Rosemary told me her mother, Mary Magdalene Rosamond, told her the Wieneke family used to own castles along the Hephoon Heil in Germany. There is a Wineck castle in the wine country of Alsace that was owned by Ulrich Ferrette who was kin to Jeanne Ferrette de Rougemont.
There are a series of casltes on Wine Road. This is the ancient wine country of the region that was fought over by France and Germany. I suspect the Wienekes were refuges who lost their castles. The Habsburgs ruled here as did the Romans who may have brought a Jewish family or tribe here to grow grapes and produce wine.
The castle of Wineck, only castle of Alsace surrounded by vines, dominates the village and the
vineyard of Katzenthal. The famous Great Vintage “Wineck-Schlossberg” draws its name from it.
1200. Built about 1200 by the counts of Eguisheim-Dabo,
1251. Named for the first time, when the Count Ulrich of Ferrette offered it to the bishop of Strasbourg.
14th century. Held in stronghold by the knights of Wineck, it becomes as of the middle of the century property of this ancient family from Colmar, and will remain it until 1828.
1828. Becomes property of the barons of Rathsamhausen.
1866. It becomes property of the society for the Conservation of the Historic Buildings of Alsace.
1972. Significant works of restoration are undertaken by the ” Friends of the Wineck “.
Some proponents of this theory say there is evidence that the royal bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene flowed in the Merovingian monarchs of France. Merovingian breaks down into “Mer” or “Mary” or “the sea,” and “vin” for “the vine.” So it can mean “vine of Mary” or “vine of the mother” possibly representing the bloodline of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.
Katzenthal’s story …
Not far from Colmar, located along the RN 415 road, the valley of Katzenthal has been inhabited from the earliest times and during the Roman period.
The first mention of the village comes from a title deed dated 1185 in which Pope Lucius III confirms the ownership of the abbey of Pairis over, amongst others, ‘Chacindale’, a gift from the great Eguisheim family. In turn, the abbey of Marbach was confirmed as the owner of ‘Kancendale’ in 1212 and the Chapter of St Dié received a gift of land at ‘Kazzindal’ in 1233. In the same year, a chapel was built there by André de Giersberg, and a second one in 1249 by the Beguines (lay religious communities), who settled at Ammerschwihr in 1288 and then Colmar (convent of Sainte Catherine).
Katzenthal belonged to the House of Austria and was a fiefdom of the Counts of Ribeaupierre. By 1521 Katzenthal was part of the domain of Hohlandsberg, held by the Counts of Lupfen, the baron Lazare de Schwendi (1563) and his descendants in the town of Colmar (1714-1789).
During the 14th century, the domain, with its French style formal garden, was gradually broken up. Physically untouched during the First World War, 90% of Katzenthal was destroyed by shelling during the battle of the Colmar Pocket in December 1944.
Skillfully rebuilt, the village is one of the jewels of Alsace’s wine-growing areas.
The history of the Château of Wineck (12th century) …
The “château of Wineck”, built around the year 1200, towers proudly above the village of Katzenthal.
It is the only castle in Alsace to be surrounded by vineyards.
It passed through the hands of the counts of Ferrette, the Bishop of Strasbourg and the dukes of Habsburg, being held as a sub fief by the Wineck, then the Rathsamhausen families.
Renovated in the 14th century, the castle is finally abandoned in the 15th century, having lost its strategic role. It was bought in 1866 by the the Alsatian society for the Preservation of Historical buildings, and finally brought out of neglect and restored from 1972 onwards by the “Amis du Wineck Société” (Friends of Wineck society) which aims to restore and preserve the castle.
This excellent example of a successful restoration program, based on voluntary work, has been instrumental in preserving an important part of Alsace’s mediaeval heritage and history.
Magnificently restored, the castle is open to the public, who will enjoy an outstanding view over the vineyards and the Alsatian plain from the top of the keep.
Alsace wine or Alsatian wine (in French: Vin d’Alsace) is produced in the Alsace region in France and is primarily white. These wines, which for historical reasons have a strong Germanic influence, are produced under three different Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées (AOCs): Alsace AOC for white, rosé and red wines, Alsace Grand Cru AOC for white wines from certain classified vineyards and Crémant d’Alsace AOC for sparkling wines. Both dry and sweet white wines are produced, and are often made from aromatic grapes varieties. Along with Austria and Germany, it produces some of the most noted dry Rieslings in the world, but on the export market, Alsace is perhaps even more noted for highly aromatic Gewürztraminer wines. Because of its Germanic influence, it is the only region in France to produce mostly varietal wines, typically from similar grapes as used in German wine.
The geography of the wine growing area in Alsace is determined by two main factors, the Vosges mountains in the west and the Rhine river in the east. The vineyards are concentrated in a narrow strip, running in a roughly north-south direction, on the lower eastern slopes of the Vosges, at altitudes of 175–420 m. Those altitudes provide a good balance between temperature, drainage and sun exposure under Alsace’s growing conditions. Because of predominantly westerly winds, the Vosges mountains tend to shelter Alsace from rain and maritime influence, and the region is therefore rather dry and sunny. Rainfall in Colmar is 500 mm, but can vary greatly between sites. While the slope down the Vosges is generally east-facing, many of the best sites are south-west to south-east facing, and benefit from extra sun exposure.
Alsace’s geology is quite varied, with many different kinds of soils represented in the vineyards. Alsace’s soils are a result of its location at a geological fault. Alsace as a whole is located on the western part of the Rhine Graben, which is the result of two systems of parallel faults, with a dropped down block between the Vosges and the Black Forest.
 Wine styles
Barrels in Alsace for wines of several notable varieties.
Almost all wines are white, except those made from the Pinot Noir grape which are pale red, often rosé, rarely red (e.g. Rouge d’Ottrott (fr)). Sparkling wines known as Crémant d’Alsace are also made. Much of the white wines of Alsace are made from aromatic grape varieties, so many characteristic Alsace wines are aromatic, floral and spicy. Since they very seldom have any oak barrel aromas they tend to be very varietally pure in their character. Traditionally all Alsace wines were dry (which once set them apart from German wines with which they share many grape varieties), but an ambition to produce wines with more intense and fruity character has led some producers to produce wines which contain some residual sugar. Since there is no official labelling that differentiates completely dry from off-dry (or even semi-sweet) wines, this has occasionally led to some confusion among consumers. It is more common to find residual sugar in Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, which reach a higher natural sugar content on ripeness, than in Riesling, Muscat or Sylvaner. Usually there is a “house style” as to residual sugar, i.e., some producers only produce totally dry wines, except for their dessert style wines.