AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 33
Name of wine estate: Schloss Vollrads
Wine region: Rheingau
Standout points: Possibly the oldest wine cellar in the world; top Rheingau VDP Rieslings
Winemaker: Rowald Hepp
Wine style: Riesling
Eight centuries of Riesling
Is this the oldest wine cellar in the world? Quite possibly. The Barons of Greiffenclau, old Lorraine nobility, began making wine here more than eight centuries ago, living in the tower house which overlooks this effortlessly romantic section of the Rheingau. Schloss Vollrads is so much a part of the wine heritage of the region that it is actually a vineyard designation in its own right, and thus does not have to display a village name on its labels.
A warm Rheingau welcome
In recent years the castle has opened up to the public considerably. Tastings of Schloss Vollrads superb range of Rieslings, Sekts and brandies in the Kutscher, or converted coach house, are available all year round without prior booking. Dine in the Kavalierhaus in the orangery, or on the patio during the summer months. A light menu includes dishes based on the best regional ingredients, such as game from the forests of the Hinterland and the Taunus, local cheeses and meats, while the seasonal main menu comes with specific Schloss Vollrads Riesling recommendations.
The best time to visit
Perhaps the best season to visit the castle is In the summer, when live music events regularly take place within the grounds of the castle, most prominent among which is the Rheingau Musik Festival. The music here is mainly classical. A little later in the year, during harvest, a public bar, from which you can enjoy Flammkuchen (tarte flambée) and a selection of fine Riesling wines, is set up in the castle’s central courtyard.
Take a hike
It’s well worth exploring beyond the castle walls, too. Rheingau is a beautiful region, and plenty of rewarding hiking trails invite you to explore it. One popular trail, the Flötenwanderweg (named after the traditional Rheingauflöten wine bottle) takes you through the Vollradser Wäldchen (Vollrads Woodlands) in the north, and following the idyllic Flötenweg (Recorder Lane) from where you can walk through the vineyards alongside Schloss Vollrads and take in the grandeur of the whole estate.