Schloss Johannisberg (Rheingau)

Schloss Johannisberg is a traditional winery and vineyard in Geisenheim in the Rheingau . Hall and Basilica of the castle are venues for the Rheingau Music Festival .

Which the VDP belonging Weinbaudomäne is the sole owner of the 35-acre location, which is among the best in the Rheingau. [1] Here is exclusively Riesling grown. Schloss Johannisberg is a separate administrative district of Geisenheim, giving the wine with the wine law of 1971 gave the right to lead the local location name without designation on the label. In 2000, Schloss Johannisberg was finally registered as a single location in the location of the Hessian viticulture Cadastre Office.

Location, ground and air
Aerial View, 2006

The vineyard “Johannisberg” is measured by its expansion very homogeneous. The vineyard is one of the Taunus upstream quartzite constitute hill and is oriented due south. For Rheingau conditions it is very steep. His foot is on 114 m above sea level, the highest terrace at 181.8 m. The soil consists of medium to profound loess and loess loam, with the iron-oxide -containing shale and quartzite mixed with the substrate. The water discharge is generally very good, dry summers, however, the upper part suffers from water shortages.

In 1867, edited by Friedrich Wilhelm Dünkelberg work “The Nassau wine” Schloss Johannisberg is classified in Class I after the first comprehensive classification of the Rheingau vineyards as one of 13 top sites. [2] [3]

The Johannisberg is exactly on the 50th latitude , a stele in the vineyard marked its exact course. The climate is by up to one kilometer wide Rhine tempered. In winter the temperature rarely drops below freezing, in turn, extreme heat in summer is rare. In the fall near the stream increases the humidity, resulting in the formation of noble rot promotes.

The weather conditions is recognized in Johannisberg castle for over 100 years. In the middle of the years 1961 – 1990 were 548 mm rainfall, the average values ​​in the months of May to August, 55 – 60 mm were highest. In the reading months, the amount is only 40 – 42 mm. The sun shines an average of almost 1,600 hours per year.

Read about the beginning of harvest quality and there are even since 1784, complete records. This is also reflected in the global warming , the average reading beginning in the 1890s still fell to the 2nd: resist November, he shifted to the 1950s already on the 16th October. In the 1990s, then the reading began in the Middle 9 October. [4]
The Wine
Cultivation and vinification

Of the 35 hectares of vineyard area regularly have 32 acres in earnings. You are solely planted with Riesling. The planting density is about 5000 poles per hectare. The average yield for the past 20 years is 67 hl / ha, the deviations are quite large. Typically, the returns are in good vintages higher if there is no damage caused by hail or rot. In the middle 60% and 40% of quality wine quality wines are produced with distinction. It sets the standards higher at Schloss Johannisberg wine than the law: for each predicate levels are generally five degrees Oechsle requires more than prescribed.

Due to its size, the vineyard is not completely homogeneous. Thus, in the uppermost part of those able to grow grapes for wine cabinet, in the lower part of the “simple” quality wine. To achieve the highest predicates, some plots are particularly good: The Western Schlossberg provides sweet wines to dry berry selection , while the upper eastern mountain with its low humidity for the production of ice wine is predestined.

The harvest, which usually begins in the first half of October, made exclusively by hand. The grapes are gently pressed. The must is left for three days at 20 ° C in vats before alcoholic fermentation is started. It takes place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures around 18 ° C and lasts for four to five weeks. Before bottling, the wines aged in large wooden barrels in 900 years the castle cellar.
Quality levels

Previously, the bottles were with sealing wax sealed, was the color of the level of quality information. Today, different colored capsules are used for the Schloss Johannisberg depending on predicate level. Specifically, these are:

Yellow paint – Quality Wine
Rotlack – Cabinet
Green paint – Spätlese
Silver paint First Growth
Pink paint – Elite
Pink gold lacquer – Beerenauslese
Wallflowers – Trockenbeerenauslese
Sky Blue paint – Beerenauslese Eiswein

Earlier were still next to “orange paint” for higher-quality cabinet, “white paint” for best Spätlese and “blue gold paint” for reading in use.

In 1867, edited by Friedrich Wilhelm Dünkelberg work “The Nassau wine” with the first vineyard in the Rheingau classification shall be recorded as the first class vineyard.
Character and vintages

The modernized winemaking , which promotes the formation of complex fruit flavors, the wine of Schloss Johannisberg has regained his place in the top group of the Rheingau. He is among connoisseurs as the epitome of the Rheingau Riesling. Multi-layered fruit and spice combine with elegance and delicacy. He is very lasting and durable. Cabinets and late harvests can develop for several decades in the basement, especially if they were removed or semi-dry with a distinct sweetness. Beerenauslese are sometimes even after 50 or 100 years, a treat (see quote).

