The German Wine Road - Introduction:
The German wine road in Rhineland Palatinate is the country’s oldest scenic drive; starting in the town of Bockenheim in the southwest of Germany, the 50 miles long wine road leads you through Germany’s second largest wine growing region all the way to the French border.
Snaking through vineyards, wine villages and the hills of the Palatinate Forest, you’ll get a great taste of the region’s 1000-year old viniculture; along the way, you can stop in wine shops, tasting rooms, and visit local wine festivals.
The German Wine Road - Towns and Villages:
One of the most charming parts of the German wine road are the quaint old towns and villages you will pass on your drive; take your time to explore their historic market squares, old world restaurants and narrow cobble stone streets. Soak up some local flavor at open-air farmer’s markets and wine festivals, which are celebrated throughout late spring, summer, and fall.
The German Wine Road - Climate and History:
The Palatinate wine region is blessed with a mild, Mediterranean climate; thanks to its abundance of sunny days, exotic fruits like figs, lemons, and kiwis are cultivated here – a rarity for Germany.
In spring, the Palatinate countryside is ablaze with the pink and white colors of thousands of blossoming almond trees.
A drive along the German wine road is also a trip back in time. Alongside medieval castles, half timbered houses, and century old abbeys, you'll find traces of even earlier epochs.
Vines have been imported to Palatinate in Roman times, and ruins of Roman wine cellars and old taverns are vivid reminders of that legacy.
German Wine Road - Highlights:
Hambacher Castle – the cradle of German democracy; the castle was the venue of the Hambacher Fest, a German national democratic festival celebrated in 1832
Deidesheim – the historic Town Hall houses an interesting wine museum
Rietcastle - Take a cable car up to the Rietcastle, where you can enjoy sweeping views of the wine region (close to Edenkoben)
The 300-year old vineyard Traminer, the oldest vineyard in Europe still in use
German Wine Road - Travel Tips:
Every last Sunday in August, the wine route is closed for traffic and only open to walkers, hikers, bikers, and inline skaters who visit the seasonal open-air wine bars along the way.
Many wineries offer bed and breakfast; look out for the signs that say Zimmer frei ("vacancy")
You’ll see many small stalls at the side of the road selling wine, flowers, and local produce. Make sure to stop and sample some goodies.
Not-to-miss culinary treat: Zwiebelkuchen – a savory onion tart, and a glass of Federweisser, a fruity white wine that is still fermenting.
German Wine Road - Getting Started:
- Start your drive in Bockenheim, which is famous for its regional literature contests
- Follow the yellow signposts that say “Deutsche Weinstrasse”.
- Bockenheim is 62 miles south of Frankfurt
- The German Wine Road is 50 miles long and passes through the towns of Gruenstadt, Bad Duerkheim, Deidesheim, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Edenkoben, Bad Bergzabern, and many small villages.
- Follow the almond path, the chestnut hike, or the Wine trail - biking and hiking along the German Wine Road
- End point: Schweigen, close to the French border; you can also continue your drive along the Alsace wine route in France.
- See a map of the German Wine Road