Summertime is peak wine time here in Würzburg and another popular wine festival is currently underway. From July 14 -July 23, 2017, the Hofgarten Wine Festival (aka Hofgarten Weinfest) is taking place in the baroque court gardens of the Residence Palace (aka Residenz). Run by the city’s own Staatlicher Hofkeller, this bustling wine festival is a beloved and well-attended annual event.
To celebrate S’s dad’s birthday, we attended the Hofgarten Wine Festival on its opening day last week. Fortunately his parents reserved an outdoor table months in advance so we had a place to sit. Every table was full when we arrived shortly after 6pm. The mood was jolly and boisterous, fueled by the local musicians playing traditional Bavarian folk music. Upon request, the band came over to our table to serenade S’s dad with a birthday song and a song of his choosing. I’ve never been this close to a German band and it was a hoot! They definitely pumped up the jovial atmosphere of the festival.
Of course what is a festival without wine? Servers carrying crates of wine bottles regularly stop by your table to offer you their Franconian wines while Dirndl-clad servers tempt you with their baskets of enormous pretzels. You can order heartier fare at the nearby food stands; check out festival favourites such as the Fränki (a chili meatloaf sandwich with cabbage slaw and onion dip served in a rye bread roll), traditional Flammkuchen (a thin, crispy flatbread with onions and bacon), or Franconian grilled bratwurst in a rye bread roll.
We ordered a bottle of dry white 2016 Silvaner from Marktheidenfeld and a bottle of semi-dry Rotling to share and both were delicious and perfect to sip on a warm summer night.
The festival runs until Sunday, so there’s still time to visit. Even if you can’t get a table, you can still order a glass of wine and a snack to enjoy inside the Residenz gardens.
Have you ever been to the Hofgarten Weinfest? What is your favourite wine festival in Germany?