While in my “Planet Wine” series I love showing you grapey corners of the world you might not expect wine to be made, like Arizona, Delaware or India, sometimes you have to go back to the old country, and there are numerous old countries in the world of wine. This is Steinbach Vineyards, located near Kloster Eberbach (Eberbach Abbey), in the Rheingau wine region of Germany. I could not find a Google Street View photo, but you’ll notice both in the above photo and the one below from Google Earth that the vineyard is surrounded by a stone wall. (In the Google Earth view the wall casts a shadow which is how you’ll see it). Steinberg is the largest wall-enclosed vineyard in Germany. Although wine has been produced here since the 12th century, the wall was completed in 1767.
Steinberg produces white wines as you might expect, but also a few rosé varieties. Riesling is their mainstay and supposedly it’s among the finest produced in this region of Germany. Grapes from Steinberg are sold to other wineries in addition to being made into wine on the premises. One of Steinberg’s most unique varietals is a grape that goes into a wine called Mauerwein, a special type that is different than all the other grapes in this vineyard because of the microclimate produced by being grown in the shadow of the stone wall.
This region of Germany is almost indescribably beautiful and completely saturated with history. Steinberg wines are mentioned in Dr. Müller’s fascinating 1000-year environmental history of German wine. Monks from Eberbach Winery founded the vineyard here in the Middle Ages, and the abbey continued in operation until 1803. More recently Eberbach Abbey “starred” as a location in the 1986 movie The Name of the Rose.
Now I’ll be thinking about cool white wine all day, and hopefully you will be too!