FAMOUS GERMAN WINE AND BEER FESTIVALS FOR 2016:
German wine and beer festivals are great occasions not only to enjoy a variety of wines and beers, but they also provide an opportunity to observe local traditions, sample local foods, as well as to mingle amongst a nice cross-section of people.
For connoisseurs of wine and beer, spring and summer are fantastic times to be in Germany. From Berlin to the Rhineland, there is a great choice of festivals to attend, depending on whether you prefer to conduct your wine-tasting in one of the small towns along the Mosel or in Rudesheim on the Rhine or at wine festivals in the larger towns like Stuttgart, Hamburg, Mainz, Frankfurt or Aachen.
And then there are the almighty giant beer festivals, such as Munich Oktoberfest, to keep you merry as well.
There are over 1,000 wine and beer events across Germany during the year, but here we can only mention some of the larger ones.
2016 Beer and Wine Festivals
**Some of these dates may change so please always check the festival website before making your travel plans.**
Starkbierzeit 2016 – Munich’s Strong Beer Festival
February 19 – March 19, 2016 (Löwenbräukeller) and February 26 – March 13, 2016 (Paulaner am Nockherberg) : This is Munich’s secret beer festival in spring. Starkbierzeit focuses on strong beers traditionally consumed during Lent.
More about Starkbierzeit…
Where to Stay in Munich >>.
Munich Frühlingsfest 2016 – Munich Spring Festival
April 15 – May 1, 2016: Munich Frühlingfest ends the spring Strong Beer Season. The fair is a scaled-down version of Oktoberfest. The fair is held in Theresienwiese – the Oktoberfest grounds.
Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2016 – Stuttgart Spring Festival – Stuttgart
April 16 – May 8, 2016 – Stuttgart Spring Festival in Cannstatter Wasen celebrates the end of the winter season. The festival features beer tents, oompah bands, funfair, fireworks and lots of parties at night. This is the 78th anniversary of Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest and some 240 performers, farmers and market merchants will provide a great atmosphere.
Mosel Wine Festivals 2016
From April – September, 2016: From early spring through fall, the towns along the Mosel hold “Weinfeste” (wine festivals). Local foods and wines are served and a general party atmosphere prevails. The Mosel Valley is full of vineyards that rise up the hills from the river banks. There is likely to be a wine festival in one town or another every weekend in the Mosel region.
Erlanger Bergkirchweih 2016
May 12 – 23rd, 2016: This 12-day annual beer festival is a centuries-old tradition, celebrated around Pentecost and 2016 is the 261st Bergkirchweih. More than 1 million visitors each year come to enjoy Erlangen beer and Franconian dishes. The Bergkirchweih is open from 10:00 to 23:00 daily and you can then roll on to the pubs in downtown Erlangen. Erlangen’s claim to fame is that they were the first to export beer, even before Munich and Kulmbach.
‘Assmannshausen in Red‘ – Assmannshausen Red Wine Festival 2016
June 17 – 19, 2016 – Assmannshausen is famous for its Pinot Noir. On this one-day festival wine connoisseurs get to enjoy the Assmannshäuser red wine as well as local dishes and entertainment.
International Bierbörse 2016
May 5 – September 25, 2016: This looks like a good excuse to drink beer non-stop for nearly five months! Bierbörse is an chain of annual beer festivals which are held in 24 German cities. You can sample up to 1,000 different types of beer, including those from 75 countries. What’s more, this is a free event and you only pay for the beer. Bierbörse 2016 can be found in Barmen, Bonn, Delmenhorst, Detmold, Dorsten, Dusssldorf, Holders, Hamm, Hildesheim, Hückeswagen, Julich, Karlsruhe, Koblenz, Koln, Leipzig, Leverkusen, Magdeburg, Mainz, Monchengladbach, Mülheim, Neuss, Pforzheim, Schwelm and Viersen.
Stuttgarter Weindorf – Stuttgart Wine Festival 2016 – Hamburg
August 24 – September 4, 2016: Traditionally held just prior to the big Stuttgarter Weindorf in Stuttgart, this year the Stuttgart Wineries are bringing their wares to Hamburg much earlier. Running for 2 weeks from August 26, the Hamburg wine village is traditionally set up at the Hamburg Town Hall Market, complete with wine and beer gardens, regional Stuttgart fare and arts and crafts from the Stuttgart region.
