German Wine Harvest Fest starts today

A glass of new wine, onion cake and roasted chestnuts.
Photo by Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH /

by 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: This article was published in a previous edition of the Kaiserslautern American and the information has been updated to reflect this year’s event.

Harvest time in Germany is also wine fest time. The highlight of the wine fest season is the annual German wine harvest fest being celebrated in Neustadt along the German wine street today through Oct. 14.

The German wine harvest fest is considered as the vintners’ Thanksgiving. For more than 60 years, regional vintners celebrate the event after they finished their work in the vineyards and wine cellars for the old season, and the new season with new wines will start.

The fest is well-known for the little reconstructed wine village set up across from the Neustadt train station, the election of the Palatinate and German wine queens, the carnival and the biggest vintners’ parade in Germany.
The wine village is made up of little framework houses called “Haiselscher,” (Palatinate dialect meaning little houses) and booths, where local wines and food specialties are sold.

A typical season specialty offered is “Zwiebelkuchen,” or onion cake. It is similar to Quiche Lorraine and customarily it is served with “Federweisser,” the first new wine for the year. “Feder­weisser,” has a cloudy color and tastes more like grape juice than wine, containing less alcohol. It is still fermenting and after a few weeks loses its sweetness.

Lord mayor Marc Weigel accompanied by the candidates for the election of the Palatinate wine queen will officially open the “Haiselscher” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Live party music will entertain visitors today on a stage set up next the Haiselscher. Each day, different bands and singers will present different music styles.

A carnival with rides and a fest tent is near the wine village.

Neustadt’s Hetzelplatz will turn into a giant wine tasting location, the “German Wine and Champagne Meeting Point,” made of little pavilions, will lure visitors who want to sample wines from the nine wine villages belonging to Neustadt and from the other 13 wine-growing regions in Germany.

Highlight of the wine harvest fest is the vintners’ parade with floats, bands, walking groups, costumes groups and the Palatinate and German wine queens at 2 p.m. Oct. 13. The parade attracts more than 150.000 guests, coming from near and far.The fest will close with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Oct.14.

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