Wine witch of Wesel, that is my name...

Wine witch Anna II.

... thus begins the annual speech of the female ambassador for Oberwesel vintners and their wines.
Our wine witch has the same function as the “wine queens” of other regions. In Oberwesel, the inauguration of the “wine witch of Wesel” - who is elected in a secret ballot - always takes place on Walpurgis Night, the night from 30th April to 1st May - the “wine witches night”. With a magic bang and witches’ fire, the new wine witch emerges from a huge wine barrel in the middle of the market square.
The name harks back to a custom in earlier centuries, whereby “witches’ fires” and catherine wheels were lighted on the Rhine slopes and mountains. These were supposed to scare away the last of the winter demons. The wine witch is in memory of this custom, which the vintners believed would improve their wines.