‘Heilig Grab’ has its own platform


Like his predecessors before him, wine-maker Jonas Schoeneberger has got used to the fact that some of his guests and his customers do not know his surname, as his wines are bottled under the name of ‘Weinhaus Heilig Grab’, literally ‘Holy Grave Estate’. He has had to tell the story of this unusual name so often that he has had it printed on the wine list.

The ‘Heilig Grab’ is the oldest wine bar in Boppard and has been owned by the same family for more than 200 years. Much longer than 100 years ago, it appeared that the menfolk from Boppard am Rhein were stretching out their visit to church on Good Friday for an unusually long time. They went to the Carmelite church as normal and, as was traditional, the priest placed the monstrance on a side altar on the floor so that everyone could stop there for a short moment of prayer, first the children, then the women, then, after work, the men. The men’s prayers became noticeably longer after a bar serving excellent wines opened near the church. When asked by their wives what had taken them so long, they all came up with the answer they had previously agreed on: “We’ve been to the Holy Grave! It does no harm to pray a little longer sometimes.” Their wives did not believe them, and next time the men came home late, they joked: “You’ve been back to the Holy Grave again?!” So the name for the wine bar stuck, even when Jonas Schoeneberger’s great-grandfather moved it to near the railway station.

A walk in Boppard, Romantic Rhine

A cozy walk in Boppard, Romantic Rhine

Jonas Schoeneberger, one of seven wine-makers in Boppard, cultivates nearly nine acres of vines split into 19 parcels, all on the famous steep slopes making up the ‘Bopparder Hamm’ growing area. “Very steep and lots of manual labour,” explains Jonas Schoeneberger, who starts every wine tasting with his red wine. This, it could be said, rounds off his range. Fifteen per cent of the vineyards are planted with Pinot noir, the remainder is Riesling, for which the residual slate soil is perfect. ‘Heilig Grab’ produces 30,000 bottles of wine a year. The wine tastings in the tasting room or under the chestnuts in the spacious garden are not only popular because of the wines, but also because of the safe journey home. No cars are required as the wine bar has its own rail platform.

The Bopparder Hamm vineyards are on a wide bend in the Rhine, with a perfect south-facing position and an excellent angle to the sunshine. The individual areas are called Elfenlay, Fässerlay, Weingrube, Mandelstein, Feuerlay, Ohlenberg and Engelstein.

Covering 165 acres, Bopparder Hamm is the largest single wine-growing area in the small but exquisite Middle Rhine wine-growing region. It extends around 100 kilometres along both sides of the Rhine from the Nahe in Bingen through Koblenz to just outside Bonn in one of the loveliest river landscapes in Germany. Lots of sunny days, the sheltered location and soil made up largely of slate and greywacke provide the perfect conditions for traditional grape varieties, primarily Riesling, but also Kerner, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot noir, allowing them to ripen and produce top-quality wines.

View of the vineyard "Bopparder Hamm", Romantic Rhine

View of the famous vineyard "Bopparder Hamm", Romantic Rhine

The vine terraces often have gradients of more than 35 degrees and are sometimes topped with fortresses and castles, while the banks of the river are dotted with friendly wine-making villages. The southern part of this fascinating cultural landscape was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

The Rhine promenade of Boppard, Romantic Rhine

The Rhine promenade of Boppard, Romantic Rhine

Enjoying food and wine in Boppard, Romantic Rhine

Enjoying food and wine in Boppard, Romantic Rhine

More leisure tips in the romantic Rhine valley:


More information about holidays in the Romantic Rhine region

Find out everything you need to know on events, attractions and other destinations in the romantic Middle Rhine Valley at Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH.

Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site

The whole region here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a charming combination of stunning nature and important cultural heritage.

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