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By Gisela Kirschstein
"We brought the Pinot Noir to our walls and onto the floor", Michael Werner says, pointing to the dark blue color that surrounds us. Indeed, the purple-blueish color reflects the red grapes that grow on the hills surrounding Ingelheim, this small city in Rheinhessen which has "Red Wine City" as its surname. In the dark blue sea at our Feet, grapevine leaves swim, gathering in droves in front of every doorstep.
Yes, the IBB Hotel in downtown Ingelheim breathes wine culture everywhere you look. The doorframes sparkle in bright green colors that remind of spring an leaves, cosy sofas and armchairs in radiant red invite the guest to sink into its cushions and enjoy a glass of marvelous red wine. "We live in one of the most dynamic wine regions of all Germany", says Werner, "and we have all these marvelous pinot noirs here."
In August 2017 the IBB Hotel Ingelheim opened its doors, a brandnew hotel, set up right on the central crossing of downtown Ingelheim. Right across the street, the townhall is situated and the new congress center which they call "King" – an abbreviation that also alludes to the king that one reigned from here: Charlemagne the Great.
The IBB is part of an international hotel chain with 13 houses in four countries. Normally, hotel chains do not really speak in individual tones, most of them feature their brand's standards that look the same wherever you go. This hotel is different, and it might be so, because they have Michael Werner. The 48-year-old hotel manager has been living wine culture in Rheinhessen for years. Werner directed a hotel in Alzey and won a Best of Wine Tourism Award there for his wine picnics and his wine discovery-tours with a vintage bus through the wine cellars of the region.
The new hotel in Ingelheim provided the chance to express his wine enthusiasm in a whole building. Inside the hotel rooms, everything is infused in the colors of wine. The deep red of burgundy covers the walls and enlightens the carpet. The small shelves are red and green just as the rings around the lamplights. Ancient winemaking-engravings cover the backwall behind the beds. No wonder, they won the Best of Wine Tourism Award for Accomodation in 2019.
109 rooms with 215 beds holds the four story-house, the restaurant on the top floor offers a wide view over the small city all the way to the grapevine-covered hills. Ingelheim is a booming small town just in the backyard of the capital of Mainz. Today, Ingelheim is home of one of the biog German chemistry companies, Boehringer, yet right up the street, a little while uphill, visitors find the ruins of the medieval Imperial palace of Charlemagne the Great – already in the 8th century, Ingelheim was a hotspot of power.
It was back then, too, that they planted those grapevines of the dark red wines on the hills of Ingelheim for which the city is still famous today. "It's the specific microclimate, and the soils which enable those wonderful white burgundy wines and spectacular red wines", Werner say. Indeed: Arndt F. Werner, Wasem, Bettenheimer, Neus – the hotel is literally surrounded by the grand names of winemaking.
It is on the weekends that Werner's wineloving guests come to Ingelheim to explore the wineries, the numerous wine feasts and the variety of Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs – or the Yellow Muscat-Champagne. Several dozens of those heavenly products appear on the hotel's wine menu, and if you're lucky, the host himself opens his wine bar for a very special personal tasting.
If not, there's always the culinary calender which offers wine meetings with the winemaker's discovery of the year or the pioneer of organic winemaking in Rheinhessen, Arndt F. Werner. Or you book the 5-courses-spring menu with matching wines – and in May and July, the vintage bus rolls again in discovery of the region's wine pleasures, connecting hotels, wineries and gourmet locations. A different course of the menu is then served in each location, accompanied by different wines – and this year, every location is a Great Wine Capital Award winner. "We try to live that connection", Werner says: Wine, great food and the Great Wine Capital's spirit. www.ibbhotelingelheim.de