When General von Tilly camped outside the town in 1631 with an army of 60,000 men, the town of Rothenburg believed its days were numbered. Believe it or not, the ability of a member of the Town Council to hold his drink saved the town and many of its citizens from certain destruction. Tilly called on the people of Rothenburg to choose someone from their midst who could down a jug containing three and quarter liters of Franconian wine in a single draught. If the person succeeded, Tilly promised to spare the town. Former Mayor Nusch volunteered for the challenge, drank the tankard dry and is still remembered as the reason why wine, in particular Franconian wine, plays such an important role in the life of Rothenburg to this day. Wine has certainly earned itself a permanent place in Rothenburg’s culture and is still considered the best way to get events off with a swing during the town’s many festive celebrations.
Quite apart from the festivities, there is a whole host of ways for visitors to the town to find out about the history, production and taste of Franconian wines. For example, wines can be sampled at a tasting in the cask cellar of the Glocke winery, or a visit to the cellars on Johannitergasse, providing an interesting introduction to the local wines, as well as the obligatory chance to sample the best. Seasoned walkers may enjoy a guided tour of Rothenburg’s vineyards which can take up to two hours.
Since 2009, the high point of the Rothenburg wine calendar is the “Rothenburg Wine Festival”, held each year in the middle of August. For four-and-a-half days, the Fruit and Vegetable Market and Church Square are dedicated to great wine labels: Silvaner, Weißherbst, Bacchus and Domina. Small regional specialties from Franconian cuisine are also served to line the stomach.