It is the highlight of the wine fest season observed along the German Wine Street ― the German Wine Harvest Fest, which takes place today through Oct. 10 in Neustadt.
The traditional fest features a reconstructed wine village set up in front of the train station, the crowning of the Palatinate wine queen, the election of the German wine queen, a public wine tasting, Germany’s biggest vintners’ fest parade and a carnival with rides.
The wine village is made of little framework houses called “Haiselscher,” from 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 is customarily served with “Federweisser,” the first new wine for that year. Federweisser has a cloudy color and tastes more like grape juice than wine. It also contains less alcohol. It is still fermenting and after a few weeks loses its sweetness.
Next to the Haiselscher, radio station Antenne Pfalz will have a stage set up to provide musical entertainment with live bands every day. Here, the Palatinate wine queen, Karen Storck, will officially open the fest at 6 p.m. today and present the six candidates for the election of the next Palatinate wine queen.
Neustadt’s Hetzelplatz will turn into a giant wine probe location at 7 p.m. Thursday. In little white tents, visitors can sample wines from the nine wine villages belonging to Neustadt, from the other 13 wine-growing regions in Germany, and from Piemont, Italy, through Oct. 10.
Germany’s biggest vintners’ parade with more than 100 floats, bands, walking groups, costume groups and the Palatinate and German wine queens will start at 2 p.m. Oct. 9. City officials expect more than 100,00 visitors.
The fest will close out with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 10.
The German Wine Harvest Fest is the big Thanksgiving fest celebrated by regional vintners. They look back at their work in the vineyards and wine cellars for that season, and at the same time welcome the new season with new wines.
For more information on all events taking place during the wine harvest fest, visit www.neustadt.pfalz.com.
The German railroad company, Deutsche Bahn, offers trains from Kaiserslautern to Neustadt and back every half hour. The Ticket 24 for individuals is €14, and the Ticket 24+ for groups of two to five people costs €20. Both tickets are available at the ticket machines in the train station.