Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Mon July 04 2016

Where Is the World’s Biggest Wine Festival?

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | July 04, 2016

Where Is the World’s Biggest Wine Festival?

PHOTO: The festival takes place in front of the world's largest wine barrel. (Photo via Flick/JJMusgrove)

Don’t let the name fool you, the Wurstmarkt (sausage festival), is the world’s biggest wine festival, located in Bad Durkheim along the German Wine Road. The celebration is more than 570 years old and honors the wine of the region as well as local cuisine and entertainment over the second and third weekends of September. 

The festival is not only the largest, but also one of the oldest. It was originally established as a market for farmers and winegrowers in the 15th century. It became known as the Wurstmarkt in the 1800s due to the fact that, in addition to wine, a number of sausages were sold during the fair. The name stuck. 

READ MORE: The German City That's Worth a Step Off the Tourist Trail 

Fittingly, the largest wine festival in the world takes place outside the Wine Cask (Dürkheimer Riesenfass), the largest wine barrel in the world – it can hold as much as 44 million gallons of wine and is now a multilevel wine shop. In addition to wine tasting, there are food stalls and fairground rides, making the festival a fun activity for the whole family. 

More than 600,000 visitors turn out each year to sample the more than 150 different wines at the festival from more than 50 regions around Bad Durkheim. There are Rieslings and ice wines as well as sparkling varieties. Wine can be sipped in massive tents at communal long, wooden tables or at small wine stands set up around the festival. 

Live entertainment gives the festival and its large drinking halls a similar feeling to the Munich Beer Festival. There are traditional brass bands and modern musical acts that rile the crowd into a frenzy – don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing arm in arm with your neighbor. 

Fairground attractions such as Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds are set up for the enjoyment of the whole family and carnival games lend themselves to the festive atmosphere of the event. 

The German Wine Route
To get the most out of your German wine experience, consider pairing the festival with a road trip along one of Germany’s oldest scenic drives. The 85 kilometer German Wine Route travels through the Rhineland from Bockenheim through the country’s second largest wine-growing region to the French border. 

READ MORE: Germany Reaches Record Tourism Numbers 

The road takes travelers through charming villages, the Palatinate Forest and around stunning vineyards, where visitors can get a taste of a 1,000-year-old culture of wine growing.

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