Baumblütenfest is the largest fruit wine festival in Germany. It is (usually) a glorious week of spring weather and a chance to enjoy the charming countryside outside of Berlin in Werder (Havel). Wines come in a variety of fruity flavors where sampling is encouraged. Buy a liter of your favorite concoction and share it with friends in tiny plastic cups as you wander a grassy island paradise or jump on the many carnival rides.
Get out of the city for the drunken German country fair atmosphere of Baumblütenfest.
History of Baumblütenfest
Just 30 minutes away from Berlin, Werder (Havel) is the site of much of the local agricultural market like the luscious strawberries that arrive in late summer in strawberry huts all over the city. Many of these local fruits get transformed into wine with a spring festival to celebrate their production.
This festival began in 1879 with the citizens of Berlin coming to sample the fine fruit wine and cakes of the region. Just like today, it was a break from city life and a chance to enjoy the blossoming of nature. By 1900, the festival welcomed over 50,000 visitors.
This all changed, like so many things, during the reign of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The festival was effectively halted as residents were not allowed to open their gardens and the sale of fruit wine was restricted.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Werder again opened for business and the city folk flocked back to this idyllic farmland. There is now a parade to open the events, presided over by the Baumblütenkönigin (Fruit Wine Queen) and the mayor. The event has become more popular every year and hosts about 500,000 visitors.
Germany’s Largest Fruit Wine Festival
Held over two weekends around the first of May, Baumblütenfest translates to “Tree Blossom Festival”. It is the ideal kick-off to warmer weather as people luxuriate in the sunshine, sit on the banks of the river, and indulge in locally produced fruit wine. Tacky souvenirs abound like colorful wigs, beer hats, and funky sunglasses. But the best thing to take home is the wine.
Most of Berlin and the surrounding region of Brandenburg have the same idea as visitors descend on Werder and its orchards during the event. This is reported to be Germany’s 2nd largest drinking festival after Oktoberfest, and second largest wine festival after the Wurstmarkt. It is the country's largest fruit wine festival.
Baumblütenfest turns this peaceful farm and fishing town on the Havel River into a full blown German attraction and one of the best festivals in Germany. Visitors arriving by train walk towards the cobble-stoned center with fruit wine booths lining the way and cross the bridge onto the island – the epicenter of the festival. The riesenrad (Ferris wheel) presides over the rest of the carnival rides and the sometimes riotous teenagers. There is a concentration of polizei (police) in this area but things rarely get really rowdy.
Don’t be put off if this is not your scene. You just need to go farther.
Continue walking across the island and admire how quiet it can be just a few streets from the bridge. Or you can back across the bridge and up onto the hills where orchards line the roads. Here, families congregate at picnic benches under the fruit trees and drink from real glasses, not plastic cups, with views down at the river. Musicians play on top of the hill beneath strings of light and the party continues after the sun sets.
German Fruit Wine
Visitors today can try everything from cherry to apple to currant to peach to rhubarb wine. Prices and quality vary greatly so it’s best to shop around and ask for a sample of anything that interests you.
Buy bottles of your favorite for around €7 a liter, or just €1.50 a cup (cup). Even the most expensive wines top out around €15 a liter!
German Fruit Wine Translation Guide
- Apfel – Apple
- Birne - Pear
- Brombeere - Blackberry
- Erdbeere – Strawberry
- Heidelbeere – Blueberry
- Himbeeren – Raspberry
- Johannisbeere – Red Currant
- Kirsch – Cherry
- Pfirsich – Peach
- Rhabarber - Rhubarb
- Stachelbeere – Gooseberry
- Schwarze Johannisbeere – Black Currant
Baumblütenfest Visitor Information
Website (German): www.baumbluetenfest.com
Tourist Office: Kirchstrasse 6/7, 14542 Werder (Havel); Tel 03327-783371
How to Reach Werder: Berlin S-Bahn runs to Werder on an ABC ticket