I was invited to eat at some of the restaurants taking part in the 2022 Rheinhessen Genießen by Rheinhessenwein e.V, however as ever, all editorial is my own. Those restaurants marked with asterisks denote establishments where I have received a complementary meal, though not necessarily during the aforementioned press trip. I only recommend restaurants at which I would happily return and pay for food and drinks myself.
Germany’s winemaking regions are worth a visit at any time of year, but I’d argue that autumn’s the very best time to explore. In Germany’s largest wine region, Rheinhessen, the worst of the summer heat is over, but the vineyards remain verdant and there’s excitement in the air as the last of the grapes are cut from their vines. There are food and wine-related festivals and events aplenty, including the annual Rheinhessen Genießen (“Enjoy Rheinhessen“) campaign, in which a selection of restaurants around the region offer specially-created seasonal dishes made with produce from around the region and paired with local wines.
Rheinhessen Genießen aims to show off Rheinhessen’s producers, culinary talent and winemakers – as well as the region’s warm hospitality. Last year, I visited some of theses courtesy of Rheinhessenwein e.V. and shared my favourite restaurants and their dishes in my newsletter, Germany Travel Picks. This year, 22 restaurants are participating in the campaign, which kicks off on Friday 22 September. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience what the region has to offer. This autumn, I’m planning to head out and enjoy a Rheinhessen Genießen dinner again: if I do, it will be at one of the restaurants below.
Rheinhessen Genießen: participating restaurants
The rustic, country house decor at Weedenhof (pictured above) is deceiving: the Mediterranean-inspired dishes that emerge from the kitchen of this welcoming family-run restaurant are modern and creative. For Rheinhessen Genießen, chef-owner Michael Knöll will this year be offering pork belly with caramelised pears, creamed potatoes and onion sauce. His accompanying wine recommendation? A 2022 Weißburgunder Kabinett trocken from Weingut Schick, 350 metres down the road.
Weedenhof, Mainzer Str. 6, 55270 Jugenheim | Website
Occupying all four floors of a 17th century sexton’s house, the Zornheimer Weinstuben is as cosy and charming as it gets. Chef Lucas Christgen, who cooks classic Rheinhessen dishes with a Mediterranean touch, is this year serving up quince and pear ragu with hazelnut foam and a homemade oat biscuit crunch. The suggested wine pairing is a 2019 Zornheimer Guldenmorgen Riesling Sculptor Auslese edelsüß from Weingut Münzenberger, less than a minute’s walk down the road. Book a table on the ground floor if steep, wonky stairs aren’t for you.
Zornheimer Weinstuben, Röhrbrunnenpl. 1, 55270 Zornheim | Website
Lu’s Bunter Genuss
Since taking over the property in 2005, the Jordan family have steadily expanded Jordan’s Untermühle’s offerings. Today, it incorporates hotel rooms in both a 14th century water mill and a modern extension, a wellness area, and a restaurant that reopened in June under a new chef, family member Luisa “Lu” Jordan. For Rheinhessen Genießen, Lu is offering venison, Brussel sprouts and truffle two ways, paired with a 2020 Merlot trocken from Weingut Kopp Sternenfelserhof.
Fancy dinner with a view? The restaurant at the welcoming family-run boutique hotel Weinzuhause, which opened last year, offers panoramic views of its own vineyards. Chef Marius Mück, who focuses on regional, seasonal dishes, is serving a potato and Handkäse (a pungent sour milk cheese) quiche with pickled grapes for this year’s Rheinhessen Genießen. Pair with the 2022 Mommenheimer Chardonnay trocken from Weingut Becker, and if you booked yourself into one of their stylish rooms, you won’t have to go far to bed.
This upscale wine tavern, which has been family-owned since 1887, is a Mainz institution. If the weather allows, request a table in the courtyard and enjoy chef-owner Frank Gebert’s Rheinhessen-style beef pot pie beneath the grapevines. Frank’s dish is accompanied by a 2019 Elsheimer Bockstein Blauer Spätburgunder trocken from Winery Beck Hedesheimer Hof.
Geberts Weinstuben, Frauenlobstraße 94, 55118 Mainz | Website
Rheinhessen Geniessen will be taking place from Friday, 22 September until Sunday, 5 November 2023. For a full list of the participating restaurants (in English), visit the Rheinhessen Wein website.