How did Rhine-Hessian winegrowers grow grapes over 100 years ago? What was their everyday life like? If you want to find out exactly, you’ll find it in the historic Winzerkeller in Ingelheim.
The lushly planted foyer with the architecturally successful glass roof right next to the Tourist Info doesn’t yet reveal anything about wine history. The expedition into the past takes curious visitors two floors down: Via sandstone steps trodden by industrious cellar workers, they reach a large vaulted cellar – beautifully lined with light-coloured bricks.
Wine stories in wine barrels
Modern and mysteriously illuminated, 24 artistically carved annual barrels are lined up against the quarry stone wall and filled with countless wine stories. Stories and pictures corresponding to the individual years can be called up via transparent touch screens.
From the “sound shower”, visitors hear music typical from the selected period. An original page of the newspaper from the corresponding year transports visitors to the news situation of the time: 1968, for example, is about the student riots.
Whole batteries of well-preserved concrete barrels with original tiles are now authentic exhibits. Some have been cut open and now serve as action islands. Cellar talks take place in one of them whereby people sit down around a table while on the screen opposite them, an actor tells the stories handed down from the men and women who worked in the winegrowers’ cooperative over decades. The vinological storytelling provides unusual insights into the everyday work of the “cellar comrades”.
Smell the scent of the wine cellar
In another concrete barrel, the work steps needed to bring wine into the bottle are shown. Another is called the “scent lab”, where visitors are invited to identify six typical wine cellar scents. In the scent quiz, visitors are able to sniff out smells such as lye, metal, sweat, glue, cardboard or red wine.
Interactive contact with the founders: If you click on an individual person in the group photo taken in the construction pit of the winegrowers’ cooperative of 1904, this person’s own personal story appears – a treasure trove of wine personalities and their fate. Within one year in 1904, the 106 members of the cooperative, founded in 1901, erected the imposing building.
In their honour, the “Walk of Wine – how comrades work” vividly depicts individual work steps along the concrete barrels. Anyone who looks carefully at this impressive exhibition, which opened in April 2022, will then know exactly how wine is made.
Wishes from the wine bottle
At the end of the multimedia show, everyone can create a beautiful personal memory with a “corked wish”: One can write a wish on a piece of paper, insert it into a wine bottle and cork it yourself.
After the visit to the exhibition, a wine tasting is offered in the vinotheque: Wines from 25 Ingelheim winegrowers are available to taste. During the opening hours of the Tourist Info, the exhibition can be visited free of charge – however, guided tours are recommended.
The Winzerkeller also has a wine restaurant with an appealing menu and regular cultural events in the first basement of the Winzerkeller. Here, for example, readings and music evenings take place. The premises can also be used for conferences.
The prize for the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Award 2023 in the category “Art & Culture” goes to the “Winzerkeller Ingelheim”.
The successful, elaborate multimedia concept telling the exciting history of a winegrowers’ cooperative in combination with interesting events convinced the jury wholeheartedly.
To learn more about “Winzerkeller Ingelheim” visit the website.
About the blogger:
TV- and wine journalist Wolfgang Junglas is responsible for tv broadcasts such as “The Election of the German Wine Queen” in the entertainment editorial department at SWR Television in Mainz. He is also a writer, president of Weinfeder e. V., president of FIJEV and lecturer at Geisenheim University, Geisenheim.
Learn more about Rheinhessen and its wine capital Mainz on their page: Mainz | Rheinhessen