Ahhh the wine festival. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you're probably sick of me talking about it. If so, just skip this post. Otherwise, indulge me and feast your eyes on the 10 greatest days of festivaling in the world...the Rheinegauer Weinwoche Wiesbaden. This wine festival is unlike any wine festival I've ever experienced and is very different from the kinds of wine festivals that occur in the states. Not only is it 10 entire days long (from 11am to midnight every day), but it's also the 2nd largest wine festival in Germany next to Wurstmarkt in Bad Durkheim. Let me run this down for you: at most wine festivals in the states (or at least the handful that I've attended), you pay $25-$40 flat fee to get into the festival and get handed a small tasting glass. You then have to wander around to maybe 30 or 40 tents, stand in in lines with dozens of other sweaty drunk people, and wrestle your glass to the server for a mere sip of wine. Do that like 12 times and you're tired, irritated, wine-covered, and barely buzzed. No bueno.
At the Rheingau Wine Fest there is no entry fee...so, you get to hop around to over 100 different winery tents and order yourself a small glass of wine (served in beautifully etched wine glasses unique to each vintner) for a few euros (plus a small 'pfand' or glass fee-but you get that back upon returning your glass). Of course, you can taste the wine before you purchase a glass of wine, but having to go up and pay for a small glass drastically reduces the lines and crowds clambering around the tents. You order (and/or taste) what you want, find a table, and RELAX! Fest tables are around every tent as well as about 2 dozen different food vendors serving cheese platters, brats, flammkuchen, crepes, and pretzels bigger than your head. After drinking a few glasses (rather than sips) of delicious Rhine Region Riesling (the greatest Riesling in the entire world, mind you), those giant pretzels really come in handy. In addition to more wine tents than anyone could ever visit in 10 days (believe me, we've tried), the fest also boasts some pretty stellar entertainment from local bands. 80's cover bands are alive and well in Germany, folks. So are some super sweet dance moves, as noted in the video below. I absolutely love people watching at festivals here.