Germany, like France, the USA and other temperate countries, has a number of designated wine growing districts. The Rheingau is one of Germany’s smallest but most highly regarded regions, about one eighth the size of Sonoma County’s vineyard acreage. When Eva and I were dating back in the mid 60s, we became very familiar with Napa Valley wines and did a lot of tasting at wineries there. We especially liked Souverain riesling.

We also became familiar with the fine San Francisco wine importer Draper & Esquin. We learned a lot about German, as well as French, wines from Esquin. For our honeymoon trip to Germany and vicinity, Esquin wrote letters of introduction to a number of wineries and shippers which we visited (wineries at that time were not open to the public). The Mosel and Rheingau regions were tops on the list, both prime riesling territory.

Prosperous Reingau

Prosperous Rheingau – downtown Erbach

On this trip we spent many a day wandering the backroads and hiking many trails through some of the most famous vineyards of all the world. We stayed five days in gorgeous places surrounded by vineyards. We consumed perhaps a bit too much wine.

Neat vineyards

Robust vineyards

Eltville, Hattenheim and Erbach are wine towns of note. Schloss Vollrads, Kloster Eberbach, Schloss Reinhartshausen and Baron Langwerth von Sommern are wine estates at the top of world class producers.

Langwerth von Simmern is behind the wall.

Langwerth von Simmern is down the street.

Entry to von Simmern's beautiful grounds and tasting room

Entry to von Simmern’s beautiful grounds

von Simmern tasting room

von Simmern tasting room

Reinserts

Schloss Reinhartshausen’s estate overlooks the Rhine River

Brass plaque at the entry

Brass plaque at the entry

We stayed in two places way up in the vineyards, near the treeline, with the Rhine River far below, one place in Erbach and the other in Hattenheim.

Our abode for three days, a  lovely place and active winery.

Our abode for three days, a lovely place and active winery.

The Rhein at its widest

The Rhein at its widest

One morning we walked to Schloss Vollrads, about a mile away.

Vollards in the distance

Schloss Vollrads in the distance

Closer to the towers of Vollrads' protective walls and towers

Closer to the towers of Schloss Vollrads’ protective walls.

The gates open but the restaurant is closed. It was too early for tasting.

The gates are open but the restaurant is closed. It was too early for tasting.

In Eltville we began to think of lunch just about the time most places were closing. We took a stab at this rather unassuming restaurant and found it was open and bustling. We were the last to leave.

A superb lunch was found here.

A superb lunch was found here.

How yummy can Sunday lunch be?

How yummy can Sunday lunch be?

Eva is happy with her included dessert.

Eva is happy with her included dessert.

Let’s take a look around at a few things that pleased us.

Beauty queen came from Erbach, home of the famous Marcobrunn vineyard.

The 2002 Rheingau beauty queen came from Erbach, home of the famous Marcobrunn vineyard.

Crane dating from 1745 used to load wine onto barges

Crane dating from 1745 used to load wine onto barges

Erbach

Erbach

Door with carved grape motif

Door with carved grape motif

Small family winery

Small family winery

Small winery

Small winery in the top echelon of quality (VDP)

Decorated house

Decorated house. Slate roofs.

Small hotel

Small hotel

Town view

Erbach town view

Erbach church

Erbach church

Entry to church

Entry to the church

Interior of church

Interior of the church

Door handle

Door handle

Small winery's display case by the sidewalk

Small winery’s display case by the sidewalk

Railroad crossing. Trains pass every four minutes.

“Our” railroad crossing. Trains pass by every four minutes.

One day we sought out Martin Winery, where we had last visited 15 years before. We were greeted by Mr. Martin himself. His mother at age 86 has retired but is as sharp as ever, he said. The winery has been in the family for generations.

Martin Winery, tucked back in the upper reaches of Erbach.

Martin Winery, tucked back in the upper reaches of Erbach.

Martin Winery wines on display in the tasting room.

Martin Winery wines on display in the tasting room.

We had a nice chat with Mr. Martin.

We had a nice chat with Mr. Martin, who poured generously.

Before we left the Rheingau, we had to have another good meal at the fine restaurant in Eltville. We sat on the terrace, as it was another fine, warm day.

Eva makes another excellent choice.

Eva makes another excellent choice.

We much enjoyed the friendly waiter who here is bidding us adieu.

We much enjoyed the friendly waiter who here is bidding us adieu.

And now we must say for now – Auf Wiedersehen.

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