Lucerne, Switzerland & Rhine River Cruise travel blog

Schloss Vollrad

Wine tasting - @ 10:30 in the morning

Wall covering is embossed leather

The tower keep was the first home built

One of the entrances to the castle

On the grounds

The motto for all this region

Rudesheim

Street from the riverfront in Rudesheim to the main shopping street one...

Cable car over the vineyards at Rudesheim

Headed into the Rhine Gorge - vineyards everywhere

Castle

Couldn't take a picture without a castle

Castle

Some were still being lived in and others like this were just...

More castles

Even one at the river level shaped like a ship

And more

More

Guess what - another castle

Boppard - the main 2 spires are the main church

Boppard street

Flowers everywhere

Goats on the hill across from Boppard

The walk along the riverfront in Boppard

Riverfront walk

Church across the river from Boppard

The house behind us was built in 1787


We had a full day today visiting a winery, going through the Rhine Gorge with all the impressive castles and the two small villages of Rudesheim and Boppard, Germany. The Schloss Vollrad is a castle and a wine estate in the Rheingau wine-growing region in Germany, that has been making wine for over 800 years. The Riesling grape is the only grape variety used in the wine.

Today the core building of the estate is a substantial tower house surrounded by a square pond and is only reachable by a bridge. This keep can be traced to the first third of the 14th century and the family of Greiffenclau. The octagon stage tower, flanking the donjon, was erected in 1471; the bay window was added in 1620. Above the doorway the coat of arms of the Greiffenclau family can be seen.

In 1684 the present two-winged manor house was built by Georg Phillip Greiffenclau von Vollrads near the tower. His son Johann Erwein erected the estate buildings around 1700, as well as boundary walls around the manor garden, and finally equipped the tower with a typical baroque roof.

In 1975 Erwein Matuschka Greiffenclau took charge of the property, which was heavily in debt. Although an important figure in the emergence of a new or rediscovered style of high quality dry Rheingau wine in the 1980s and 1990s, he was not successful in reorganizing his estate. When in 1997 the principal bank decided on the declaration of bankruptcy, Erwein took his gun, went to his beloved vineyards, and committed suicide. Since then, the estate has belonged to the Nassauische Sparkasse bank, which runs the manor house as well as the vineyards and a restaurant. No one lives in the estate now and most of the time the manor house is not open to the public. Access is only allowed for special events.

On the way back to the ship, we had time in Rudesheim which is a wine-making town (as is most of the region in the Rhine Valley). Although it is visited by a lot of tourists, it still retains a lot of the small village feel. A lot of the original Gothic and timber-framed, gabled houses were destroyed in the WW II heavy bombing, some very good replicas show what they would have looked liked. One of the highlights is the “Drosselgasse” which is only a 100 ft long but is very narrow with shops, taverns and restaurants tightly packed on both sides.

After a grilled German sausage lunch on the sundeck to fortify us, we spent the next several hours sailing in the Rhine gorge watching all the castles go by. They were all centuries old but several were over a thousand years old.

We docked in Boppard and took a stroll around that small village which is fronted by a long promenade along the riverfront. We learned that it was one of the main settlements of the Romans and there are still some ruins that can be seen. During the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) which was one of the most destructive conflicts in human history, Boppard lost one third if its population.



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