Although this fair is called Wurstmarkt (literally the "sausage market"), the folk festival is famous for its celebration of excellent local wines. It has been called the wine version of Munich's Oktoberfest and takes place every second and third weekend in September in the spa town of Bad Dürkheim along the German Wine Road.
Located in the heart of Palatinate, Germany's second largest wine growing region, the Wurstmarkt prides itself in being the world's biggest wine festival.
The culinary event has been celebrated for around 600 years, and what started as a fair for local farmers and wine growers now attracts more than 600,000 visitors drinking hundreds of thousands of litres of wine annually.
History of the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt
This area was once the site of ancient wineries and it is thought that 2,000 years ago the Romans were cultivating the same grape varieties as today.
By the 12th century, local farmers and wine growers began to gather here to sell their produce to the pilgrims heading to the chapel (Michaelskapelle) on top of a nearby mountain (Michaelsberg). By 1417, the event was known as - surprise! - Michaelismarkt. The Fest eventually became known as the Wurstmarkt in 1832 due to the large number of sausages on sale.
While pilgrims continued their plight on St. Michael’s Day until the 15th century, the Wurstmarkt is now an attraction in itself. Attend on the opening day to watch the Mayor begin the event as well as a jubilant parade.
Attractions of the Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim
Over 150 local wines from nearly 40 historic wineries will be poured during the Wurstmarkt from fine rieslings to refreshing Eiswein (ice wine). Sip your Wein in large tents, where wine connoisseurs sit together at long wooden tables, or at a traditional Schubkärchler (small wine stand).
Wine is served in classic stemmed glasses, or you could go full party mode with hefty half-liter Dubbeglas for about 6 euro. This is smaller than Oktoberfest's 1-liter Mass, but still pretty weighty for wine. The best option is to go with a group and share several glasses amongst yourselves. And if you can't handle the thought of a day only with wine, rest assured that the Germans also supply a beer hall.
Alongside wine tasting, visitors can enjoy the glorious food of Palatinate. Here, too, you will find wine; used in sauces, when making sauerkraut and even to moisten burger mince. Or embrace the name and fill up on juicy Bratwurst and finger-sized Nuremberg. There are also concerts, carnival rides, literature contests in the regional dialect, carnival rides and fireworks. Just like most German folk festivals, there will also be traditional German brass bands playing Schlager music and popular hits. If you want, sing along, dance on benches, and link arms with your neighbor in a feeling of pure Gemütlichkeit.
The landmark of the Wurstmarkt is the world's largest wine barrel known as Dürkheimer Riesenfass (or just Fass or Därgemer Fass in the local Palatine dialect). It has a diameter of 13.5 metres and can hold 44 million gallons of wine, but has been transformed into a multi-level wine shop and restaurant.
Visitor Information for the Wurstmarkt
- Dates: September 9-13 and 16-19, 2016
- Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
- Full Program: http://www.bad-duerkheim.com/duerkheimer-wurstmarkt/wurstmarkt-programm.html
- Location: Bad Duerkheim is located 70 miles south of Frankfurt.
- Address: Kurbrunnenstraße, 67089 Bad Dürkheim, Germany
- Map of the event
- Website: http://www.bad-duerkheim.com/duerkheimer-wurstmarkt.html
- Phone: 49 6322 9566-250
- Getting There: The best way to get to Bad Dürkheim is by train; take an Intercity express train (ICE) to Mannheim; from there, use a regional train via Neustadt to reach Bad Dürkheim.
- Hotels in Bad Dürkheim