The Oldest Vineyard of Germany
The ‘Glöck’ is counted at the most well known area of the ‘Roten Hanges,’ or the red slopes and is also the oldest vineyard in Germany. The vineyard land was left as a present within a deed in the year 742. At that time, Karl Mann, the son of Karl Martells (the brother of King Pepin of the former Church of our Lady (later St. Kilian’s church)) gave the land to the Diocese of Würzburg. This meant that the managers of the vineyard had to pay tithes to the crown prince-bishop of Würzburg. These tithes consisted of fruit and wine.
The name of the vineyard has no doubt come from the church and its bells-whether it is directly from the bells or that the church’s wine bells were paid for through the wine and fruit is unclear. The name, however, signifies the special connection of the church and the vineyard. Therefore, the St. Kilian’s church today is enclosed by the surrounding vineyards.
The ‘Glöck’ itself is today owned by the Oppenheim state viticulture domain and is organically farmed. It is only 2.1 Hectars, but it is nonetheless famous for its Riesling and Pinot Noir that grows there. The grapes come from an area of the ‘Rotliegendem’ or Permian red bed with the lightly sandy loess strait from the Rhine that creates a playfulness of fruitiness and minerality within the wine. A one hundred year old wall made by monks in the Middle Ages to protect the vineyard, also accounts for a special flair of the Glöck area and protects the vineyard from cold winds. The river, the wall, and the land with a slope of 20 percent, produces a completely special microclimate to the area.
The Niersteiner Glöck is with the association of German Quality and Predicate Wine Estates (VDP). The Glöck is considered the ‘Great Growth of Rheinhessen’ and is classified as such. The top Riesling from the Glöck can be tasted, savored, and bought within the domain.