- The Hamburger Fischmarkt – a travelling fish market from Hamburg boasting northern seafood specialties
- SommerFestival der Kulturen – a music, dance and open-air party in the city centre
- Das Bohnenviertelfest – a street festival in the old “bean quarter” of Stuttgart, which is home to secondhand bookstores, antique shops, art galleries and quirky restaurants
- Weinwanderungen – walking wine tours hosted by local vineyards
I only just learned about Weinwanderungen after reading a great post from one of my new favourite Stuttgart expat blogs, “Traveling Hopefully“. After learning that several walking wine tours take place in Baden-Württemberg (as well as other German states such as Bavaria, Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz and Sachsen-Anhalt), I immediately looked into future Weinwanderungen in the area. As luck would have it, I found one coming up this weekend in Untertürkheim, a neighbourhood in west Stuttgart.
S and I came prepared for our walk in workout clothes (we didn’t really know how strenuous this hike was going to be!), slathered in SPF 60 (a mandated requirement due to my sun phobia and S’s wicked sunburn from Thursday still glowing with a tinge of pink), and schlepping water, snacks and cash to purchase wine samples.
The first stand of 5 total along the route was situated only about 100m from the start of the walk. Bustling with people, I thought this was the place to begin our wine education for the day, but S preferred to keep walking to the second stand to get a bit of distance behind us. Up and around the corner we went as I snapped a few shots of the gorgeous vines.
The third stand was not far from the second stand but had minimal seating available so we decided to carry on to the fourth stand. Along the way, we saw a sign for a shortcut up along the rows of vines. Since it looked like the trail was a rather roundabout way to the next stand, we opted for the shortcut. Those 138 steps were steep! My glutes will thank me later.
As all the seating was taken around the stand, we sat between some rows of vines and enjoyed our wine and snacks from home instead of the food on offer alongside the wines. Items included Maultaschen (a kind of large Swabian ravioli in broth), Schnitzel, Currywurst, crêpes, fruit-topped cakes and more.
On our way to the final stand at the top of the hill, we came across another shortcut. We spied some hikers sitting on the seats at the top of the steps, so we walked up the adjacent row of vines. Fortunately this shortcut was not too steep so we made it up without any collapsed lungs.
The final stand was by far my favourite; it had the most wines on offer and had lovely shade-covered seating between the rows of vines. S pointed out how much noisier it was at the end of the tour than at the beginning – people we laughing, chattering and savouring the vineyards’ best on a beautiful summer day. At one point I heard “La Cucaracha” and thought the party was really getting started, but S assured me that it was just someone’s ring tone. We enjoyed a Secco Perlwein (sparkling white wine) and a Sommertraum (Perlwein topped off with red grape juice).
It became obvious along the way that the locals were no strangers to the Weinwanderung; many brought along necklace contraptions that could support a wine glass around the neck! At each stand, you pay a 2 Euro Pfand (deposit) for your wine glass which you get back when you return your glass. You’re welcome to keep your glass along the walk to reuse or exchange at each stand, or you can return your glass to get your deposit back at each stand and pay another deposit for a new glass each time.
We read beforehand that the walk does not end at the starting point so we made our way back along the trail the way we came (though we read that the end point is not too far from the starting point and is near public transportation). We passed the same stands on the way back, though they were decidedly less busy than they were on our way up. I guess everyone was congregating at the top of the hill at the busiest stand!
I would definitely recommend going on a walking wine tour if you have the opportunity. It’s a great way to spend a summer or fall afternoon and sample some of Germany’s local wines. You can check out the (German) Weinwanderung site to learn more about upcoming wine walking tours in your area.