Harvest volumes and quality at Schloss Johannisberg are fully documented since the 1700s. [4] The collection of the Bibliotheca subterranea wine said treasury of the castle extends well into the 19th Century, the oldest bottle dates from the year 1748. As great vintages of recent times may 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2009 are probably.
Beginnings and monastery winery
Johannisberg monastery church with a Baroque grille to the main courtyard and large cedar

According to legend, the installation of the vineyard is on Charlemagne result, the of his Palatinate in Ingelheim is said to have observed that, the snow melted on the Johannisberg first. In the year 772 a donation of lands to the Geisenheim was Fulda Abbey notarized. 817 the monks exchanged them with Louis the Pious against lands in the Wetterau . The agreement explicitly mentions the location of the plot on Magpie stream that flows at the foot of Johannisberg. Emperor Otto II gave the 983 Mainzer bishops sovereign rights over the western part of the Rheingau, the vineyard but the name “Bishop Mountain” had already been established.

In 1100 the Archbishop of Mainz donated Ruthard the Mainz Benedictine him St. Alban , which was there to set up a new monastic community. The new monastery was dedicated to St. John, and in the middle of the 12th Century appeared the first time the name “St. Johannisberg” for possession. To 1130 Johannisberg was a priory of the monastery of St. Alban. Then it was of Adalbert of Saarbrücken raised to an independent monastery. Around this time, the three-aisled basilica was built with 9 yokes and a projecting transept of the foundations are still preserved. Temporary possession of the monastery Johannisberg a priory, which later became the Kloster Eberbach emerged [5] . Kloster Johannisberg in the early days of a double monastery , as a woman hermitage was connected. First mentioned in 1170 St George hermitage at the foot of the mountain, which existed until 1452, became the namesake of today’s vineyard “Klaus Johannis”.
Decline and end of the monastery

After an initial heyday, however, began a gradual decline. In 1451 complained of Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa that “disintegrate the monastery inside and out” was “because of the messy life of the monks.” But they were willing to reform under the condition that they will awarded the Klaus with their goods to secure their livelihood as well. This happened in 1457 and joined the Covenant of reform-oriented Bursfeld Congregation on. A new period began. The Peasants’ War , however 1524/25 then brought the beginning of the end, and the depredations of Margrave Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach in 1552 Markgraefler war ruined the monastery completely. Than 1563, the last abbot died, the Archbishop of Mainz decreed Daniel Brendel of Homburg , the dissolution of the monastery, which henceforth worldly goods were under management. 1635 saw the then Archbishop of Mainz Anselm Casimir forced to cover the costs of the Swedish occupation of the Rheingau in the Thirty Years’ War to pledge the Johannisberg. The church was destroyed in 1634 for the first time. The Reichsmark Master of Hubert Bleymann received the income as interest on the entire wine granted by him loan of 20,000 thalers . The total debt in 1641 increased to 10,000 dollars, and the contract later went to the descendants of the creditor, Georg von Gise and his son Johann Heinrich over. But this apparently lost early 18th Century interest in the Johannisberg.
The Fulda time and the development of late harvest
The late harvest Messenger

In 1716 the archbishop sold Lothar Franz von Schönborn Johannisberg on the Fulda Abbot of Constantinople Buttlar , for the acquisition of a total of 75,392 guilders muster. He let the property for further 148,000 guilders to build his summer residence. The Romanesque church was rebuilt according to the plans and interior Johann Dientzenhofers Baroque style.

Mainz leading builder – Andrea Gallasini and Johann Kaspar Herwarthel – built a three-wing baroque castle building whose courtyard is located in the north. From this building, or the two outer pavilions and the Hofgitter exist unchanged. Inside the castle, the house wine was a central square. 1721, the imposing, 260-meter-long vaulted cellar was completed. Also in the vineyards considerable sums have been invested. The vines grew from 14.3 to 18.9 acres, half of which was newly planted. It was almost exclusively planted Riesling, only a small proportion remained for Orléansrebe – at that time, for example, still Rüdesheim Berg dominated – and muscatel . For this reason, Schloss Johannisberg still known as the first Riesling vineyard in the world. The planting density was significantly higher at that time than now, for only 1720 and 1721 were set 293 950 vines, which suggests at least 30,000 plants per hectare. In the second half of the 18th Century were already large amounts of St. John Berger’s bottled – usually after ten years of barrel aging. The operation took place in the basement of the Orangerie Fulda City Palace . This cellar where the best wines were stored Johannisberg, was under the “secret cabinet”, the private purse of the prince-abbot and prince-bishop (from 1752).

