Niersteiner Glöck: The oldest vineyard site of GermanyA historic charter proves it: the vineyard site "Niersteiner Glöck" is the oldest vineyard site in all Germany that is called by its name without pause. In 742, the Carolingian ruler Karlmann – successor to Karl Martell and uncle of Charlemagne – gave a church property on the Rhine as a gift to the diocese of Würzburg. The gift was the parish of Saint Mary's Church in Nierstein, and it included a vineyard – the "Glöck".
Its name, an ancient form of bell, the vineyard of course took from the nearby church and their bells – however, whether the name came from the chiming of the bells itself or because the bell-ringer was paid with wine from that vineyard, remains yet to be established. Fact is: the bishop of Würzburg henceforth had to be paid the tithe, and that remained a fact for many a century to come. Today, the church adjoining the vineyard is the Saint Kilian's Church, the successor of the former Saint Mary's Church.
Today, the State's Wine Estate Oppenheim is the owner of the "Glöck" which is only 2,1 hectares big. On the famous grounds, today mainly Riesling and Gewürztraminer grow. The wines are marked by their balance of fruitiness and taste of minerals, they grow onto a mixture of clay and loess situated right on the banks of the Rhine.
The river creates a special climate together with the slope gradient of 20 percent – and with the aid of a centuries old stone wall which completely surrounds the vineyard. In the Middle Ages, monks built walls like that around their vineyards in order to shelter them from cold winds. Up to our time, the old walls create a special micro-climate for the grapevines. In 1992, the walls around the "Glöck" were renovated to resemble a Mediterranean style.
The vineyard site itself is today classified a first class site "Grosses Gewächs Rheinhessen" by the Association of German Quality and Prädikat Wine Estates, the VDP. The wines growing here can be tasted and bought at the State's Wine Estate in Oppenheim.