Since the 12th century, the Counts von Schönborn have been part of the Rhenish knightage. Around 1349 their vineyards in Winkel in the Rheingau were registered documentary for the first time. Until the middle of the 17th century, the Counts von Schönborn were living in their area of origin in the Rheingau and in the Taunus. During this time, many vineyards were purchased in Rheingau boundaries. As of the middle of the 17th century, the brothers Johann Philipp and Philipp Erwein von Schönborn laid the foundation stone for the material prosperity and cultural wealth of the family.
Johann Philipp von Schönborn (1605-1673) was the first in a long line of bishops who came from the family. In 1643 he became the Bishop of Würzburg, in 1647 the Archbishop and Elector of Mainz and in 1663 also the Bishop of Worms. As the Elector of Mainz, he was automatically the Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, too. After the Thirty Years’ War, the first aim of his political efforts was to ensure and to keep the peace.
Philipp Erwein von Schönborn (1607-1673) creates the economic basis. He bought land and estates on both sides of the Rhine river, at the Main river and in the Taunus and considerably enlarged the vineyard property.
In 1663 Emperor Leopold I. appointed the Schönborns 1663 to be empire free, noble bannerets and they were awarded the great palatinate. In 1671 the Counts von Schönborn got the Sovereignty of Reichelsberg and thus a seat and a vote in the Franconian parliament and the German parliament.
During this time, a large number of important and influential clerical dignitaries in the entire Southern Germany have come from the Schönborn family. Besides many other magnificent baroque and renaissance buildings, the Bamberger Residenz, the Würzburger Residenz and the Schloss Weißenstein, which still belongs to the family property, were built under their aegis. Due to connections to the entire European Higher Nobility, the property of the Schönborn family was increased and extended beyond the boundaries of their area of origin.