The production area is largely located in the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, with a small area in North Rhine-Westphalia. The vineyards cover 470 hectares of vineyards, which extend from the community of Oberdollendorf near Königswinter opposite Bonn to the north of Bingen, partly on both banks of the Rhine's eponymous middle course. The town of Koblenz lies at the heart of the beautiful river landscape. The Romans founded winegrowing here after the founding of the cities of Cologne (Colonia) and Bonn (Bonna). There was a heyday in the Middle Ages under the leadership of the Cistercians, who built the monastery Heisterbach above Oberdollendorf, which today only exists as a ruin. The town of Bacharach is an ancient wine trading centre.
The famous "Wirtshaus an der Lahn" is located in Niederlahnstein. Near the community of St. Goarshausen lies the world-famous 132-metre-high Loreley rock. The legend from the 19th century tells that here a mermaid attracted the Rhine boatmen with her lovely song and made their boats smash against the slate rock. The poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) made the Loreley world-famous with the lines "I don't know what it means that I am so sad". She is also the patron saint and landmark of the growing region. Every year on the first weekend in September, the "Mittelrhein Wine Forum" takes place at Rheinfels Castle, St. Goar am Loreleyfelsen, and on the first Saturday in May, the "Mittelrhein Wine Fair" is held in Bacharach-Steeg.
Climate and soil
The vineyards extend over 120 kilometres on both sides of the Rhine, deep into the side valleys. Some of them are also found on the banks of the Lahn. The scenically almost overwhelmingly beautiful area with many castle ruins presents itself as a narrow band of vineyards, some of which cling to the steeply rising slopes of the river in terraces. UNESCO took this into account when it declared the Middle Rhine Valley between Bingen-Büdesheim and Koblenz a World Heritage Site in 2002. The wind-protected locations benefit from many sunny days; the Rhine acts as an excellent heat accumulator. The soils consist of weathered slate and greywacke, scattered loess islands and in the north volcanic rock. More than 80% of the vineyards are on steep slopes with at least 30% inclination, the rest almost exclusively on hillsides. Some, such as in Bopparder Hamm, are among the steepest vineyards in Germany. The extensive cultivation leads to a continuous shrinking of the areas. In the last 30 years this has been around 40%.
Areas, municipalities and locations
The growing area is divided into the two areas of Loreley and Siebengebirge with eleven large vineyards and 111 individual vineyards. The Loreley area is divided into the ten major sites of Hammerstein Castle, Rheinfels Castle, Gedeonseck, Lahn Valley, Loreley Rock, Marksburg, Herrenberg Castle, Schönburg Castle, Stahleck Castle and Reichenstein Castle. Typical here is the terraced viticulture. Well-known winegrowing communities with their individual sites are:
The Siebengebirge area with the Petersberg vineyard is located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and comprises around 25 hectares of vineyards. The winegrowing communities and individual sites:
Bad Honnef: Drachenfels
Königswinter: Dragon rock, Goldenfeet, Heisterberg, Laurentiusberg, Sülzenberg