A couple of weeks ago we headed off to the Ahr Valley for the weekend. The weather forecast was not scintillating but the Sunday turned out better than expected. We were happy about this as a walk amongst the impressive vineyards was on the cards. In fact, as we made our way up the picturesque trail, we all agreed that the clouds partially masking the sun and a temperature in the low twenties was just perfect.
The Ahr region is one of the most famous red wine producing spots in Germany, with a strong emphasis on the Spätburgunder variety. The first vine stocks were planted by the Romans, with the vineyards now covering 520 hectares. It is by far not the biggest wine making area and the steepness of the slopes means that looking after and harvesting the grapes is hard work. The result is however high quality and often award-winning wines.
The Red Wine Trail, which opened in 1972, is 35 km long and connects the numerous wine villages. There are several itineraries available, all offering fantastic sights. As we stood at the top of a hill crowned with the remains of a fortified castle, we were blessed with breathtaking views of the green vine leaves and the silver Ahr River shimmering on its way to the Rhine.
A plethora of wine festivals are organised every year starting in May through to October. You can choose from historical ones with a medieval flair to more traditional versions. The crowning of the “Wine Queen” or the nighttime harvest, with 10’000 lights shining in the darkness, are extremely popular. Often the festival ends with a magnificent fireworks display.
Needless to say there are plenty of wine tasting opportunities and many delightful places where to enjoy the specialties of the region. And this is exactly how we ended up our lovely afternoon wander!