The Wine Fest that Wasn’t

It’s summer in Berlin which means that there are around ten festivals happening every week. In fact, there’s so much going on, it can be close to impossible to decide what to do. This weekend, however, the choice was easy. My two favourite words were mashed together into one German word and the decision was made. Weinfest.

Get in my belly
Get in my belly

After a relaxing brunch, Manfredas and I hopped on the bus to Britzer Garten. I had been there once before and thought it was beautiful so I was looking forward to going again.

Unfortunately, the festival wasn’t being held in the park proper but in a side bit next to a windmill.

Windmill. Check.
Windmill. Check.

We walked for around 10 minutes after the bus journey, wondering at the lack of drunk people on the streets. Clearly, this wasn’t going to be a massive party.

We got there to find not much of anything at all.

Is that it?
Is that it?

There were only three stands in total and two of those were selling coffee and cheese. Erm, what? But there was ONE wine stand so we marched over there and asked the barman what was going on.

Weinman: Well, there were supposed to be four wineries here but two cancelled and the third crashed in the outskirts of Berlin so now it’s just me. 

There wasn’t much we could say to that so we ordered a couple of glasses of Weißburgunder and sat down, lowering the average age of the revellers by around 30 years.

Manfredas: I’ve been thinking about why this isn’t really a fest.

Me: You mean apart from the lack of people and wine? 

Manfredas: Yes, apart from that. It’s because there’s no sausage. 

Me: I think they’re going for a more classy “wine and cheese” French-style of proceedings. 


Me: Right. 

Since we’d come all that way, we decided to have a second glass and chill out for a while – the good thing about a fest with 20 people is that there is never a queue for the toilets. When we were around half-way through, a van pulled up and a band (dressed in American GI uniforms) stepped out.

Me: Oooh, there’s a band! We have to stay now!


They started at 6pm on the dot and the lead singer explained that they were normally Checkpoint Five but they were missing their drum and keyboard players so, that night, they were Checkpoint Light.

Me: Oh, hahahaha! This is just too funny! A wine fest with no wine and a band with no members! Ha hahahahaha! What are drums in German anyway? 

Manfredas: Schlagzeug.

Me: Hit thing! Ha hahahahahaha! 

Yes, we had started ordering wine by the bottle at that stage…

The band launched into energetic renditions of all the old American doo-wop classics, with every second song being an Elvis number. I was in heaven. Amazingly, the tables started filling up and we were soon sharing ours with a bunch of fun, middle-aged Germans.

They ordered a cheese plate which came with Schüttelbrot. Seemingly, it’s the preferred bread of the Alpine regions but it was far more fun whacking it off the table to try and break it than it was to attempt to eat it.

My new German friends drummed along with the music.
Bread that’s harder than the table

We all roared along with the music, providing percussion by beating the table with the bread. I’m pretty sure that Elvis was spinning in his grave by that point.

People were up dancing, the wine and conversation flowed and what could have been a total bust turned into a fantastic night out.

Even the Latvians turned up.


I can’t wait to go again next year. I only hope that it’s as disastrously funny as it was this year.



The third Alsace post will be up next week! 



60 thoughts on “The Wine Fest that Wasn’t”

  1. Wheeee! That sounds super fun. Wine by the bottle, sign me up. Also, cover bands are some of my favorites, especially when you’re the expat. There was this one band in China…oh boy. Glad you had a great time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is there a minimum number of people that need to be at an event to make it a festival? Just wondering – normally you imagine a festival to consist of huge numbers of people gathering together, but perhaps it more to do with the happiness of those involved – hence 20 people and a smaller-than-it-should-be band is festive enough!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you had fun! I’ve been to the Wine festivals in Stuttgart and Heilbronn and they were filled with people which also meant it was hard to move through the crowds, there were queues for drinks and the loos and our friends kept getting lost, so maybe a smaller festival of 20 people is the way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stuttgart lies between vineyards and Heilbronn is the centre of Württemberg’s wine region. Compared with this, a Weinfest in Berlin is like Fasching in Bagdad.


    1. Not to a German haha! But yes, it was a lovely day out. So many of the festivals here are so overcrowded. Queue for this, queue for that, trying to keep everyone together… this was more like a gathering than a fest!


