Raising a glass to Berlin's summer wine festival
Locals love it, but for everyone else it's one of Berlin's best-kept secrets: a summer wine festival that just happens to take place in one of the city's prettiest squares.
With its colourful, English-style gardens and monumental fountain, Rüdesheimer Platz provides a magical setting for the 'Rheingauer Weinbrunnen', an annual celebration (and enthusiastic consumption) of wines from the Rhine region.
Bottles are sold from a wooden booth on the square's terrace (you can purchase by the glass, too, if you're feeling abstemious), while food is provided by visitors themselves - bringing a picnic is part of the fun. And so, too, is the style of al fresco eating, with many opting to deck out their tables with linen, silverware and even candelabra.
Despite the event's popularity, its atmospheric take on the traditional beer garden remains a resolutely local affair. Rüdesheimer Platz is located in a residential quarter of Berlin that's well off the usual tourist trail, meaning that this summer-long, open-air, wine-sipping party retains a genuine neighbourhood feel and really is - along with the beautiful square itself - one of Berlin's true hidden gems.
It's no coincidence that the festival of Rhineland wines takes place in this part of Berlin: with many of the district's streets and landmarks named after towns in Germany's most famous wine-producing region, it's known locally as the 'Rhein quarter'.
It's also, however, famous for a very different cultural influence. Rüdesheimer Platz and its surrounding streets were modelled in the early 20th century on the English garden city, and for many Berliners the area's half-timbered 'Tudor-style' apartment blocks with steeply pointed roofs and small front gardens represent a tiny slice of England in the German capital.
Rüdesheimer Platz, 14197 Berlin.
The 'Rheingauer Weinbrunnen' wine garden takes place annually from early May to late September (dates vary slightly from year to year), and is open daily from 3pm - 9.30pm