These “Cabinet” wines by today’s standards, it was to read and Beerenauslese, the domain of the Johannisberg since the last quarter of the 18th Century were systematically generated. The beginning of this tradition is to look with great certainty in 1775. The courier, who had to bring a sample of Johannisberg grapes to Fulda each year to seek there the read permission had been delayed by 8 days. The grapes were in the meantime by noble rot infested, yet you kelterte it into a wine. On 10 April 1776 stated administrator Johann Michael Engert, he had never seen such an exquisite taste. From this point there is always postponed as far as possible the reading. The first as a “Cabinet” wine called elite , there were probably at Schloss Johannisberg, 1779, the first ice wine in 1858.

A monument in the courtyard of the castle Johannisberg has immortalized the “Spätlesereiter”. It is not the first wines from noble rotten grapes. These are already out of the 16 Century occupied, and in 1757 was pressed at Schloss Johannisberg also a “delicate wine” from edelfaulem grapes.
Schloss Johannisberg as a pawn in European politics

In the Napoleonic Wars , Schloss Johannisberg had to suffer severely from the attacks and seizures French troops and subsequently became a pawn in European politics. The secularization in Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 Schloss Johannisberg not talked to Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Nassau-Weilburg , who had received the Rheingau, but the House of Orange-Nassau to. Prince William V gave the estate to his son, the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm- on.

As the Orangemen refused, the Confederation of the Rhine to join, they were in 1806 by Napoleon expropriated. The trial of the Duke of Nassau, to bring Schloss Johannisberg in his possession, but failed. 1807 Napoleon gave his Marshal Francois-Christophe Kellermann , the victor of Valmy , as a reward for his military merits. As to the good 1807 more bad vintages were followed, the then manager Marco Adelaide felt compelled 1811er on the floor of the Frankfurt banker Peter Arnold Mumm to sell. The so-called ” comet vintage “was the best of the entire century. Mumm, who had just spent € 32,000 guilders, rescued over 150,000 guilders and could justify by winning his own vineyard in Johannisberg.

1814, the domain was seized by the Allies and placed under joint administration. The Congress of Vienna was indeed the Rheingau to the duchy of Nassau , the Johannisberg, however, remained exempt. An agreement of 13 June 1815 it assumed the sovereignty of Austria. However, it was expected that the Austrian crown would not administer the estate itself. Earned numerous statesmen therefore made ​​their hopes on the Johannisberg, the Prussian General Staff Gneisenau , Field Marshal von Blucher and the Minister Empire Baron Stein , the Russian Tsar Alexander I favored.
Donation to Metternich

In this situation, the Austrian foreign minister attacked Klemens von Metternich to. The roots of his family were on the Rhine ( Metternichs in Koblenz), but in need of money, he had 1811/12, the possessions in Geisenheim and Rudesheim to auction. He could emperor Francis I in 1816 to convince him the Johannisberg to an annual tax of one-tenth of the income of over twelve year old vineyards to the House of Habsburg to leave. This Tenth survived until today all the political upheavals. Since 1945, he will be satisfied in cash, before the barrels were drawn. Tenth guardian is currently Karl Habsburg-Lorraine . Originally the estate should as Fideikommiss fall in extinction of the line Metternich-Winneburg to the Habsburgs. This regulation was the abolition of the privileges of the nobility in 1920 to the victim. On the political sovereignty claims to the Johannisberg renounced Austria until 1851 that substantial tax payments to the Nassau state treasury with the result. Klemens von Metternich invested not only in the wine. Under the direction of the Grand Duke of Hesse court architect Georg Moller of the main building of the castle building was redesigned classical. He also had a park with Mediterranean plants to create. The Johannisberg was in the first half of the 19th Century to a destination of the emerging tourism Rhine and the famous visitor drank the same wine on the castle terrace. Even today, here is the serving, surrounded by vineyards arcades, fig espalier and chestnut avenue.

Despite all the policy-induced change in ownership Weinbaudomäne survived the Napoleonic era relatively unscathed. This is especially the managers of his time, thanks to the Benedictine Father Karl Arnd, who headed the estate from 1792 to 1824. He sat on the quality as Riesling variety, late harvest and bottling for high-quality games. From 1818 onwards, the best wines were re-sold as “Cabinetsweine”. In contrast to the usual practices of the auction of the Johannisberg castle was sold predominantly in cask or in the bottle directly to the trade. The different qualities of bottled wines were characterized by different colored sealing wax. Metternich also ordered in 1830 that all the labels had to be personally signed by manager and winemaker. The Johannisberg castle was sold after several years of barrel storage. This suggests that it is always a malolactic fermentation must have gone through. It should therefore have been relatively round and due to the late reading and full-bodied. He received from the barrel maturation his famous seasoning. Sweetness he had little – apart from the then (as now in Austria ) called “outbreak” Beerenauslese special vintages. 1858 was pressed from frozen grapes at Schloss Johannisberg, the first ice wine from this vineyard. The next ice wines there were in 1890 and then again in 1950!