Annafest Forchheim 2016
July 22 – August 1, 2016: Forchheim Annafest (Festival of St. Anna) is an annual fair which has been celebrated since 1840. Forcheim is on the “cellar-hill” close to Bamberg and Nuremberg and each year up to 500,000 visitors descend upon its beer gardens (over 20 beer gardens and no tents here).
Kulmbacher Bierwoche 2016
July 30 – August 7, 2016: Kulmbacher is a traditional beer festival in the north of Bavaria. Just for one week in the year, master brewers of Kulmbacher brew their secret formula beer. 2016 sees in the 67th anniversary of this beer festival.
Berlin Beer Festival 2016 – Berlin
August 5 – 7, 2016: Usually held on the first weekend of August annually, this festival boasts the longest beer garden in the world – it stretches for 2.2 km on Karl-Marx-Allee, between Strausbergerplatz and Frankfurter Tor! One million people come to this festival each year and the 20th Berlin Beer Festival will be just as popular. Stalls offer 2,400 unique types of beer from over 340 breweries from 87 countries with a focus on smaller, private breweries. However long it might take to sample 2,400 varieties of beer, the Berlin Beer Festival sounds like a great way to quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day. Live music and shows also keep the crowd entertained.
Rotweinfest 2016 – Bacharach am Rhein – Rhine River Red Wine Festival
August 6, 2016 – A very popular one-day Middle Rhine red wine festival in the market square of Bacharach.
Gäubodenvolksfest 2016 – Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing
August 12 – 22nd, 2016: Founded by King Max I in 1812, Gäubodenvolksfest this is the 202nd anniversary of this annual year. This festival started as an agricultural event, but these days it is said to be the second largest genuine folk festival in Bavaria. Held annually around mid-August, this family-friendly festival lasts for 11 days. Its six beer tents accommodate 25,000 visitors.
Rothenburger Wine Festival – Rothenburger Weindorf
August 17 – 21, 2016: This annual wine festival usually takes place in mid-August and serves over 70 wines, including the classic Franconian grape varieties like Silvaner and Müller-Thurgau. Rothenburg is one of the most beautiful German walled cities and you can enjoy food and wine in the shady courtyard of Town Hall, the Green Market and the Square of St.-Jakob’s-Church. In addition to wine, there is a variety of entertainment, such as a morning pint with Dixieland music, fashion-shows, dialect cabaret, brass band music and many more.
Ruedesheimer-Weinfest 2016 – Rüdesheim Wine Festival 2016
August 18 – 22, 2016: Always charming and picturesque, the small Rhine wine village of Rüdesheim hosts a Wine Festival that features the wineries of the region as well as food. The festival takes place on the main street and you can enjoy the beautiful views to the Rhine and the vineyards above as you sip your wine. If you feel intimidated about going into the small wine tasting rooms, this is a perfect way to get to know Rüdesheim and its wines.
66th Bamberger Sandkerwa Beer Festival 2016
August 25 – 29, 2016: Bamberg is a beer city and its most famous beer festival, the Bamberg Sandkerwa, takes place in the Old Town in August each year. The festival attracts some 250,000 people each year and apart from drinking beer, visitors will be entertained with live music, amusement park, the Sunday tradition of “Fishermen’s jousting” on the Regnitz River, an Italian Night, fireworks, etc.
Stuttgarter Weindorf 2016 – 40th Stuttgart Wine Village – Stuttgart
August 24 – September 4, 2016: Always very popular, the Stuttgart Wine Village is one of the largest and most beautiful wine festivals in Germany. From the end of August to the beginning of September, the Stuttgart city center is transformed into a festive wine village. 120 wine alcoves with traditional decor offer up over 250 wines from the region, including Trollinger, Riesling, Kerner, Müller-Thurgau, Schwarzriesling, Ruländer, Schillerwein, Lemberger and Weißherbst. The Stuttgart Wine Festival is all about regional wines and the opportunity to enjoy Swabian dishes such as maultaschen, kässpätzle and ofaschlupfer in a warm and friendly atmosphere. There are no fairground rides or loud music so you can enjoy wine and food in a peaceful environment.
