Bavaria had his summer palace, Villa Ludwigshöhe, built right above the village on a romantic hillside. The significance of viticulture for the village can be deduced from the local speciality: wine is served here not only in the traditional Palatinate "Schoppen" glass, holding half a liter of wine – but also in the "Rhodter Piff": a wine glass which holds a whole litre of wine!
On the eastern side of the village, right across the street from the Rietburg Wine Cooperative, the Rhodt Rosegarden still holds its centuries old, gnarled grapevines, hard as stone and authentic to the core. Small yields of wine still flow from their grapes, varying from 50-300 litres depending on the vintage, from just under a hectare of land. The Gewurztraminer vinified by the Weingut Oberhofer in Edesheim, the owners of the vineyard, is of course a cherished specialty. The wine beguiles by age alone – but also by its rose flavor which is so typical for the Gewurztraminer, and which perfectly reflects the name of the vineyard's site: “Rhodter Rosengarten”.