I look forward to the Wine Fest here in Wiesbaden all year long. I mean, there were art and wine festivals in California, but somehow, they are just so different. Here, the fest spans a whole week and two weekends (usually the second full week of August), operating every day and into the night. With well over 100 stalls of food and wine from all over this region of vineyards packed into the beautiful Marktplatz and Dernsches Gelände, it is easy to find something new with every visit. But it's not just for wine connoisseurs or tourists. The whole town comes out, from teenagers to the much older generations, gloriously dressed in their suits and good shoes, to sit out at tables under the strings of lights and share a bottle (or two, or ten) amongst friends. Stopping for a glass on the way home from mid-week afternoon errands in town is not unheard of.
With our busy schedules this month, we only managed two brief stops at the fest this year. We eagerly grabbed some of the best seasonal fest food - including crepes, Flammkuchen, the freshly-made potato chips that only make an appearance at the summer fests and a ridiculous half-meter wurst, at which my husband snickered when he handed it over, pleased with himself for getting me something worthy of adolescent jokes and incredulous stares from passers-by - and not surprisingly, discovered even more new wines we hope to stock our wine rack with. When some of the best bottles of local Riesling barely break 10€, it only makes leaving this incredible - and often overlooked - part of the country that much harder. The moody summer skies only added to the underlying sense of sadness.
So this might have been our fourth and final year at the fest, or perhaps we will have to plan a trip to visit friends back here around this wonderful wine week. It is a festival that celebrates the best of what the Rheingau has to offer and is worth every opportunity to enjoy it.