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Monday, September 2, 2013

Wine Festivals, Big and Small

A Sweet Mosel While

The Mosel itself is worth the trip
Ah, yes, the source of the juice

Don't neglect the German reds!

Many more photos follow my written drivel.

Went to a couple of Weinfests on the Mosel River last weekend.  Friendly crowds, wines galore, and wood fired, grilled meats that will make you swear off vegetables.  

Bernkastel-Kues is one of the largest and most famous, while the Reil wine fest is almost unknown except among aficionados.   I could write volumes about each, but I’m sure you’ll agree photos do a much better job of capturing the celebratory spirit.  Short version:  The big fests have more of everything, including elbow-to-elbow throngs, multiple bands, and food booths that would fill several American malls. The small fests are less of a party atmosphere and while the food can still be exceptional, the focus is on wine and individual vintners.  I relish the big and the small, because most of all, I like German wine.  At fests you can buy wine by the glass or the bottle.  Another note, don’t just stick to the white wines.  German reds have come a long way!

Wine fests are spread across Europe, not just in Germany and not just on the Mosel River. From now through October, you can sip to your heart’s content, eat grilled meats, potato pancakes, and fries, dance with the natives, listen to band music, and get in the Bacchus spirit. Most wine booths will give you a significant price cut if you’re buying the bottles to go.

Two wine fests did not quench my thirst for juice of the grape.  I may have to go back.  If you’d care to join the fun, here’s a list of fests, both past and those to come:

The Mosel River, Moselle in French, starts in the Vosges Mountains in France before flowing for 339 miles through Germany and into Luxembourg.   Funny, I always think of the Mosel as German, probably because it’s one of Germany’s thirteen wine regions.  Some call it a tributary of the Rhine because the two rivers meet in Koblenz.  I say, “Phooey!” but then I say that about a lot of things.  The Mosel Valley is filled with sporting activities.  Hang gliders loft through the air, while boats, canoes, and kayaks try to avoid the huge barges carrying coal and steel.  There are wonderful bike trails and camping sites along either bank, with picturesque villages and historic castles seemingly every mile.  So even if no wine fests are on the agenda, the Mosel is a still worldwide tourist favorite.  As with most tourist destinations, there is a season.  Don’t come in the winter!  Shops and restaurants are buttoned up.

The Big Fest:  Bernkastel-Kues

Spiesbraten and W├╝rst!

Nothing shy about these folks!

Big, but friendly crowds

Bernkastel is a splendid old town.

Ah, a slave to fashion!

Must have been half a dozen major bands.

Frying those delicious potato pancakes

Served with fresh apple sauce, they're delicious!

The small fest at Reil

Small does not mean plain.  Beauty around every corner.

Grapes grow everywhere.  The sign advertises smoked trout.

Less crowded, but still fun.

Local color.

What every wine fest is all about!

If you think it looks good, oh, you should have had a taste!

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