Markus took us through several of the little towns in the area (photos to go up on THE PHOTOS! very soon) and then we had a tour of the family winery and tasted six wines or so. After this, we all went to a special Mass that seemed to be especially for wine! The Mass was held in a chapel connected to Johannisberg's schloss and was held in honor of St. John (Johannes of course - the patron saint of the town). Since he is the patron saint of the town, and the town is a winemaking town, the Mass was very wine-oriented. Markus' brother took down a banner that was hanging in the winery and brought it along. The banners of all the local wineries were there, and joined the procession to the front of the church at the start of Mass, and stood behind the altar for most of the service. (See above Markus holding the banner for his family winery, Weingut Johannishof.) His brother also took a couple of bottles of wine to the church, and set them in front before Mass, where there were many, many other bottles as well - an offering? The area Wine Queen & Wine Princess were in attendance and also in the procession. Toward the end of Mass, everyone drinks a tiny glass of the town's very first "young wine" (different from the "new wine" I mentioned drinking in the fall), donated by the schloss winery. The Mass is really popular (free wine, right?)! Nothing like one I've ever attended! And a note on Germans that I don't know if I've mentioned before: They don't have a fear of singing like Americans do. Markus told us his church is well-known and made fun of for singing so quietly, but it was much louder than any service I went to in the US.
Afterward was more dinner and wine, followed by even more wine with Markus' parents. Markus was born in 1973, and for the occasion of us all being together, his dad brought out a bottle of wine from that year - made by himself since he was the winemaker at that time. I don't think I've ever had old wine like that before...It was completely different.
The next day we saw some more local sights, all of which will be on the photo site, though the weather - rainy and foggy - didn't work in their favor. The area is gorgeous and very English-friendly thanks to tourism - maybe a little too much so. After this we went inside to warm up at the fire, and of course drink more wine, before catching our train back to Heidelberg.