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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A new Pfalz spring wine festival makes its debut this weekend in Speyer: Wine at the Cathedral.

The festival kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Speyer, an old Roman town probably best known for its giant stone cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But Speyer also has a long wine-making history that may well rival that of the festival’s previous host and site of one of the world’s biggest wine festival, Bad Dürkheim.

A nearly 1,700-year-old vintage in Speyer’s history museum is purported to be the world’s oldest — and possibly most disgusting-looking — bottle of wine. Thankfully, organizers don’t plan to crack the coagulated flask of grape squeezings for tasting.

Instead, the festival will feature more than 360 labels from the Pfalz region’s 2012 vintage and more than 700 wines in all from some 130 wineries and collectives around the region.

Samples of all these offerings are covered by the entry fee, which runs 25 euros per day or 39 euros for the entire wine-soaked weekend. Entry also covers transportation on the region’s network of trains and busses. For transportation schedules and routes, visit http://www.vrn.de.

Vintner kiosks will center around four of the town’s landmarks — the history museum, the Friedrich Spee Haus, the historical Rathaus (town hall) and the Kulturhof Flachsgasse — all within walking distance of each other, and the only places to buy tickets (advance ticket sales are already over).

Restaurants around each location will have their own special offerings not included in the admission price.

Admission does, however, include access to wine-savvy computer terminals able to make recommendations based on user preferences. Bring a translator, though; the terminals are all in German.

The festival runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information and a 144-page brochure and wine list, go to www.pfalz.de/wein-am-dom.

millham.matthew@stripes.com Twitter: @mattmillham


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