5 gorgeous Wine Destinations Close to Frankfurt

If you are looking for a wine tour in Frankfurt… you’ll definitely need to rethink. Frankfurt has only one type of wine, called  “Apfelwein” – in fact an apple cider, and that one requires an acquired palate. For a proper German wine experience you will have to leave the Frankfurt city boundaries and visit the wine regions nearby – Rheingau and Rheinhessen.

Here are 5 wine destinations within Rheingau and Rheinhessen that can be reached within an hour by train on a wine tour  from Frankfurt:

1 Wine Village Hochheim – Rheingau 

For older generations the term ‘Hock’ stands for German white wine as does ‘Claret’ for red wine from Bordeaux. Hock originates from the wine village of Hochheim in Rheingau – the origin of Queen Victorias favourite German wine, riesling. She visited in 1850 and ever since, ‘Hock’ relates to German riesling. 

Hochheim is 25 minutes by train from Frankfurt. Enjoy walking a tiny old town with half-timbered houses and baroque buildings. The most famous winery in Hochheim is Weingut Künstler  (- call for appointment). But in Summer just drop by the wine-tasting kiosk ‘Weinprobierstand‘ where the winemakers of Hochheim take turns offering generous pours of wines by the glass.

Open from 11.00 on weekends – a perfect place to meet locals.

Rheingau Vineyards – picture curtesy of Deutsches Weininstitut

 2 Wine Town Nierstein – Rheinhessen

About a century ago, Nierstein was famous in the world of wine, sometimes even headlining it’s proper chapter in wine menus for ‘Nierstein Rieslings’. Located just at the southern tip of the famous vineyard site ‘Roter Hang’ this quaint town charms with its old architecture and its Rhine River promenade. When visiting Nierstein take a hike up Germany’s oldest vineyard ‘Glöck’  and you will be rewarded by a sweeping view of the Rhine River. For a wine tasting, swing by the tasting room of Weingut St Antony

Approx 50 mins from Frankfurt, change trains in Mainz.

Lucky visitors get a tour of the historic wine cellars of the Estate St Antony

3 Great Wine Capital Mainz – Rheinhessen

Boasting a large old town, one of oldest and biggest cathedrals north of the Alps, a generous Rhine River promenade and the world famous Gutenberg Museum, Mainz has a lot to offer, even without wine. Winelovers however, will enjoy the myriad of wine-taverns, the al-fresco tasting stalls, and the Weinfeste, taking place virtually all summer around the city. (cf our Mainz guide for wine lovers).

Our favourite wine places are Weinbar Laurenz for casual yet excellent wine & dine, wine tavern Ladendorf for their outstanding wine list, and the boutique sparkling wine estate Flik  (off the city center, call for appointment).

Mainz is at 35 mins by train on a direct connection from Frankfurt.

Mainz’ Cathedral indicates the city center and the heart of Mainz old town

4 Red Wine Town Ingelheim – Rheinhessen

Ingelheim is on its best way to reclaim the title as red wine capital of Germany. Historically a riverside base for the German emperors inspecting their territories, Ingelheim today is sandwiched between Mainz and Bingen. Its historic center though offers plenty of interest to wine tourists: the estate J.Neus for instance sits on the largest historic cellar structure of Rheinhessen. Some barrels in here are over 100 years old! Nearby, the estate Weingut Wasem, located in a former abbey, offers not only great wines but also excellent food. Don’t miss taking a look at the remainders of the former imperial fortifications.

50 minutes from Frankfurt on a direct train connection.

Visit at the impressive cellars of winery J Neus in red wine town Ingelheim

5 Wine Town Eltville – Rheingau

Eltville is the lesser known sibling to Rheingau wine capital Rüdesheim. While similarly pretty and certainly as historic as Rüdesheim, Eltville doesn’t feature a cruise terminal on its beautiful Rhine River promenade – and feels just more quaint and less touristic . One will want to take a stroll of the riverside walk, stop at restaurant Pier 511 for a light meal, and taste wines at J B Beckers Weingarten. Culturally interested should not miss out on a stop at the Eltville castle. From Eltville hitch a bus to visit the world famous ‘cradle of Riesling’ – Monastery Eberbach.

Eltville is at 50 mins by train from Frankfurt, change trains in Wiesbaden.

Historic wine presses – to be seen at Monastery Eberberbach – just north of Eltville

Further notes:

  • If you prefer a guided experience, with knowledgeable hosts and scheduled tastings… BottleStops runs wine tours from Mainz.
  • Some of the links provided lead to German language pages – unfortunately not many estates offer bilingual pages.
  • To travel germany by train, do download the Deutsche Bahn Navigator APP. The English language timetables and booking options are  extremely handy for international visitors.