Wine season is in full swing here in Franconia with wine-related festivals and events popping up almost weekly. In addition to the Würzburger Weindorf (Würzburg Wine Village) that we attended a few weeks ago, we also recently went on a walking wine tour in Eibelstadt, a town not far from Würzburg.
Not familiar with wine hikes (aka Weinbergswanderungen or Weinwanderungen)? From spring to early fall, regional wineries host special walking routes set through vineyards where guests can visit several stands set up along the way and sample different wines from the host wineries. I first learned about wine hikes when living near Stuttgart and have attended four of them in Untertürkheim, Uhlbach, Bühlertal, and Esslingen.
The Weinbergswanderung in Eibelstadt was my first wine hike in Bavaria; in fact, the Franconian region of Bavaria is the only wine region in the state. The Eibelstadt wine hike is held annually on Whit Sunday (Pfingstsonntag), not Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag) as is unfortunately stated on the Weinwanderung website. Fortunately, we found the correct date for the wine hike online in advance and planned to go with S’s parents and sister. The weather was perfect that day – sunny with a few clouds, perfect for a vineyard stroll.
We got a late start and only arrived at the Eibelstadt Rathaus (town hall) around 2pm. The welcome stand set up there was already being dismantled (having been set up to start at 10am) but we were reassured that the other stands would be up and running. We made our way to the second stand by heading up the hill into the vineyards.
Upon arriving, we decided to buy a bottle of wine to share between the five of us; as we learned on the wine hike in Esslingen last year, this is usually more cost effective than buying 5 or 6 individual glasses of wine. We tried a Scheurebe from Weingut Leo Sauer, a velvety and fruity white wine which we enjoyed at one of the beer benches and tables set up next to the stand. When purchasing your wine, you pay a 3 Euro Pfand (deposit) on your wine glass which you can keep throughout the walk. (If you want a clean glass at every stand, you can simply return your used glass, get your deposit back, and then purchase a new glass at the following stand). There were also snacks and meals like pretzels, steaks, and cake at each of the stands for hungry hikers.
We lingered for a while enjoying our bottle of wine (and pretzel) before hiking to the next stand. Here we all had 0,1L glasses of sparkling cherry wine cocktail from Weinbau Endres, a refreshing, fruity drink for a warm summer’s day.
The last stand was packed with people; perhaps latecomers started at this stand since it wasn’t far from the start point! The route is circular so you will end up where you started at the end of the hike. We decided to skip this stand and head home after a successful day walking and wining.
I’m happy to see that there are several wine tours in the region – I’ll definitely make a point of checking them out now that I’m a Würzburger!
Have you been on a walking wine tour? Which one is your favourite? I’m always looking to try new ones!