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Some 1,200 years of viticultural history are associated with Johannisberg. An eventful history, which, among other things, led to the creation of the world’s first Riesling wine estate and with it, a unique wine culture that has existed at Johannisberg ever since. Founded as a Benedictine monastery, the Johannisberg abbey quickly became a viticultural focal point and initiator in the Rheingau. Today, in the heart of the cellar, is the underground library “Bibliotheca subterranea” – the famed treasure chamber of the palace, with its centuries-old wine rarities.

As of 1716, Schloss Johannisberg belonged to the prince abbot of Fulda, who had a grand, three-winged palace built in line with the taste of the times. It is thanks to this owner that the benefits of a “Spätlese” (late harvest) were recognized. In 1775, the courier annually sent to Fulda to receive official permission for the start of the grape harvest was delayed by several weeks. By the time he returned to Johannisberg, the grapes were infested with noble rot. Nevertheless, the courageous cellarmaster had the rotten grapes harvested and vinified, thereby producing a new style of ?wine – “Spätlese” – which thereafter became standard at Johannisberg. Although documents from 1730 report that a few growers “gladly waited for a bit of noble rot in order to increase the sugar level of the grapes,” the year 1775 marked the beginning of a deliberately scheduled late harvest of botrytized grapes. A monument adjacent to the Vinothek (wine shop), where the estate’s current vintages can be sampled, commemorates the famous courier whose delay led to the worldwide triumphal course of “Spätlese”.

In 1816, in the wake of Napoleon’s secularization of church properties and the ensuing joint administration by Prussia, Russia and Austria, the palace was ceded to the state chancellor of the Austrian emperor, Clemens Wenzel Lothar Fürst von Metternich, for his service at the Congress of Vienna the year before. However, to this day, one tenth of the annual harvest must be delivered to the House of Habsburg or its legal successors. The influential Metternich admitted: “I enjoy a peacefulness here that I regard as a blessing, and this pleasure is due to the character of the region.”

In 1942, the palace was hit by bombs and burned down. It was thanks to Fürstin Tatiana and her husband, Paul Alfons Fürst von Metternich, that the impressive palace and grounds were restored to their former glory by 1965. The grande dame, who, above all, was actively engaged in the promotion of culture in the Rheingau and many other causes, lived at Schloss Johannis-berg until her death in July 2006.

Wine culture at Schloss Johannisberg has outlived the many storms of the past. Riesling is truly at home here. The estate is well aware that the historical past brings with it a responsibility in the future – with every new vintage, Johannisberg strives to carry on this unique Riesling culture.

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Johannisberg stands out from the gentle landscape of the Rheingau. It is the nucleus of a great wine culture that stretches far beyond the borders of the region. History was written here. The hill, one of three quartzite hills that lie upstream from the Taunus massif, seems predestined as a site for the castle. With its seemingly simple, straight lines and not a hint of overladen splendor, the castle overlooks the vine-clad hill in quiet majesty – a Rheingau symbol of a way of life that has included joys and pleasures, but also trials and tribulations, yet always kept its balance. 


Johannisberger Rieslings are born in the vineyard – literally, where they have their roots. The soil, with its geological, geographical and climatic features, is integral to the unique origin and ultimate taste profile of a wine. Quality is born during the growth of the grapes, which at Johannisberg is supported by organized vineyard management geared to local conditions. Grape quality is determined in the vineyard, not during vinification. The quality of the crop after the harvest is decisive for the quality of the finished wine.


Nature’s memory is stored in the soil. Thanks to its geographical nature, this recorded geological history can repeatedly yield recurring, consistent taste profiles. The typical soil composition is Taunus quartzite beneath a topsoil layer of loam-loess. Its integral influence on the flavor of the finished wine is expressed by the grape – a quasi “spokesperson” for the soil. For nearly 300 years, Riesling has been the only varietal cultivated in the vineyard. The soil and the grape, together with the favorable climatic conditions and long viticultural tradition of Schloss Johannisberg, bring forth wines that reflect the inimitable character of their origin. As such, Johannisberg is a grand monument to the diversity of Riesling, which has found its true home in the vineyard surrounding the castle on the 50th parallel north.

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The Riesling grape is not only a manual challenge for the wine-grower, but also a multifaceted varietal that repeatedly delivers surprising new variations and nuances thanks to its unique combination of acidity and extract. The strength of Johannisberger Rieslings lies in the encounter of fine nuances with a wealth of aromas and flavors, from spicy herbs to citrus fruits to sweet, yellow fruits. In addition, there is a great play of pronounced acidity and elegant, site-specific mineral notes. Rieslings from the Johannisberg palace cellar are authentic. They are vinified in a diversity of styles, ranging from dry to lusciously sweet, and even with their low alcohol content, they are rich in exquisite flavors, elegance and refined aromas. Yet Rieslings only reveal their diverse range of nuances to those who go beyond the first sip. ?Johannisberger Rieslings are meant to be enjoyed, but to fully savor them, it’s worth taking a closer look at their structural and mineral finesse as well as the harmonious interplay of their fruit aromas. They need time for their true magnitude and unique elegance to develop. To discover the spectrum of flavors and differences among the Rieslings of Schloss Johannisberg is one of the most exciting challenges the Rheingau has to offer. Johannisberg Rieslings are not short-lived, trendy wines. They are legendary wines with a refreshing diversity long appreciated by wine enthusiasts.


