Skip to main content

This is the oldest winery in the world

You're going to want to add this one to your travel itinerary

Staffelter Hof Winery, Distillery & Guesthouse since A.D. 862
Staffelter Hof Winery, Distillery & Guesthouse since A.D. 862

If you have wine on your mind when it comes to European travel this summer, you may be envisioning the rolling, lush hills of Tuscany or the romantic and magnificently beautiful vineyards in Bordeaux. While these are incredible wine destinations, to be sure, there’s another location you may want to consider. The Staffelter Hof estate, located in Kröv in the Mosel region of Germany, is the oldest winery in the world and still in full working operation. Remarkably in business since 862 A.D., this incredible estate is not only the world’s oldest winery but also one of the world’s oldest operating businesses in general.

The property, which includes an abbey as well as grape vineyards, was owned and run by the Catholic church until the French Revolution, when the government gained control of the estate. In 1805, however, Staffelter Hof was privately purchased by a man named Peter Schneiders, and the remarkable estate has been in his family’s care ever since. Seven generations after Schneiders’ purchase, Jan Matthias Klein – a Schneider descendant – runs and manages the impressive property.

More than a century later, the abbey stands as a cultural center and museum open to the public as Schneiders’ family continues their sacred winemaking traditions.

Old, but not stuck in the past

Staffelter Hof Winery, Distillery & Guesthouse since A.D. 862
Staffelter Hof Winery, Distillery & Guesthouse since A.D. 862

Jan Matthias Klein has brought the natural magic of winemaking back to what it once was – pure, traditional, and beautifully raw. Under Klein’s leadership, the winery uses only natural insect repellants and ingredients in the winemaking processes. The hand-bottled wines are left unfiltered and with minimal added sulfur or cellar intervention. While these more modern-day approaches to winemaking are rare in the region, Staffelter Hof is admirably dedicated to doing things the right way, having been practicing organic farming since 2011 with no end in sight for this ancient establishment. In 2012, Staffelter Hof was eco-certified by the European Organic Certifiers Council.

The estate’s collection of natural, unfiltered wines includes many conventional wines as well as sparkling varieties, ice wines, and even a few exceptional liqueurs.

Should you like to plan a visit to the Staffelter Hof estate, there are seven fully furnished, on-site guestrooms available so that you can stay overnight surrounded by the property’s incredibly rich history and absolutely delicious wines. The Staffelter Hof website boasts, “Apartments and holiday homes combined with a passion for good wine: With us, you can feel the atmosphere of a thousand-year history and at the same time spend your holiday in a Mediterranean ambiance between olive trees, laurel, oleander and banana trees.” It sounds like a stop worth making on your summertime travels.

In addition to the divine accommodations at Staffelter Hof, the property also hosts a number of tours, wine tastings, concerts, luncheons, guided hikes, and many other cultural events, each bursting with delicious wine and incredible history.

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Make a party punch in a snap with this Fancy Long Island Iced Tea recipe
Julianna McIntosh's Fancy Long Island Iced Tea with Boozy Ice Cubes
fancy long island iced tea unnamed 5

Here at The Manual, we love a big bowl of punch for a summer party when you have a bunch of friends coming round and you want to serve tasty drinks to everyone without any fuss. And with a few extra flourishes, like fresh fruit and fancy ice cubes, you can turn any simple punch recipe into something really special.

A new recipe from Julianna McIntosh, aka join_jules, makes use of ready to drink cans of Cutwater Long Island Iced Tea to make creating a punch even easier. McIntosh shows off her punch recipe in a new Instagram Reel, which includes making boozy ice cubes with edible flowers ahead of time. These cool the drink but don't water it down as they melt, which is a genius hack especially for hot summer parties.

Read more
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s competing recipes for National Michelada Day
Smokey, fruity, or spicy - there's a Michelada recipe for every taste
national michelada day modelo x dos hombres hero image 1

Today, July 12, is National Michelada Day, so that's the ideal excuse to kick back with this classic Mexican beer cocktail. Beer cocktails aren't the easiest thing to create as beer has such a low alcohol percentage and high amount of water compared to spirits -- but when you get it right, there are few things more refreshing. As the beloved combination of Mexican lager, lime, and tomato juice proves, there's a great way to mix almost any ingredient.

Another fun aspect of the Michelada is its flexibility. You can use clamato juice in place of the tomato juice, pour in an extra shot of spirit, and add whatever combination of hot sauces or umami sauces that your heart desires. As the drink is traditionally served in a glass with a salt rim, you can also add bonus flavors here like making a chili salt or using salt and pepper. And of course you can garnish with anything from fruit to pickles.

Read more
What is a gruit, and where can you find one?
Gruit, the beer made without hops that you need to try
Beer snifter chalice glass

Most beers you know and love today have four primary ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. That’s largely due to the centuries-old German beer purity law, or reinheitsgebot, which demanded that beer be made exclusively using these ingredients and set the standard for today’s brews. 
But beer is an ancient beverage — historians believe its story stretches back to 5th millennium BC in Iran and went on to be enjoyed by the likes of Egyptian pharaohs and the Greek philosophers. However, if Socrates or Tutankhamun ever enjoyed a pint in their days, the beer was likely missing one of those four critical ingredients: the hop.
In today’s hop-hungry climate of India pale ales (and hazy IPAs, New England IPAs, as well as milkshake IPAs, and others), it seems impossible that beer could exist without hops. The fact is that many other natural ingredients can serve as substitutes for the bittering, aromatic, and flavoring characteristics of hops. Today, if a beer relies on other herbs to fill the "hops" role, the beverage is classified as a gruit.

Gruit is the German word for herb. Instead of depending on hops, these brews use exotic additives like bog myrtle, horehound, elderflowers, and yarrow to offset the sweetness of the malts and create a more complex beverage.
Thanks to the creativity of modern breweries, you don’t have to travel back to the Middle Ages to find a gruit (though if you can, please let us in on your time travel technology). You can try them right now, but you will have to do some detective work.
“Authentic” gruits can be tough to find in the mainstream marketplace. That’s because some laws require hops to be present for a product to be sold as beer. Not having the “beer” title would limit distribution and sales channels for some breweries.  To illustrate how rare gruits are in the current marketplace, there are currently 32,576 American IPAs listed on the Beer Advocate database and only 380 gruits.
But don’t despair — this list will help you get started on the path toward discovering modern versions of the ancient ale. Start your gruit journey here:

Read more