Aachen Wine Festival 2016
August 2016 (tbc): Located in North Rhine Westphalia, Aachen is an attractive Roman spa town, famous for its therapeutic waters, hot springs and 1000-year-old remains. This lovely town hosts a summer wine festival in the town center each year with over 400 wines on offer from 20 or more wineries in Rhineland Palatine. Featured wines include Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau, Kerner, Dornfelder and Spaetburgunder. Good food and wine, music and a generally great atmosphere make this Wine Festival a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Mainzer Weinmarkt – Mainz Wine Festival 2016
August 25 – 28, 2016 and September 1 – 4, 2016: The Mainz Wine Market (Mainzer Weinmarkt) plays host to over half a million visitors each year. You’ll enjoy wandering through the parks and rose gardens of the town as you go about tasting wines, eating the local fare and checking out the arts and crafts stalls. There is plenty of music to suit every taste and the city is known to be particularly beautiful at this time of year.
Weinfest der Mittelmosel 2016 – Bernkastel-Kues
From September 1 – 5, 2016: Bernkastel-Kues Middle Mosel Wine Festival is the largest and most well-known of the Mosel wine festivals. Visitors will enjoy the brilliant fireworks display from Landshut Castle and the colourful winemaker’s procession and the crowning of the Wine Queen.
Frankfurt Rheingau Wine Festival 2016
Aug 31 – Sep 9, 2016: The Rheingau Wine Festival (Rheingauer Weinmarkt) is Frankfurt’s only wine festival with vintners from the Rheingau offering over 600 wines at the Fressgasse, one of Frankfurt’s charming restaurant and fine food areas. Rieslings are the specialty wines here, reflecting the unique terroir of the Rheingau wine region.
Location of festival is “Freßgass´”, Große Bockenheimer Straße / Opernplatz.
Open Times: Daily from 11:00 – 23:00
Frankfurt Hotels in the Old Town Centre (Zentrum-Alstadt)
All Frankfurt am Main Hotels
Oktoberfest 2016 – Munich
September 17 – October 3, 2016: Oktoberfest gets bigger and better each year and if you want to witness the traditional tapping of the first keg for the 183rd Munich Oktoberfest, be at the Schottenhamel tent on September 17th.
Oktoberfest is not just about beer. The main highlight of the festival and an important must-see is the annual Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade which takes place on the first Wiesn Sunday.
With 14 huge tents (maybe more) to choose from, how do you decide? You’ll need to check the website of each of the tents to see which ones you fancy. Munich Oktoberfest has also gone high-tech as well. There is a free Smart Card which will help you navigate your way around the beer tents. Just scan the QR code from the Smart Card and you’ll get a lot of information on your smart phone. Munich gets pretty busy during Oktoberfest, so if you’re planning on visiting, do book your Munich hotel early.
Here’s some traditional Oktoberfest beer tents. >
See our Oktoberfest photos >
Oktoberfest Hannover 2016
September 28 – October 14, 2016: The Oktoberfest Hannover claims to be the second-largest ‘Oktoberfest‘ in the world, after Munich. More than a million visitors attend this 17-day event at the Schützenplatz in Hannover, and its two large beer tents seat more than a thousand drinkers.
Stuttgart Beer Festival 2016 – Canstatter Volkfest – Stuttgart
September 23 – October 9, 2016: This Stuttgart Beer Festival is second only to the Oktoberfest in Munich in terms of size. It began in 1818 as a harvest festival following a famine and has since been taking place at the end of September every year. These days, it provides two weeks of fun with oompah bands in traditional costume, lots of beer inside the marquees and entertainment
Hamburg Winter Beer Festival
It’s on from the November 4 – December 4, 2016 and you get the chance to visit the Hamburg Dom funfair too! Lots of beer tents, plenty of food and it’s on Heiligengeistfeld, next to the Reeperbahn in St Pauli. The funfair is one of the biggest in Germany.
Mendiger-Gambrinusfest 2015 – Mendig
May 24 – 28, 2017: Gambrinusfest takes place every 2 years and is the biggest beer festival in Rhineland-Palatinate. Next event is in 2017.
A visit to Germany is not complete without going to a Wine or a Beer Festival. There is plenty on offer so it’s necessary to plan well in order to get maximum coverage.
Did you find the wine and beer festival you were looking for? Do let me know.
If there are any other significant festivals you would like to see on this list, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Food and wine tour
Bavarian Beer and Food tour