Travel Along the German Wine Route
Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History
Vineyard near Gimmeldingen
[ source: Wikipedia]
The German Wine Route or Wine Road (German: Deutsche Weinstraße) is the oldest of Germany's tourist wine routes. Located in the Palatinate region of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Wine Route was established in 1935.
A number of tourist routes (Touristenstraßen) were established along existing roads in the 1930s as an economical way to promote tourism. The German Wine Route was officially opened on 19 October 1935. Existing local roads along the route were renamed to incorporate
Weinstraße into their names and local municipalities were permitted to add
an der Weinstraße to their names.
In order to travel the German Wine Route, start at the German Wine Gate (Deutsches Weintor) Schweigen-Rechtenbach (Schweigen-Rechtenbach vacation rentals | Schweigen-Rechtenbach travel guide) on the Franco-German frontier adjacent to Wissembourg in France
Currently, the route traverses the Palatinate wine region (Pfalz, formerly Rheinpfalz) which lies in the lee of the Haardt Mountains, an area known as Anterior Palatinate (Vorderpfalz). The climate of the region is the warmest in Germany and is often described as Mediterranean allowing the cultivation of crops such as figs, lemons, and kiwifruit not seen elsewhere in Germany.
The German Wine Gate (Deutsches Weintor) in Schweigen-Rechtenbach on the French border adjacent to Wissembourg (Weißenburg) marks the start of the route. Built in 1936, the gate is an imposing ceremonial gatehouse made of sandstone.
To travel the German Wine Route, turn northward, beside the path of Bundesstraßen B 38 and B 271 for 85km, passing through towns like Bad Bergzabern (Bad Bergzabern vacation rentals | Bad Bergzabern travel guide), Edenkoben (Edenkoben vacation rentals | Edenkoben travel guide), Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Deidesheim (Deidesheim vacation rentals | Deidesheim travel guide), Bad Dürkheim (Bad Dürkheim vacation rentals | Bad Dürkheim travel guide) and Grünstadt (Grünstadt vacation rentals | Grünstadt travel guide). It ends at the house of the German Wine Route in Bockenheim.
The route is marked by a yellow sign with stylized bunch of ten grapes and the name of the route.
The region around the route has come to be known as the Weinstraße (Wine Route) region and the administrative district (Kreis) of Südliche Weinstraße (literally,
Southern Wine Route) takes its name from the route.
With a sunshine duration of over 1800 hours in the year the area around the German Wine Route is the warmest region in Germany, allowing the cultivation of crops such as figs, lemons, and kiwifruit not seen elsewhere in Germany. If you travel along the German Wine Route, you will also notice that this region is famous for its almond blossoms, painting the whole area in pink and white colors around beginning of March.
The characteristic plant for this region is the vine, almost exclusively covering the landscape. Imported in roman times vine has ideal growing conditions: Warm climate, minimum condensation due to the protective Palatinate Forest in the west, attenuation of frost in the autumn due to the hillside location that benefits the outflow of cold air masses.
The German Wine Route is marked by numerous open-air wine festivals, held annually from March to October, that make it a major tourist attraction. The largest wine fest worldwide with more than 600,000 visitors each year is the Wurstmarkt in front of the world's largest wine barrel in Bad Dürkheim in September. Other important wine festivals are the German Wine Harvesting Festival (Deutsches Weinlesefest) in Neustadt an der Weinstraße where the German Wine Queen is selected in October, the festival in Freinsheim (Freinsheim vacation rentals | Freinsheim travel guide) (Stadtmauerfest in July), and in Deidesheim (Deidesheimer Weinkerwe in August). The first wine fest on the wine route is the Mandelblütenfest (Almond Blossom Festival) in Gimmeldingen (Gimmeldingen vacation rentals | Gimmeldingen travel guide) held in March depending on the start of the flowering.
On the last Sunday in August, the route is closed to motorized traffic for German Wine Route Day (Erlebnistag Deutsche Weinstraße) with many wineries and Straußwirtschaften open air (seasonal wine bars) open to the hundreds of thousands of hikers, cyclers and inline skaters who visit this festival.
Unlike with festivals in other German wine regions, wine is served in 50cl glasses rather than the typical 25cl ones. They are of a special shape specific to the Palatinate wine region and are known as the Dubbeglas, widening from bottom to top and featuring indentations or large dimples (Dubbe) that give the glass its name. The dimples are especially useful when socializing starts and the hold is affected by the wine. The undimpled half-litre Schoppenglas is also frequently seen along the route.
[ source: Wikipedia ]
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