    1. They’re not quite so pleasant in December! And I only discovered this one in the spring – it’s gorgeous though 🙂 And yesterday I cycled to the Botanical Gardens about 15 minutes in the other direction – also lovely!


  4. This is hilarious Linda. Trust you to have me in stitches on a Monday morning having slept not at all on a nightbus journey from Copenhagen to Berlin!

    That windmill looks familiar but the time that I went, it was heaving with children and lots and lots of stands. With sausages! But admittedly, more cake lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, trust me to choose the dud year! But I think I’d prefer to be surrounded by lots of wine-swilling pensioners than screaming children anyway so maybe it all worked out OK 😉 Hope you had fun in Copenhagen! I’ve never been as I hear it’s rather expensive – maybe some day! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s outrageously expensive. And I used to go when it cost 10 quid from the UK, and you didn’t eat anything, and brought along your own beer. In the winter lol!
        This time, I took son along and it’s costing me quite a bit more..! The secret? Stay just one night. Take cheap transport. Buy sandwiches at the 7/11 cornershop which are everywhere. Make sure it’s summer! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I never go to a Weinfest when the next vine stock isn’t less than 10km away. According to this, I never go to a Bierfest when you can’t reach the next hop field, barley field or water fountain/ connection within 10km. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The French attitude to eat mainly cheese, grapes and baguette to their (red) wine, was disseminated by the in-crowd and their faithful devotees over the Westernworld. Yes, in Germany you eat sausage (AND cheese). The Palatinate term “Weck, Worscht un Woi” (bun, sausage and wine) covers the whole D-A-CH region. Although no one has the fabulous quantity (and quality) of sausages like Germany, other countries like wine plus sausage too. The Italian wine drinker love their prosciutto crudo and their salame; many Spanish tapas contain sausages like chorizo.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, JoSch! I’m so impressed. I know the Germans like their Bratwurst! But seriously, how do you know about all these intricacies of European cuisine? You must be such a well travelled guy. I envy you for that! Wine, beer, food… So cool that you know all about these things. In all of those countries. You stumped me with the D-A-CH region. Where is it and,or, what is it?

          Liked by 1 person

              1. I’m utterly amazed. I assumed that the term DACH is -at least in Germany- a well known concept. DACH are the three German speaking countries in Europe, according to their international vehicle registration codes: Deutschland, Austria and Converderatio Helvetica.
                P.S.: “G” is NOT Germany, its Gabon … 😛


  6. Eeek indeed! The Latvians seem like bad pennies: they just keep turning up (oh, I hope I don’t get “flamed” now for insulting … pennies…hahahahahaha). Seriously, I mean no insult to Latvians but animal print just brings out the worst in me. Plus, I’ve just started my own “Weinfest” this evening so I’ll blame any and all on the drink 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, yeah, I’m having a reminiscent tiny Weinfest too! I’m not sure how many Latvians still read it so I think you’ll be OK 😉 And sadly, I think I was the only non-German there! It’s just not something a German woman would normally wear. They’re far more at home in their Jack Wolfskin and Birkenstocks! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. At least one Latvian is still following your blog. Which I find to be a huge source of amusement for me nowadays. I think your blog might have saved me from being a typical grumpy Latvian.(and turned me into wine addict) So there is no chance of me “flaming” anyone.
        I actually thought that you are going to make a post about CSD. (It would have been interesting to read)
        Greetings from Wedding(I might have moved to Berlin around the same time you did)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hi Krists! I’ll be up in that part of the world today – I have a lesson there 🙂
          I went to CSD last year and it was amazing fun but decided to try something different this year – that’s the problem when there’s always so much stuff happening! Glad to hear I’ve got another wine convert 😉 Hope you’re enjoying Berlin as much as I am! 🙂


  7. We had our own Festdisaster here at the weekend… town fair called off Friday night coz of that shooting. Then lots of deliberations before they decided to go ahead with it on Saturday. Yey! We had Currywurst and ice cream 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, yes, I can see why they might call it off but it’s such a shame that people can’t go about their daily lives and enjoy themselves because of all of this madness. Glad it went ahead anyway! No cake??


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