The Alsace wine route is one of the oldest, and arguably the most famous, wine routes in France – where wine tourism is a tradition that has long existed in the region.
Officially established as a tourist trail in 1953, the Alsace wine route stretches a total of 170km as it meanders from north to south through the sloping valleys beneath the foothills of the Vosges. Crossing an entire wine region from Marlenheim to Thann, the route passes more than 70 of the most idyllic villages in France – characterized by colourful Alsatian half-timbered houses, medieval chateaux, flowery lanes and rolling vineyards to create a paradise for wine enthusiasts.
Villages including Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Turckheim and Eguisheim are among the most popular and picturesque places to sample the characteristic wines produced in the Alsace region, which include reisling, gewürztraminer, sylvaner and pinot noir. Every village high street is lined with wine cellars offering tastings, and there are few parts of France where wine lovers will receive such a warm welcome. The Alsace wine route covers five distinct regions that carry (or are in the process of being awarded) the ‘Vignobles et Découvertes’ – the national wine tourism label in France. These are:
Pays de Wissembourg
The northern section around Wissembourg and Cleebourg is isolated from the main route, but wine enthusiasts willing to take a detour will be rewarded with a picturesque region that lays claim to the well-preserved traditions of Alsace wine making.
Vignoble de Strasbourg
The northern entrance to the Alsace wine route can be found a few kilometres from the region’s capital and stretches from Marlenheim to Molsheim. Wine tourists can marvel at the magnificent views of the Couronne d’Or and Piémont regions and discover the rich heritage of the Carthusian Monastery of Molsheim and the village of Obernai.
Situated between Strasbourg and Colmar, Cœur d’Alsace features beautiful landscapes of forests and hills scattered with charming towns and villages such as Mittelbergheim, which has been rated as ‘the most beautiful village in France’. The region also plays host to a range of unique festivals, including traditional wine celebrations linked with Alsatian folklore groups.
Colmar, the capital of Alsace wines, settles between the borders of Germany and Switzerland to reveal a unique destination where protected natural scenery intermingles effortlessly with yet more stunning medieval towns and villages. Colmar itself is renowned for the magnificent Issenheim Altarpiece, a masterpiece that dates back over 500 years.
The southern section of the Alsace wine route between Thann and Orschwihr is more challenging for wine tourists since vineyards here are mostly found on steep slopes that often require grape harvesters to rope up. However, what this high living does offer is sensational views – while towns such as Cernay, Guebwiller and Wuenheim are steeped in cultural heritage.
At Wine Paths, our passionate local experts can organise exclusive full day tours of the best of the Alsace wine route, as well as a program that takes you to the impressive Haut-Koenigsbourg castle .
A consequence of the historical beauty and diversity that Alsace offers is an attraction shared by an ever-increasing number of tourists, especially during the summer season – where each village celebrates with its own harvest festival. During this time, folklore entertainment, processions and wine tastings take place throughout the day, and even at night, as part of a vibrant atmosphere.
Our local travel expert can design an exclusive Alsace wine tour that is tailor-made to your own requirements while avoiding the typical tourist traps. Contact them today and discover all the wonders the Alsace wine route has to offer.
Source: Alsace Wine Route.com
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