Through the many years I have lived along Father Rhine and also when working on the numerous archaeological sites scattered around the area I have taken the time to discover some of the interesting little villages tucked away in the countryside. When I was finishing up my travels in the fall of 1979 and ended up visiting a friend in Germany before planning to go back to the airport in Brussels and return to the States, the pilots of the charter airline I had come over on went on strike and I ended up being stranded for the better part of three months. I had to devise ways of keeping my head above water financially until the airline could fly again. Playing street music was one option I pursued, picking grapes in the villages along the Rhine was another.
One of the small villages I picked grapes in was Kiedrich, located near Eltville. Kiedrich is one of those typical small German wine villages situated on the south slope of the Taunus mountains, about 3.5 kilometers from the Rhine River and west of Wiesbaden. They have been growing grapes and producing wine there since at least the late 700’s AD. The village was first mentioned by Frederick, Archbishop of Mainz, in a document dated between 937 and 954 and once again in 1160 when “Scharfenstein Turm“, the tower overlooking the village was under construction. Nearby is the Cistercian monastery of Eberbach, parts of which were used in the 1986 film of Umberto Eco’s The Name Of The Rose directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Kiedrich is home to the Catholic Parish Church of Saint Valentine, which was completed in 1493. It contains the oldest playable organ in Germany with approximately 950 pipes. The organ dates from the Late Gothic period. The church is also home to the Kiedricher Chorbuben (the Kiedrich Choir), a choir of boys and men, and in recent years girls too, which has, according to documents, been practicing a special Mainz choral dialect of liturgical Latin plainsong at the services since 1333. This is the only place where this dialect is still preserved. The oldest bell of the church was cast in the year 1389 and is still rung today.
High quality wines are grown in Kiedrich. The vineyards of Gräfenberg, Wasseros, Klosterberg, Sandgrub and Turmberg, and the larger wine-growing area of Heiligenstock are said to produce some of the Rheingau’s top wines. The wines produced here are noted for being delicate and well balanced. I was happy in 1979 to participate in picking the grapes that produced some of those fine traditional wines. The photos below were from a visit I made to the village in 2008.
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