Germany’s Mittelrhein: Land of Wine and Legend

The Mittelrhein is magical. Whether you visit the Rhine River valley by car, boat or on foot, you’ll fall in love with the steep, vine-covered hillsides peppered with castles. This wine region, which stretches from just south of Bonn to Bingen, is one of my favorites. Here I feel transported to a time of legend, and for good reason. The Mittelrhein’s crags are part of German folklore.

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The Loreley, for example, was a beautiful young maiden with an irresistible singing voice. She sat on a cliff above a sharp curve in the Rhine, combing her blonde hair. Sailors who heard her felt compelled to move ever closer to the rock on which the Loreley sat, and died tragically as their boats were dashed to bits. Today, you can take a boat trip down the Rhine and see this famous cliff for yourself.

UNESCO recognized the Mittelrhein’s scenic splendor and rich cultural heritage in 1992, when it named the Upper Middle Rhine Valley a World Heritage Site.

A Rich Winemaking Heritage

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

On my autumn trip to Germany, I spent a day driving along the river. Autumn is a splendid time to visit the Mittelrhein because the terraced vineyards glow with the grape leaves’ fall colors. You’ll see shades of yellow, pale green, gold and russet. The vineyards seem to rush down the hillsides toward you, ending abruptly at the train tracks just above the road.