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Explore DE: wine and roses in Eltville

The Explore DE series takes you on a journey through Germany: this time, we visit Eltville during the wine harvest in the Rheingau region.

Besuchenswert: Kloster Eberbach bei Eltville
© dpa

Can you remember who played the main role in the successful film version of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose? Sean Connery? That’s right – in one way. In another, however, Eberbach Monastery in the Rheingau region also had a not inconsiderable part in this work by director Jean-Jacques Annaud. In 1986 the former Cistercian monastery formed the backdrop for the historical drama about faith and superstition, love and death. The monastery is not far from the small town of Eltville – an equally fascinating and attractive destination.

Eberbach Monastery is a place of contemplation that is full of life. Concerts of jazz as well as classical music are held here, and visitors experience the mystical atmosphere of its centuries-old rooms during tours. The proprietors speak of a “synthesis of the arts combining history, architecture, culture and wine”. Wine? That’s right. The entire region is famous for its fine wines, and the monastery founded in 1136 by Abbot Bernhard of Clairvaux is also part of that. Grapes flourish on roughly 200 hectares to create wines that are today produced using modern equipment and that visitors can try in idyllic settings.

Wine is certainly one of the main attributes of Eltville and the surrounding area. Autumn with the wine harvest is definitely a good time to visit the region. Yet Eltville has much more to offer: roses, for example. That has nothing to do with Umberto Eco – the “queen of flowers” was already here long before Eco wrote his novel and the film crew arrived in Eltville. The town was known for its numerous varieties of roses at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, more than 350 varieties flourish in its gardens and parks. That is why Eltville has received the title “Rose Town”, with which the Verein deutscher Rosenfreunde, an association of rose lovers, only honours places especially rich in blossoms.

Since 2006 Eltville’s many rose varieties have also included one that bears the name of Johannes Gutenberg. The famous name giver, the inventor of printing with movable type, actually worked in Mainz. Apparently, however, Gutenberg, whose real name was Johannes Gensfleisch, spent some time with relatives in Eltville as a child. Visitors can find traces of Gutenberg’s life in Eltville on guided tours.