Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Rain coming up

Yesterday, I had an appointment on the other side of the Rhine and took the ferry to save some time. This was the view from the water back to Winkel (you see the church St. Walburga) and Schloss Johannisberg. There was also quite some rain coming up...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hut in Vineyards No. 3

There are several huts like this in the vineyards. Remember the ones I showed you in March and April? This one can be used as a refuge for hikers and pedestrians, but also for the wine growers when they work in the vineyards.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kloster Eberbach - Dormitory

This is the former dormitory at Kloster Eberbach. There is one fascinating fact about it: if you look at the columns in the back, they appear shorter than the ones in the front which is quite natural because of the perspective, right? But even if you measure them it turns out that they are really shorter since the floor lies a bit higher there.

If you're curious to see a "magic door" hidden in this room, check out my other blog.

More photos from Kloster Eberbach:
Part of the entrance
Entrance to museum

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Photo Quiz No. 3

This is another photo taken by our friend Christian in a village called Hausen. It shows the work of an old profession that doesn't really exist like this anymore. Nowadays, it's more an attempt to keep up the tradition and show interested people how it works. Do you have an idea what it could be? A hint: The earth is just the cover, what's inside is important!

Prize: A postcard from the Rheingau - everyone who makes a guess can win. Tomorrow, I will write each name on a piece of paper and draw the winner.

Previous Photo Quizes: No. 1, No. 2

* + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + *

Update 29.5.: Wow, already the second comment (Sidney) got the right answer! This is what we call a "Meiler" (charcoal pile) - there's wood stapled in a certain manner and then it gets covered with earth so that no air can reach it. Only a small funnel is left open so that the wood can be set under fire. After 6-8 days the charcoal is ready.

From all your comments I draw a winner for the postcard .... Micki! Congratulations, Micki! Please email me your address so I can send you the postcard.

Thank you all for participating in my photo quiz!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rheingau Panorama 2

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Weimer - Thanks Christian!

Today I'm happy to show you another panorama of the Rheingau taken by Christian, a dear friend of ours, during their Father's Day hike. It shows the view from the second highest hill in the Rheingau - the Hallgartner Zange - down to the valley.

Please click on the image for a larger version of the panorama!

On the left you can even see the cities Wiesbaden and its neighbor Mainz, then most of the towns of the Rheingau: (from left to right on "our side of the Rhine") Walluf, Eltville, Erbach, Hattenheim, a little up the hill Hallgarten, Oestrich, Mittelheim, Winkel, Geisenheim and then on the right a bit hidden by the trees Johannisberg and Rüdesheim.

For more panoramas, check out these:
Rhine Panorama
Bay of Oestrich Winkel in the evening
Rheingau Panorama 1

Friday, May 26, 2006

Raindrops on Window

It's been raining non-stop today but since I have work to do I didn't mind that much. It's actually the best weather to stay inside and get stuff done :).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

The guys took off this morning for their Father's Day hike and I'm stuck at home having to work. :-|

It's also a holiday today (Ascension Day) which means a long weekend for a lot of people taking Friday off.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads visiting my blog!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ferry in Mittelheim

The widest part of the Rhine is in Oestrich-Winkel where it's about 1km wide. The next bridge crossing the Rhine is about 20km upstream. Therefore we have ferries in several towns along the river.

This one is in Mittelheim, crossing not only the Rhine but also the state borders between Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. Of course there are little "fun-quarrels" going on about the fact of having the Rhine as a "border" - the people on each side refer to the others as "living on the wrong side"...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Old window, open door, tree...

There is nothing really special about this photo - I just like the mood of it. There is little "Miss Picky" inside me saying "wouldn't it be cool if there was a cat sitting in the window"... But besides that I'm quite happy with it ;).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Burmesian Building

This is quite an exotic sight in the Rheingau - originally used as the Burma EXPO building and afterwards given as a present to a local company. It's now located on the European Business School campus in Oestrich-Winkel. For a while it hosted an institute for Eastern medicine but the sign has been taken down so I assume that it's vacant at the moment.

For a view from another perspective check out my other blog.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The "Leinpfad" (towpath)

I'm cheating today - it's been raining "cats and dogs" yesterday and today we have grey sky, so I decided to post this photo from a few days ago. Blue sky and nice weather is just nicer to look at ;).

It has been taken during one of our evening walks along the Rhine and the small harbor of Oestrich-Winkel. There had been a family of geese on the path which is escaping back to the water (they're in the shadow so not easy to spot right away).

