Like a wriggling worm on a hook, the Mosel river winds its ways through lush vineyards, passing medieval castles and picturesque towns and villages. A breathtaking landscape characterizes this opulent winegrowing area, which is also of high recreational value. Particularly the Riesling wine produced here is famous beyond borders and is often considered one of the finest wines in the world.
What exactly makes these celebrated wines so special and, apart from wine tasting, why is the Mosel region worth a visit?
Vineyards are found along the 250 km long Mosel river connecting France, Luxembourg and Western Germany. The viticulture Mosel can be divided into five distinctive regions in the valleys of the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer rivers. Each region differs in landscape and the focus on one type of wine. The “Upper Mosel”, springing from the border triangle of France, Luxembourg and Germany to where the Saar flows in, is a rather flat and wide valley. Rock formations of shell limestone define the landscape. In contrast, the “Terrace Mosel”, stretching from Zell to where Mosel and Rhine meet in Koblenz, is characterized by extremely steep vineyards, providing only narrow terraces for the vines to be planted on.
As can be seen on the photo of this entry, the “Middle Mosel”, located between Germany’s oldest city of Trier and Bredel, features distinctive windings of the Mosel through a narrow valley. Considered the heart of the region, more than half of the entire wine of the Mosel grows here. Small, but not to be underestimated are the wine regions at the Saar and at the Ruwer. The wine grows at a higher altitude, which gives it a special character.
2.000 years ago, the first wine was cultivated as the Romans already discovered that the climatic conditions and the fertile soil of this region offer the perfect conditions for winegrowing. This makes the Mosel vineyards the oldest in the country.
Once covered by an ocean, the deposited sediments created kilometer-thick layers of slate and shell limestone. This type of soil is rich in minerals and creates the unique aroma for the fine-fruity Mosel wines. The art of viticulture is also influenced by various environmental powers. The mild climate, with little fluctuations in temperature, enables an extremely long harvesting period from April to October. At an annual average temperature of 10°C, the Mosel region is one of the warmest climate zones in Germany. The many different flavours of the wines are also influenced by the sunshine touching the vines, the angle of the slopes and the wind blowing through the valley.
The assortment of great wines is complemented with numerous restaurants offering gourmet kitchen. Besides its culinary variety, the Mosel region has many sights and interesting places to explore. It made 13th place out of the 100 most popular destinations for foreign tourists in Germany.
Not only vineyards define the landscape. Many historical landmarks can be found along the river. In Trier, Germany’s oldest city, the Romans’ architecture can be admired. The majestic Eltz Castle towering over vast woodlands takes visitors on a time travel to the Middle Ages. In Koblenz, the spectacular Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, a 19th-century military construction, invites visitors to enjoy a fantastic view of the “German corner” where Mosel and Rhine meet. Action and outdoor activities for the young or young-at-heart are also not falling short. Climbing in the adventure forest, driving a quad on dirt roads through stunning nature, going on geocaching tours, cycling along the river, canoeing or paragliding, just to name a few. Alternatively, the Mosel can also be enjoyed in a more relaxed manner. Views are great from hiking routes and from the water during a boat tour.
Just as varied as the activity possibilities is the range of different accommodations. From camping, to staying in a cosy half-timbered house or a modern hotel with a pool, there is nothing left to be desired here.
Whether you want to come in the warmer months and to see the rich green vineyards and enjoy a hike in the sun or in the cooler seasons to admire the brightly coloured vines with leaves in every shade of yellow, orange and red, the Mosel region surprises with its many facets and activities all year round.