Dresden – the most northerly city with a tradition of viticulture

Publish Time:2016-08-05 17:26:16Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:The oldest wine cellar in Dresden, built for the storage of wine in 1660, lies under the ‘Kavaliershaus’ of Schloss Albrechtsberg, and is still used for wine tastings today.

Wine tasting at the Winzer Müller vineyard, Photo: Christoph Münch

Wine tasting at the Winzer Müller vineyard, Photo: Christoph Münch

Over 850 years of viticulture in Saxony / 34 hectares of vines grow in the city / The oldest wine cellar dates back to 1660 / Numerous references to wine throughout the city

A charter from the year 1061 provides the first record of a vineyard in Meissen, the former capital of Saxony. Meissen lies some 30km from Dresden, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Elbe Valley. This gives it a particularly mild climate for its northerly location. There is evidence of viticulture in Dresden dating back to the 16th century. The oldest wine cellar in Dresden, built for the storage of wine in 1660, lies under the ‘Kavaliershaus’ of Schloss Albrechtsberg, and is still used for wine tastings today.

The Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, Augustus the Strong, not only loved French and Italian wines, he also promoted viticulture in Saxony. He founded the ‘anti-sobriety society’ which met in the basement of the Kurländer Palais, which is now a popular party venue with the gourmet seafood restaurant Kastenmeiers and function rooms above it. While imbibing wine, rank and nationality were deliberately ignored and members were allowed to speak freely without fear of repercussions. As a member of the society and also on behalf of his master, Count Wackerbarth, Augustus’s most important minister, built himself a “wine palace” in nearby Radebeul, today the state-owned winery.

There are numerous references to wine cultivation in the city of Dresden itself. The high altar of the Frauenkirche, for example, shows the scene of Christ on the Mount of Olives on Maundy Thursday. Baroque cherubs wear garlands made of ears of corn and grapes as a reminder of the institution of the Eucharist. The reconstructed baroque Köhler House on Neumarkt once belonged to a wine mer-chant, who decorated the palace with reliefs relating to the subject of wine. Appropriately, it once again houses a wine shop. Numerous pictures in the Old Masters Picture Gallery by Everdingen, Garofalo, Reni, Rembrandt, Rubens and other artists have taken wine as their subject. The famous Semperoper is even dedicated to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.

The subject of wine greets visitors to the sculptures in the baroque Zwinger, the festival square built by Augustus the Strong, and in numerous works of art in the Green Vault treasure chamber and other museums.

Dresden wines have also inspired poets and musicians. Friedrich Schiller finished the greater part of his works “Don Carlos” and “Ode to Joy” in a small house on a vineyard in what is today the city district of Loschwitz. The effusive words that Beethoven set to music in his 9th Symphony clearly refer to wine. Carl Maria von Weber spent his summers at a winery here and composed there both “Invitation to the Dance” and “Der Freischütz” (The Freeshooter). Today this vintner’s house surrounded by vines houses the Karl-Maria von Weber Museum dedicated to the composer. Naturally wine is served at events held in its idyllic garden.

Dresden is part of the wine-growing region of Saxony, and with 462 hectares is Germany’s third smallest wine-growing region. Currently (2012) there are 34 hectares of vineyards within the city of Dresden. As throughout Saxony, there are many amateur winemakers in Dresden, most of who work independently or as members of the Meissen wine cooperative.

The most important Dresden wineries:

Weingalerie Dr. Müller

Only 3.9km as the crow flies from the Loschwitz vineyard to the Frauenkirche. The view of the city center of Dresden from the vineyard, which on dry summer weekends becomes a seasonal wine tavern, is very striking. Regular wine seminars are held in the historic wine cellars, and on request “Schlenderweinproben”, guided walks through the gardens of the Elbe Castles with wine tasting.

Info:

www.winzer-mueller.de

Weingut Klaus Zimmerling

This organic winery produces fine wines on 4 hectares. Because of the small harvests in 2009 and 2010 no wine tastings are currently on offer. Wine is served in front of the wine cellar April - September: Saturday and Sunday 11am - 5pm.

Info:

www.weingut-zimmerling.de

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