Castle Salenegg

Europe's oldest winery

superb wine

If you are travelling from north of the Alps, we recommend stopping off in Maienfeld at the Salenegg estate. It’s not only the oldest winery in Europe, but it quite possibly boasts more wonderful stories than any other, too.

The development of Castle Salenegg

The Romans were already convinced that you could find the truth in wine, and later the monks of the Pfäffers monastery became well aware of the worldly pleasures of said libation, too. Wine has been made on the Salanegg estate from as early as 1068. Thanks to the open north-south valley, the vineyards are protected from harsh westerly winds, and the sunny location and the foehn (warm wind) – known as the “grape cooker” – within the valley allow the grapes to ripen to perfection.

But back to the past. In 1654, Salenegg was acquired by the Gugelberg von Moos family, who still live in the castle. Few people can look back on such a long tradition knowing that the changes they made will last.

There is a beautiful story and an equally beautiful poem about the family. The goat willow, planted after the family’s acquisition of the estate in 1654, grew magnificently until the late 19th century, when it was 5.4 metres in diameter. Then, large branches began to die, and the trunk started to rot, crack and become hollow. The family gave up hope, but didn’t cut the once-proud tree down, because of its location, which was well protected from the wind.

In 1910, the family made a miraculous discovery: new shoots had suddenly begun to sprout, and inside the tree, a new trunk had grown, which was soon to flourish into new splendour. Even today, it still stands proud. 

Rainer Maria Rilke

The great German poet was also a guest at Castle Salenegg. During his visit in 1926, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the poem "The Willow of Salenegg".

The goat willow which had previously been unnoticed by all rejuvenated itself. The tree in the coat of arms of the von Salis family, touched him so deeply that he dedicated the poem to it. This Poem about the "Sahle von Salenegg" is likely to be one of the last poems he wrote before his death.

We recommend you enjoy it with a glass of Pinot Noir from the winery in a sunny spot on the sunny hotel terrace.

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