If you came to this page directly and do not see a navigation frame on top, please go to the home page.
Geisenheim is situated at an elevation of 95 m on the river Rhine, about 25 km west of Wiesbaden and 3 km east of Rüdesheim am Rhein. The municipality has a population of about 11,500 (2010). It consists of the city borroughs "Kernstadt" (Geisenheim), Johannisberg, Marienthal and Stephanshausen.
The earliest written document mentioning Geisenheim dates from AD 772. Since the Middle Ages, Geisenheim belonged to the archbishopric of Mainz. Later, it passed to the Duchy of Nassau and the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1864 it was chartered as a town. Since 1946 it is part of Germany's state of Hesse.
Johannisberg was first mentioned in in 1106 in connection wit hte foundation of the monastery by archbishop Ruthardt of Mainz. Until then, the place was called Rheingrafenhausen. Until 1871 Johannisberg was an independent municipality. After severe financial problems, Johanisberg voluntarily merged with Geisenheim.
Schloss Johannisberg has been making wine for over 900 years. The winery is most noted for its claim to have "discovered" late harvest wine. A mountain on the north bank of the River Rhine near Mainz has been associated with the Church and with winemaking since the Dark Ages, when Ludwig der Fromme ("Louis the Pious") made 6000 litres of wine during the reign of Charlemagne. In 1100, Benedictine monks completed a monastery on the Bischofsberg ("Bishop's") mountain, having identified the site as one of the best places to grow vines. Thirty years later they built a Romanesque basilica in honour of John the Baptist, and the hill became known as Johannisberg (John's mountain). It was constructed according to similar floor plans as its mother house, St. Alban's Abbey, Mainz. As such the monastery was a prime target for the Anabaptists in the German Peasants' War of 1525, and it was destroyed. In 1716 the prince-abbot of Fulda, bought the estate from Lothar Franz von Schönborn, archbishop-Elector of Mainz and bishop of Bamberg, started construction of the Baroque palace, and, in 1720, planted Riesling vines, making it the oldest Riesling vineyard in the world. The estate changed hands several times during the Napoleonic Wars, but in 1816 the former Holy Roman Emperor Franz II, now first Emperor of Austria Franz I, gifted it to the Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich. In 1942, the site was bombed and reduced to a shell by the air raids on Mainz in 1942. By the mid-1960s it had been largely rebuilt by Prince Paul Alfons von Metternich-Winneburg. Today, the site is owned by the German Oetker family. There are currently about 35 hectares (86 acres) of vineyard.
Tradition has that a messenger from the prince-bishop and abbot of Fulda was 14 days late in bringing the papers to give the cellar master permission to start harvesting the grapes.
By this time the grapes had become affected with the "noble rot" Botrytis cinerea. The rotted grapes were then given to the local peasants who ended up making wine of high quality.
In 1775, Schloss Johannisberg made the first Spätlese level Riesling followed by an Auslese level wine in 1787 and an Eiswein in 1858.
[http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geisenheim, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannisberg_(Geisenheim), http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Johannisberg_(Rheingau),