Rhenish Hesse or Rhine-Hesse (German: Rheinhessen) refers to the part of the former People's State of Hesse (previously Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt) located west of the Rhine and now part of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is a hilly countryside largely devoted to vineyards, therefore it is also called the "land of the thousand hills." Its larger towns include: Mainz, Worms, Bingen, Alzey, Nieder-Olm and Ingelheim. Many inhabitants commute to work in Mainz, Wiesbaden, or Frankfurt.
Before it was occupied by revolutionary France in 1792, today's Rhenish Hesse had been a patchwork of possessions of the Catholic Archbishopric-Electorate of Mainz and Prince-Bishopric of Worms and the Protestant Electorate of the Palatinate.
At the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse, had to give up his Westphalian territories, but was compensated with the district of Rheinhessen on the left bank of the Rhine. Because of this addition, he amended his title to Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and the name of the region was created.
Rheinhessen is the largest of 13 regions producing German wine. Outside Germany, it is best known as the home of Liebfraumilch. Most is made from white varieties such as Riesling, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, and Scheurebe. The best-known white wine area is the Rhine Terrace near Oppenheim and Nierstein. Some red varieties are grown, particularly around Ingelheim and Gundersheim, including Pinot noir, Blauer Portugieser, Dornfelder, and the recently established Regent.
- Official website of Rheinhessen with information about wine, tourism and culture (in German)
- Website on the history of Rheinhessen (in German)
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