In Mainz on 17 September 2010, an independent expert jury chaired by Chief District Executive Ernst Walter Görisch selected the winners of the "Best of Wine Tourism Awards" for the year 2011 from Mainz and Rheinhessen.
The renowned award is being conferred for the third time in Germany since June 2008, when the City of Mainz and the Rheinhessen Region became members of the international network of Great Wine Capitals.
The quality and number of applications currently received prove once again that Mainz and Rheinhessen have a wine tourism potential that is competitive at an international level. Ernst Walter Görisch, Chief Executive of the Alzey-Worms District, was delighted to note in his summing up after inspecting the applications that Rheinhessen is developing more and more into an attractive and innovative wine and tourism region that still has potential which is to be promoted.
The official award ceremony took place on 29 October in the course of the Wine Forum Rheinhessen at the Electoral Palace in Mainz. The winners of the regional competition take part in the international comparative competition with the prize winners from the other Great Wine Capitals. “The quality of the new vintage of Best of Award prize winners will certainly be able to score points with the international jury, too.” Mayor Jens Beutel is convinced.
Wine tourism & service: Villa Spiegelberg
The professionally run guest-house has been well known for many years as a conference hotel for the Rhine-Main region and stands out through its wonderful, quiet location in the Nierstein vineyards. The Villa Spiegelberg combines the cultural asset wine with a character of experience. Thus in the case of the “Nierstein Wine Circus” rambles and tours by covered wagon or stretch limousine are organised through the vineyards. Numerous thematic wine tastings, which take place in the midst of top Nierstein vineyard locations, combine the instructive with pleasure in enjoyment, rounding off the creative range.
Hans Bürkle commented “This award is a great honour and incentive for us to intensify the co-operation with suppliers from Rheinhessen in the wine tourism business.”
Innovative wine tourism experiences: Fachwerk im Eulengarten
The Fachwerk im Eulengarten enterprise in Vendersheim in Rheinhessen represents a decidedly innovative concept. After extensive renovation of the old courtyard, a restaurant and cookery school were opened here. Rheinhessen and international cuisine, always in keeping with the season of the year and utilising regional products, convinces through its imaginative realisation. The abundance of topics ranges from Rheinhessen tapas, autumnal delights from Burgundy to a trip through the cuisines of Asia. Not only have the premises been lovingly furbished, the garden enchants with its rural atmosphere.
Katja Mailahn of Fachwerk im Eulengarten remarked,“The very application itself was a gain for our enterprise. It was an opportunity to look at our range, our appearance and our private restaurant as a whole from a new viewpoint. The award was then the final touch.”
Wine gastronomy: Merian Hotel | ZWO Restaurant & Hotel
At the historic centre of Oppenheim, the baroque building of the Merian Hotel attracts the visitor’s eye directly with its magnificent facade. The former house of the clerk of the provincial court dating from the seventeenth century has been extensively renovated and modernised. Just a few yards away, the committed proprietors have realised a further example of successful wine gastronomy with the “Zwo”. Top wines from Rheinhessen, refined cuisine and professional management form the main focus of this concept.
Art and culture: Winzerhotel Himmelacker
Within the walls rich in tradition of the Bernhard Storr vineyard, not only was a stylish hotel erected in 1993 that won an award from the German Tourism Association for its professional management. The winegrowing family promotes the topic of art and culture in the Rheinhessen region in an outstanding manner with its theatre barn and the newly constructed outdoor theatre with numerous productions and cultural events over the whole year.
Accommodation: Hyatt Regency Mainz
The Hyatt Regency Hotel is a good advertisement for the wine capital when it is a matter of the accommodation of international visitors. With its location right by the Rhine and its direct proximity to the old part of the city, the refined standard of care for guests and its elegant furnishings, the hotel convinces in all criteria which justify an award in the “Accommodation” category. The Fort Malakoff fortification from the 19th century has been perfectly integrated into the spacious, modern design of the hotel. For many years, the hotel has been making its mark in addition with gastronomic events and regional as well as international wine presentations.
Architecture, parks and gardens: Weingut Bernhard-Räder
A wonderful Rheinhessen landscape garden awaits the visitor to the Bernhard-Räder vineyard and guesthouse in Flomborn. The former kitchen garden has been redesigned to become the first Bach flower garden in Rheinhessen. The property itself is a venerable old manor house that was refurbished with stucco ceilings and art nouveau elements in 1907 and recently underwent an extensive renovation.
Photo credit: Volker Oehl