Btw, this path along the Rhine has an interesting history: in former times when boats weren't running with motorcraft somehow the boats had to get upstream as well. Therefore, they hired people with horses to drag them upstream. And this had been the path for the horses then. Nowadays it's used by pedestrians and bicyclists (great way to do a bike trip along the Rhine!!).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

New neighbor

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Weimer - Thanks Christian!

This guy suddenly appeared in one of our neighbors backyard. Well, he didn't just appear - I'm sure that's his new home now. He seems a bit lonely all by himself, though, but I'll pass by from time to time to say Hello. :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Training of the local Fire Department

Yesterday in the evening we watched the local young firemen during their training at the Rhine.
Each of the small towns in the Rheingau have their own fire department - all volunteers going through a tight training before they are accepted to the team.

P.S. Also check out Markus' webblog - he's about to become a professional firemen and posts photos of his training.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


One more photo from Schloss Vollrads - this is the entrance to the main building. I love the yellow tone of it - I think it makes it quite inviting. Also notice the star-shaped lamp!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rhine Panorama

From this panorama you can get a good impression how wide the Rhine is in some parts of the Rheingau. In this photo only the area on the left of the Rhine belongs to the Rheingau.

During the weekend, and especially when we have nice weather, the Rhine is full with boats. And there are also wind surfers which I've shown you earlier. Some people even swim in the Rhine, but you really need to watch out since there can be dangerous currents so you better go to beaches where it's allowed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cloister at Kloster Eberbach

Leaving yesterdays hallway behind, you get into the cloister of Kloster Eberbach. It's a very calming and peaceful atmosphere here, even though there are no monks around anymore. You can even notice that visitors calm down their voices when they enter this area. It still has this feeling to it...

For another view of the cloister check out my other blog.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The end of the tunnel is in sight...

Do you know this feeling on Mondays? Well, I'm sure some of you do, there even have been songs about it. Anyways, let's just say that the green on this photo looks like my Friday for this week. But I guess a good cup of coffee will already help me getting started today as well... ;)

This is actually no tunnel but part of the entrance area to the cloister at Kloster Eberbach.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Abstract Photo: Pollen

Today's photo is a bit abstract but I wanted to show you what's on the window - the stuff that looks like dust is actually pollen from blooming trees and flowers of the area. The air is really full with them at the moment so you see everything covered with it - windows, cars, outside tables and chairs, etc. I even noticed it on my camera when I sat outside for an hour - afterwards it had a thin layer of pollen on it. That's the reason why it was good that we had some rain in the afternoon yesterday to clear the air a bit again. I guess, everyone with allergies agrees with me on that :).

If you're interested in what kind of pollen we have in the air at the moment, check out this "Pollen Radar" (in German).

... almost forgot:
HAPPY MOTHER's DAY to all the moms visiting my blog today!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Tower at Schloss Vollrads

The oldest building at Schloss Vollrads is the tower from 1320 that stands in the water of a pond. I know, from this perspective you can't really see the water but it's there :).

Last thing I heard was that they are renovating the inside of the tower and apparently there are also plans to have a room for newly-weds in there to stay overnight (just hearsay from one of the waiters at the restaurant).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Having a Break at Schloss Vollrads

Nowadays, Schloss Vollrads is owned by the bank. They rented out one of the buildings for a restaurant and then there is also still the winery. The rest of the castle can be rented for celebrations or other events.

This photo is from the inside courtyard of Schloss Vollrads (right next to the lake with the tower). The building ahead hosts the "Vinothek" of the winery which is open during the day for wine tasting. They also have tables outside and offer small snacks.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Schloss Vollrads

One of my favorite castles in the Rheingau: Schloss Vollrads in Winkel. The tower you see on the right is standing in the middle of a lake.

Unfortunately, the castle has a sad story connected to it. The last owner, Count Erwein Matuschka-Greiffenclau inherited the property from his family in 1975. The castle and the connected winery had already been deep in debt which had been hard to lower. In 1997, when the bank decided not to extent the credit, he committed suicide since he couldn't stand the shame of loosing the family property.

Needless to say, that it had been a big story in the area. Especially since he had been quite popular - he was president of the "Deutscher Weinbauverband" (German Alliance of Winegrowers) at that time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Door in Eltville

Walking around in the old part of Eltville I noticed this door. Since Eltville is also called the "Rosenstadt" (rose city) of the Rheingau, the owners used this as a theme. As soon as the beautiful rose garden at the "Kurfürstliche Burg" is in full bloom, I'll show you some pictures of it.

