Wine and Monasteries

One thing I'm coming to realize about Europe is that monasteries and booze seem to go to together like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump anyone?).  Exhibit A from two weekends ago: Chimay brewery and Trappist monks.  Exhibit B: wine and Kloster Eberbach, near Wiesbaden.  Another realization: switching between European and American keyboards is difficult.  The z and y are switched, the @ is hard to find (I actually had to google where it was on a German keyboard - don' judge), the apostrophe requires two key strokes to get, and the question and quotation marks are in an odd locations. Not to mention the addition of the umlauts: ä, ö and ü.  

Anywho, back to the point of this post.  This past weekend we had the great fortune to meet up with an old friend at a very historic monastery (Kloster Eberbach).  He was in town on business (albeit up near Düsseldorf) for two weeks and had a free weekend.  One of his coworkers suggested the place and I'm glad he did or else I don't know if we would have ever visited here.  Admission to the Kloster is 7,50 euro per person (note another weird keyboard fact- the comma instead of the a period in the number pad).  They have special walking + wine tasting tours, but unfortunately, you have to be in a group to book them and none were even being offered the day we visited due to a music festival being held there.  Plus they're in German.  And while we are learning the language, our vocabularies are similar to that of an 8 month old, with the speaking skills to match.  So, we did the self-guided tour.

Monastery Church built between 1145 to 1160, and 1170 to 1186

The construction of the monastery started around 1145.  That's 851 years ago.  Crazy to think that something built just shy of a millennium ago is still standing.  And still in use!  Doing the math, that's nearly 500 years EARLIER than the pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock.  Over the years, it was added on to, partially torn down, rebuilt, refit and generally modified.  Today, it is managed by a number of wineries in the area, but it's history with wine isn't new.  In fact, wine production has been taking place here for nearly 500 years.  The oldest wine press there dated from the mid-1600s, the newest was from some time in the 1800s.  While they aren't used anymore, they are still an impressive sight to behold.

We also toured other parts of the Kloster: the church, the dining hall and the former dormitories.  The dining hall was one of the rooms that had been dismantled and rebuilt.  See below for some pictures from the tour.

Lay Brother's Dormitory Constructed in 1200

And of course, no tour of a winery-monastary would be complete without a wine tasting and purchase of said wine.  Germany is known primarily for it's Rieslings, and for good reason.  They are delicious.  And we are living in the heart of wine country.  I just wish I had some girlfriends over here to go wine tasting with; there are only so many I can drag Aaron to.

After touring, wine tasting and wine purchasing, we grabbed lunch at the little cafe on site.  I will never get over how good the bratwurst and brot is here.  Makes my mouth water just thinking of it.  Way better than in the US.  And then it was time to say our final goodbyes.  Next time, maybe Mitch can bring his wife (and my sorority sister) along!

Anyone else visiting wineries this time of year?  

- Meghan -