Dorfprozelten – at the fringes of the Franconian wine region

The first part of our family reunion last July brought us to the village where my mother grew up: Dorfprozelten, a small hamlet at the banks of the Main river in Lower Franconia as the region is called. The village is situated between the small towns of Miltenberg and Wertheim.

Dorfprozelten in the morning (photo taken from the meadows at the river banks). In the back one can see the location ‘Predigtstuhl’ where vines are cultivated.

I spent most of my childhood summer vacations in Dorfprozelten, lodged at my maternal great-grandmothers house in the middle of the village. Since my family could hardly afford to go on holidays as we do today, we spent our time with relatives and explored the beautiful surroundings between Spessart and Odenwald, two hilly, forested regions sanwiching the Main river.

Many of the village inhabitants were fishermen; many others were barge owners transporting goods from port to port in the inland river and canal systems which link many German lands with its neighbours. My uncle owned and operated a 1,000 tonne ship (river barge) together with two of his sons. My father often joined them during his holidays as a kind of occasional sailor.

In July this year, we arrived on a Friday two days before the fishermen would celebrate their annual local fishing festival. We should miss it all together since we stayed only for one day and one night. But on a rainy Saturday morning walk, I took the picture of this poster stuck to a tree near the river.

The billboard introduced the various fish varieties which call the river Main their home. Their numbers are on the increase ever since river pollution was reduced by the introduction of waste water treatment plants in the 1970s and 1980.

When on holidays we swam in the river as little kids until it was forbidden because of the rising pollution. My father used to swim out into the stream to greet barges, at times go on board and jump back into the rapid river waters. He was a very good swimmer. Today, swimming is again allowed because of the improved water quality.

The wine produced in Dorfprozelten does not come from “premier cru” terroir but rather belongs to the “Landwein” category (table wine or ‘vin de pays’). Among others Bacchus vines are cultivated. I am personally not a lover of Bacchus grapes and wines, but I drink “local” as much as I can.

Franconian wines are often filled in traditional bottles, called “Bocksbeutel” with a rounded, big belly shape. Sylvaner is the dominant grape variety, much liked by the locals and of outstanding quality only in this part of Germany. Apart from Riesling, Sylvaner is my most preferred variety of the German white wines.

We stayed in a typical country inn, named “Gasthaus Krone”.

Country inns in Germany offer home style cooking and local German cuisine which is not easy to find these days. Most Germans eat home style dishes at home and when they go out, they are looking for some more exotic cuisines. Moreover, these days many Germans try to avoid the restaurant business because of the long working hours. Therefore, today many country inns are operated by non-Germans offering everything from Turkish, Chinese, Thai, Italian Greek and other foods. But not so in Dorfprozelten.

The rooms were furnished in a typical Southern German country style. They were clean and spacious. Ideal for two families with children. The breakfast was a delight, offering many local cheeses, eggs cold cuts, sausages, and other meats.

The menu was a typical ‘country inn’s menu with a lot of local dishes. I loved the richly decorated hard cover in thick leather.

The wine list, here the section with local white wines only, was dominated by local wines from Franconia. Unfortunately, we could not taste them all. I guess we have to come back for some more sampling.

Sauerbraten with Knoedel, a hearty German country meal.

If you plan to visit Lower Franconia, I recommend you stay in this village of my ancestors for a night or two. It’s worth it, I promise.

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13 Responses to Dorfprozelten – at the fringes of the Franconian wine region

  1. Peri says:

    New World Wines are from regions that have been producing wines for a few hundred years, like South Africa, 50 years like New Zealand. Family Tree

  2. Henriette Amrhein says:

    Hello! I came across your blog regarding Dorfprozelten by accident. I currently live in New York State in the U.S. but was born in Dorfprozelten. My parents and I came to the US in 1955. I also visited Dorfprozelten this past July — I arrived on July 25 and lived above my cousin’s Gasthaus (Goldener Stern) for 2 weeks. I’m related to about 1/2 the town, so it’s always a fun time. I enjoyed reading your blog and viewing your photos. Maybe we’ll run into each other sometime in Dorfprozelten. Tsch!

  3. Hi Henriette, what a small world. Great to hear from you. My mother Hannelore comes from the Geier/Spielmann family clan and grew up in Dorfprozelten during and after WW II. I have many more pcitures and might some more send on to you. See you again on my blog or in Dorfprozelten. Cheers Rainer

  4. Henriette Amrhein says:

    Hi Rainer! Well, the world keeps getting smaller. According to my father, we are distantly related. My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Geier. Dad tried to explain the relationship but he lost me. I guess we have Prozele in the blood. Re: Wine — Our New York State Finger Lakes Region is producing some excellent wines and the industry has taken off over the last several years. Also, there are a few wineries up by the Niagara/Canadian border that are producing some pricey ice wines.

    If you can, I’d love to see some additional pictures of the home town. Feel free to forward. Best Wishes, Henriette

  5. Rainer Adam says:

    Hi Henriette, what a nice surprise. I will talk to my mum and check things out at the other end. I will send you some more pictures. But bear with me. I am on the road until Christmas. Enjoy more wines in the meantime. Cheers Rainer

  6. Henriette Amrhein says:

    Hi Rainer — No rush — reply when it’s more convenient and you can take a breath. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays. Henriette

    • Leo G. Hohmann says:

      Hi Henriette,
      Was wondering where in NYS you are located?
      I am located in the mid-hudson valley.
      Stay in touch.
      Leo Hohmann

  7. Leo G. Hohmann says:

    I would love to come to Dorfprozelten. My father was born there in 1901. He came to the USA in 1927.
    He never got back, but I would to go before I die.
    Leo G> Hohmann

  8. Phyllis Ring says:

    How happy I am to find this lovely post about Dorfprozelten — my childhood home, for a while, as a military kid who lived on the economy with the family Geis, who were so very good to me and my family. Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I return to Germany as often as we can and Dorfprozelten will be on our list for late this fall.
    All the best,
    Phyllis in NH

  9. cassmob says:

    Thanks for this description of Dorfprozelten. I particularly liked how you described the local inns -not only does it echo our experience but my ancestor’s family ran one of the inns, sadly no longer there, for centuries. I have an interest in emigrants from Dorfprozelten to Australia in the mid 19th century. http://cassmob.wordpress.com/dorfprozelten-bavaria/

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