The true origins of Riesling remain a mystery. Some believe it is a varietal mentioned long ago by the Roman writer Plinius, others feel King Louis the German (843–876) was the first to have had the grape planted in the Rhine Valley. Other experts suspect that Riesling is a mutation of a wild vine of Germanic origin. In a viticultural dictionary from 1930, Riesling is briefly defined: “Origin: Germany. Probably a seedling from the Rheingau.” Trendsetter for the advance of Riesling in the Rheingau was the wine estate at Johannisberg. In 1720, some 294,000 Riesling vines were planted in the vineyards of the old Benedictine abbey. This was such a novelty that cellarmaster Odo Staab made note of it: “In the entire Rheingau, only the grape variety ‘Rüssling’ can be planted for the production of wine.” In 1775, the benefits of a “Spätlese” (late harvest) were first recognized at the Johannisberg mo nastery. The year marked the beginning of a deliberately scheduled late harvest of botrytized grapes that yield the lusciously sweet Rieslings that led to the grape’s fame and image throughout Europe. They graced the tables of every royal house, from kings to emperors to czars. Together with the great white and red Pinots of Burgundy and red wines of Bordeaux, Riesling was part of the quartet of the most famous and most expensive wines at the start of the 20th century. To this day, in many wine-growing regions of the New World, the name “Johannis-berger” is synonymous with Riesling.

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Inside information

817 The first documented mention of the vineyards by Louis the Pious
1100 (ca.) Founding of the first Benedictine monastery on Bischofsberg (bishop’s hill)
1130 Bischofsberg is renamed in honor of St. John the Baptist (Johannisberg)
13th–17th cent. Economically and politically difficult times lead to many changes in ownership
1716 The Abbey of Fulda under Prince Abbot Konstantin von Buttlar, purchases the property and begins construction of the palace on the site of the monastery
1720 The entire domain is planted with Riesling, the first vineyard in the world planted exclusively with Riesling
1748 To this day, the oldest bottle of Schloss Johannisberger Riesling lies in the palace’s treasure chamber, the “Bibliotheca subterranea”
1775 The benefits of a “Spätlese” (late harvest) are first recognized at Schloss Johannisberg
1786 The first mention of the “Bibliotheca subterranea”
1802/03 Secularization by Emperor Napoleon, the Domäne Schloss Johannisberg goes to Prince Wilhelm V of Nassau-Oranien
1815 The property is transferred to the emperor of Austria in the presence of Goethe
1816 Emperor Franz I of Austria cedes the Domäne Schloss Johannisberg to his state chancellor, Clemens Wenzel Lothar Fürst von Metternich, in recognition of his service at the Congress of Vienna – on condition that one tenth of the annual harvest be delivered to the House of Habsburg
1822 The first vintage with a label
1830 The signature of the domain administrator is introduced as a guarantee of estate bottling
1858 The first Eiswein is pressed at Schloss Johannisberg
1942 Schloss Johannisberg is destroyed during an emergency bomb disposal on 12 August
1945-64 The palace and church are rebuilt
1971 Under the German wine law, Schloss Johannisberg is declared an independent appellation that requires no additional geographical designation
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6 different wines with 7 vintages


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Wine Moments

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 Markus Del Monego / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Weingut Schloss Johannisberg . In a tasting of  42 wines 

On November 8, 2016 an exiting blind tasting was hold to select some of the finest classified wines produced by vintners of the VDP in Germany. It was a wonderful experience showing a huge number of top rated wines. In the categories of Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder), Pinog Gris (Grauburgunder) and Silvaner, one wine was heading each category. For Riesling, the VDP and myself agreed to decide the best wine of each categaorie of wine areas by drawing lots of all wines with at least 93 points or more. The result of this selection will be available for tasting in the Lufthansa First Class Lounge of Muinch during 2017.

27d 15h ago

 Marie Ahm, Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Weingut Schloss Johannisberg . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Weingut Wegeler Rothenberg Riesling 2014 / Tons of peach and mandarin. Expressive and juicy. Spicy notes from orange peel. Beautifully textured on palate. Very juicy, energetic and soft. Vibrant and still so enjoyable. Complex and charmning at once. 92 points

29d 23h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Weingut Schloss Johannisberg . In a tasting of  24 wines 

“Lots of wines while visiting in Wiesbaden..some really good your Robert Weils:)”

3y 2m ago

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