... seems to be my "door day" today since I've also posted a door at my Wiesbaden Daily Photo blog.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dandelions in the Vineyards

Wanted to show you the dandelions in the vineyards before they're gone...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Kloster Eberbach

Since I have been tempting you with all the wine in my previous post, I'll take you to an abbey today: Kloster Eberbach. But as you can probably already guess, even the abbey has to do with the wine business. It actually played (and still plays) a central role in it.

The monks from Kloster Eberbach (together with the monks from Johannisberg) had been the first ones to grow wine in the Rheingau. They had been very successful in it, so that the abbey, although a bit hidden in a valley, grew quite large. In about 1525 it is said that they had an enormous wine barrel with a volume of between ca. 50,000 and 100,000 litres. Due to secularization the abbey lost its assets and territory in 1803.

Nowadays it hosts large events like the "Rheingau Musik Festival", or smaller ones like the "International Easter Egg Fair". You can visit the former abbey where interior scenes of the film "The Name of the Rose" with Sean Connery were filmed. And there are regular wine tastings and also big wine auctions taking place as well.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sparkling Wine Making: The Result

And this is the result of our Sparkling Wine/Sekt making presentation. Next step would be to label the bottles and polish them a bit, but instead we had a little tasting of the product ;).

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sparkling Wine Making: Technology

Yesterday, you've seen how the yeast settles down in the bottlenecks of the sparkling wine bottles. Now we need to get it out there. In former times, the bottlenecks got frozen so that the yeast was easy to get out as a block of ice. Nowadays, a machine like the one above on the left simply sucks out the yeast.

Then you see 2 tubes going into the bottles. Through one of them, the machine checks how much fluid is inside the bottle and adds some more sparkling wine, if necessary. The other tube is used for the refinement of the sparkling wine. Whenever you read "Cuvée" on a sparkling wine bottle, it means that it got refined with other wines. For example with some sweeter wine to give it a milder taste. But the dosage is very much the secret and the success of every good sparkling wine maker.

Once the sparkling wine is ready and refined, the bottle gets its cork in the machine on the right. The cork gets pressed into the bottle and then a metal cap is added to secure the cork.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sparkling Wine Making: Rüttelpult

Here you see what we call "Rüttelpult" (jiggling board) in sparkling wine making. It's basically a board with holes where, in the process of the fermentationn in the bottles, the bottles full with the "raw wine" get stuck in upside down, so that the yeast starts to settle in the top parts of the bottles. Due to the yeast the wine starts developing the sparkling.

The jiggling part of it is, that the bottles get twisted a bit from time to time so that the yeast gets fully collected in the bottleneck. If you look close you can see a white line on the bottom of each bottle (it's a bit tricky since you also see the reflection of the light). The direction of the white line tells the wine maker which bottles have been twisted and when.

By the way, this is also the same process as for Champagne. The only difference is that only sparkling wine from the region Champagne in France is allowed to carry that name.

Tomorrow, I'll show you how the yeast comes out of the bottles without losing the sparkling...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Schlemmerwoche: Participating Winery

This is one of the wineries participating in the "Schlemmerwoche" ("week of feasting"). As a sign (so that people know) they have this wreath hanging outside with the wine bottle (the "Rheingauer Flöte") together with a glass.

You might actually see this throughout the whole year, not only during the "Schlemmerwoche". It's quite common that wineries open their wine cellars, but they usually don't have that many extra special events like they have during this week.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sparkling Wine Making

Right now we have an event going on in the Rheingau which is called "Schlemmerwoche" ("week of feasting"). It means that for this week, the participating wineries open their cellars, have special events like this one - a tour about the making of sparkling wine or "Sekt" as we call it - or just put up some chairs and tables in their garages or living rooms and offer food and wine.

What you see in the photo is a cork for a champagne/sparkling wine bottle before it's been pressed into the bottle. You see, it doesn't have the typical shape yet, that we see when we open a sparkling wine bottle. The cork is lying on a "Rüttelpult" (which I'm going to explain later) and in the background you see people tasting the "Sekt".

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Last photo from our Rüdesheim - Niederwald trip: back at the Drosselgasse you can get yourself a souvenir from Germany. There are sweaters and hats for the upcoming soccer world cup, cuckoo clocks (which are originally from the Black Forest) and all kinds of other stuff that you do or don't need ;).

Monday, May 01, 2006

On our way back

We're on our way back to the Rüdesheim valley station with the cable cars. Others (not as lazy as we were) walked down the hill. It's actually a nice path through the vineyards with a great view down to Rüdesheim and the Rhine river valley.