Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks

Few traditions in Frankfurt can compete with Apfelwein, or apple wine, which is considered a local specialty. Even the most whirlwind visit through the region must include an hour to sit and relax at a winery or wine shop and enjoy a taste of this regional favorite, so beloved that it is the state beverage of Hessen.

Similar to cider, apple wine is made from pressed apples, the juice of which is fermented with yeast. Berries from the service tree—comparable in size to crab apples—are often added to create a variation. The wine is traditionally served in a gray crockery jug, called a “Bembel,” which is hand-painted with beautiful blue designs.

Nationally recognized apple wine producers Possman and Hohl lead the Apfelwein industry, together producing approximately 25 million liters of apple wine and apple juice each year.

The perfect Apfelwein tasting experience includes a sightseeing tour aboard the famous “Ebbelwei Express,” a train trip during which guests explore Frankfurt while enjoying a glass of Frankfurter Apfelwein. Possman recently opened a shop in central Romerberg in Frankfurt where you can purchase wine to enjoy now or take home.

Yet a visit to some of the region’s smaller Apfelwein producers provides a chance to experience the quaint charm of the German countryside. Just outside Frankfurt in Nieder-Erlenbach, apple wine producer Schneider-Obsthof am Steinberg focuses on selecting the best apples with a precise degree of sweetness to make their apple wine a particularly high quality. Sit at a community table in the Schneider-Obsthof am Steinberg orchard and enjoy fresh, locally produced food specially crafted to perfectly compliment your apple wine. Surrounded by new friends, you’ll want to lift a glass of Apfelwein, and toast to this regional specialty.