West of Mainz, on the gently sloping north bank of the Rhine, lies the Rheingau, one of Germany’s most prestigious wine-growing regions, known for its Riesling and Spätburgunder or Pinot Noir. The English term Hock for German wines derives from Hochheim near Wiesbaden, whose wines found favour with Queen Victoria. It’s a region of photogenic, vine-clad hillsides and pretty villages, and one unmissable attraction: the hauntingly beautiful Gothic monastery of Kloster Eberbach. At the western end of the region, the day-tripper magnet of Rüdesheim balances brash commercialism with a range of fine- and wet-weather attractions.
The Rheingau has a busy programme of wine-related festivals all year round, from a gourmet festival in early March to Kiedrich’s Rieslingfest in June and the Riesling Gala at Kloster Eberbach in November. Tourist offices have details.