German Wine Route: Wachenheim

Wachenheim is a small town with 4800 inhabitants that was first documentary mentioned on 30. march 766 in the Lorscher codex as "Wackenheim" when a vineyard was donated to the Lorsch Abbey.

Castle Wachenheim

The first marks of settlements in the area of Wachenheim date back to the early Iron Age (550 BC) In this time celtic tribes settled in the Rhine rift. About 60 BC germanic tribes, presumably the tribe of Nemetes expanded into this area, displacing the Celts. The conflict brought advantage to the romans that where subduing the Nemetes tribe 57 BC, reigning the palatinate region for the next 400 years.

Due to the roman influence it came to an improvement in agriculture and fruit and wine growing started in this area.It is believed that a roman road lied on Wachenheim boundaries, northwards from Mussbach on the outskirts of the palatinate forest further through Rheinhessen to Bingen and Mainz.

After a short invasion of huns about 450 Alamanni tribes expanded into the region but where expelled by the franks at the end of the 5th century.

In the 11th century Wachenheim belonged to the Salian domain until the death of Henry V. when it went to the belongings of the House of Hohenstaufen. The ruin of a castle complex dates back to the time when the House of Hohenstaufen built a system of fortification castles.

On the 24th june 1341 municipal laws where conferred to Wachenheim by emperor Ludwig of bavaria. In 1436 Duke Stefan, a son of Emperor Rupert III. of Germany, erected a mint that was operating until 1471. In this year Wachenheim was conquered by Prince Elector Friedrich I., largely destroying castle Wachenheim, that was partially reconstructed.

In the Thirty Years War Wachenheim was occupied by spanish troops in 1621, that where expelled by swedish troops under the reign of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1631.

Wachenheim was completely burnt down in the War of the Grand Alliance from 1688 - 1697.

In the 18th century the town was reconstructed and developed quickly, but due to the french revolution several sieges and pillages occured. Until 1815 Wachenheim belonged to the french department Donnersberg, arrondissement Speyer, Kanton Duerkheim. After the end of the reign of Napoleon I. of France the palatinate region was administrated by the Kingdom of Bavaria.

In the german - french war 1870 - 1871 and in the first world war Wachenheim escaped demolitions and was occupied by France until 1st july 1930.

On the 18th march 1945 parts of the old town where destroyed by allied bombing.


Vineyards of Wachenheim, Wachenheimer Weinlagen