Wine maps from the period before the First World War show that the Johannisberg castle was one of the most expensive and coveted plants in Europe at that time. His price was higher than that of the largest Bordeaux . 1897 Metternich was the domain of the founders of the “Association Rheingau winery owners,” the 1910 “Association of German Nature wine auctioneer” came up. Today was the turn of her German Association predicate and quality wineries eV (VDP) out. 1915 was the first time Johannisberger Rebgärten phylloxera determined what the new plant vineyards on resistant rootstocks required. 1935 Schloss Johannisberg was officially dissolved as Familienstammgut. Josef Christian Labonte , and later Member of the Hesse state parliament, controlled the Good as Domänenrat 1924-1956 upright through the difficult time of National Socialism. Since he also supplied the Jewish wine merchant, he was considered “politically unreliable”.

On 13 August 1942 church and castle were jettisoned by a British aerial bombs after a serious attack on Mainz destroyed. The reconstruction of the castle lasted until 1964. The owner, Paul Alfons Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg (1917-1992) took after losing his estates in Bohemia resident at Schloss Johannisberg. His widow Tatiana lived until her death in 2006 at the castle. It is not open to visitors until today, but only in the context of events available. Alfons Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg was from 1976 until his death in 1992, the first Großbailli in Germany the ecumenically oriented Lazarus Order, and his widow Tatiana from 1993 until her death in 2006, the second Großbailli, it was found that the Saint Lazarus to her death at Schloss Johannisberg had his Teutonic headquarters. [6]

The reconstruction of the church in the authentic austere Romanesque forms in the style of the 12th Century led Rudolf Schwarz . He laid bare the buried pillar bases, put the side apses in the transept again, added a transept and a baptistery at the north aisle. The plan contains elements of the Carolingian monastery mother monastery of St. Alban of Mainz before . In this reconstructed interior there are only a few pieces of the historical features (sandstone lectern and sculptures from the 15th/16th c.).

The following photo gallery shows the interior and appurtenances of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Schloss Johannisberg:

The church served as a parish church for Johannisberg . It is also a space for spiritual concerts by local groups and concerts of the Rheingau Music Festival . [7] . In 1999, combined choirs from Geisenheim and Idstein Giacomo Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and in 2001 Rutter’s Requiem and Britten’s The Company of Heaven on for speaker, soloists, chorus and orchestra (1937). 2009 New Rheingau choir sang Haydn’s The Creation with the soloists Elisabeth Scholl , Daniel Sans and Andreas Pruys . [8]
Concert hall for the Rheingau Music Festival

The east wing of the castle was rebuilt after being destroyed as a tennis court again. The art-loving Tatiana von Metternich-Winneburg , founding member of the Rheingau Music Festival , built the room to the concert hall, in the first 10 in the 1988 season of 19 concerts were held, which was followed by many chamber concerts annually. After the death of her husband, the hall was of-Metternich-called Prince Hall. She was Chairman of the Board of Trustees until her death. The tradition was continued by the present owners.
Takeover by the Oetker Group

Already in 1865, the domain was a connection with the young sparkling wine Söhnlein received in Wiesbaden. Since then delivered Schloss Johannisberg base wines for their top sparkling wine . From this it was also the brand of “Prince Metternich” out. Their blend is assembled today at Schloss Johannisberg. To ensure the acquired business for the Oetker Group is part of a co-ownership sparkling wine Söhnlein 1974 at the Schloss Johannisberg domain, resulting in 1980, a majority was. The administration was merged with that of the Oetker good GH Mumm. Today the domain is 100% owned by the members of the Oetker Group Henkell & Söhnlein Sektkellereien KG . Since 2005, directs the Christian Witte, born in 1970, the castle Johannisberg vineyards GbR. The results summarized herein two wineries Schloss Johannisberg and GH Mumm employ about 40 full-time employees today. In the fall of up to 120 Harvest worker added. His predecessor Wolfgang Schleicher was probably the last one was allowed to use the title “Domänenrat” at Schloss Johannisberg -., Paul Fürst von Metternich they had given him in 1987 [9] His work has been with the award as a “steward of the Year 2003″ by the Wine Guide Gault Millau Germany appreciated.
New Kloster Johannisberg
New Monastery church Johannisberg (1928)
Resort Johannisberg 2009

In no historical connection to the original convent is just 1 km away from the castle New Kloster Johannisberg, originally (built 1856) was a bathroom and hospital. 1920 bought Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament for the installation; 1928 they built the monastery church, which served as a makeshift church in the Second World War, after the destruction of the Romanesque church of Schloss Johannisberg. The Benedictines lived in strict enclosure and operated a nursing home. Because of their age and lack of new blood they had to give up in 1991. Then took Holy Spirit Sisters Monastery, they also offered retreats and overnights at, however, was for economic reasons, only up to 31 Keep December 2004. Since 1 January 2006, the complex is a hotel with gardens and restaurant.

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