Alsace, a paradise for wines & winemakers

This article has been updated. Read the new article here …

The Alsace region is located in the North East corner of France. Situated on the Vosgian foothills, at an altitude of 200 to 400m the vineyards take maximum advantage of their exposure to the sun, particularly as the vines are trained along high wires.

The Alsace Wine Route has become famous the world over for its exceptional natural beauty, its simple course and for the instant connection its visitors feel with the region and its growers. Here we are pleased to share some of our favorite addresses with you.

Riquewihr seen from the Schoenenbourg vineyard
Riquewihr seen from the Schoenenbourg vineyard. In the middle of the picture our holiday rental property set on the medieval wall.

The Alsace Wine Route winds its way from north to south, for more than 170 kilometres (106 miles) along the eastern foothills of the Vosges. There are more than 1200 winemakers along the Alsatian Wine Route. Most of them are small family wineries.

Make a good start and learn more about Alsace wines: visit the Château de Kientzheim (near Riquewihr).

Confrérie Saint-Etienne (the Alsace Wine Society) & Wine museum
. Only 3 kilometers from Riquewihr (shortcut through the vineyards). Visiting the wine museum at the Château de Kientzheim will give you a good basis to understanding the wine industry in Alsace.

Riquewihr in Alsace, a pearl on the wine route.

Riquewihr – located in the very heart of the Alsace vineyards – is a major milestone on the Alsace wine route. Many good and even very famous winemakers are in Riquewihr and in the villages around Riquewihr.

Main street in Riquewihr, a gem out of the wine golden age in the 16th Century.
Main street in Riquewihr, a gem out of the wine golden age in the 16th Century.

Riquewihr wine is famous since the Middle Ages. Alsace famous grape varieties are Riesling, Pinot Gris (called Tokay in the past), Muscat, Gewurztraminer. All these varieties are grown in Riquewihr. You will find these wines on the labels of the bottles. There are also some other, usually cheaper, varieties like Sylvaner, Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc (all white wines). Edelzwicker is not a grape variety but a blend of several noble varieties like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat or Gewurztraminer. Each winegrower has its own recipe which may change from year to year according to the production of the moment. Also more and more excellent Pinot Noir red wines are produced in Alsace. Klevner – actually the Alsatian name for Savagnin rose – is growing more north, not in Riquewihr.

Wine tasting in Riquewihr and surroundings

In Riquewihr there are some important wineries but most of them are small family run estates. The bigger estates are running wine shops in the village where you may step in at any time during the day.

Historical cellar of Maison Zimmer in Riquewihr
Historical cellar of Maison Zimmer in Riquewihr. Open all year round. Excellent wines.

In the small family estates, the winemaker himself or wife will let you taste their wines. Unless you are a very big buyer / client, there is no need to book a long time in advance. Just phone the day before. The weather and the work in the vineyard come first anyway. This means that even if you had an appointment a long time ahead, it might not work anyway.

Our favorite winemakers in Riquewihr

Riquewihr - main street. Load of grapes from Hugel estate
Riquewihr – main street. Load of grapes from Hugel estate waiting to enter the winery’s cellar.

Dopff au Moulin : 03 89 49 09 69 – Lieu dit Au Moulin
Dopff Irion :
03 89 47 92 51 – 1 cour du Chateau
 – Shop : 03 89 47 98 96 – 26 r Général de Gaulle
Frédéric Engel
:
03 89 47 83 88 – 36 rue des Remparts
Domaine Laurence et Philippe Greiner
03 89 86 04 68
 – mobile : 06 08 10 92 61 – 16 rue des Prés
Hugel & Fils
: 03 89 47 92 15 – 3, rue 1ère Armée Française
Charles Sparr : 03 89 47 92 14 – 8 avenue Méquillet
Maison Zimmer : 03 89 47 85 01 – 42 rue du Général de Gaulle

One of the good winemakers in Zellenberg

Tempé :  03 89 47 85 22 – 16 rue Schlossberg, 68340 Zellenberg

Vineyards near Zellenberg and Riquewihr
Vineyards of Zellenberg (the village on the hill) seen from the Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr. Rhine valley and Black Forest in the background.

Our favorite winemakers in Hunawihr

Hunawihr and its famous church
Hunawihr and its famous church overlooking the vineyard Clos Sainte Hune. An easy walk of 2 km from Riquewihr.

Cave Coopérative : 03 89 73 61 67 – 48 route de Ribeauvillé
François Schwach : 03 89 73 62 15 – 28 route de Ribeauvillé

One of the best winemakers in Kientzheim

Vineyards West and South of Colmar
Vineyards West and South of Colmar. On the road from Riquewihr to Kientzheim (first village down the hill).

Domaine Schmitt & Carrer : 03 89 78 24 51 – 
7, rue Hohlandsbourg

Our favorite winemakers in Ribeauvillé

Louis Sipp : 03 89 73 60 01 – 5 Grand’Rue
Domaine Trimbach : 03 89 73 60 30 – 15, route de Bergheim
Cave coopérative Martin Zahn :  03 89 73 31 21 – 
2, route de Colmar

Ribeauvillé, a charming little city
Ribeauvillé, a charming little city near Riquewihr. It is a 4 kilometers walk through the vineyards and via Hunawihr, then back by the bus.

Walking and exploring the heart of the vineyards on the wine trails surrounding Riquewihr

Follow the path and explore the vineyards
Follow the path and explore the vineyards near Riquewihr.

Visitors can easily explore the heart of the vineyards of Riquewihr and the nearby villages like Hunawihr, Zellenberg, Beblenheim or Kientzheim. You will walk along numerous vineyard paths, or wine trails, leading to the crest of each slope, where signs explain the work of the winegrowers and the diversity of the grape varieties grown. There are no fewer than 46 of these wine trails in Alsace, winding their way through the heart of the vines and the picturesque towns.

For a two-hour walk, at most, each wine trail offers a view of the colours and flavours of Alsace, and a connection with the personalities of the growers that bring them to life. The tourist office in Riquewihr carries the detailed maps of the wine trails / paths around Riquewihr.

Practical information and links

This article has been updated. Read the new article here …

Les Remparts de Riquewihr – book one of our new luxury holiday apartments created in an old historical winery facing the vineyards in Riquewihr.

Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill
Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill facing our vacation rental property.

3 Comments »

  1. As usual the outstanding photos tug at my heart. I love Riquewihr and surrounding areas of the Alsace.
    I love the article, its informative but still conveys the feelings of a local.
    I believe I was born in the wrong country, you are very lucky people:)
    Keep up the great work.
    Helen from Australia x

  2. I must agree with Helen from Australia – I love Riquewihr and Alsace too. Your photos are lovely and inspire me to once again linger over my photos of Alsace, and think that I too must have been born in the wrong country. Hope to be back soon and enjoying fond memories in the meantime-
    Nancy from Seattle Washington

  3. We so enjoyed Riquewihr last summer and can’t wait to visit again. It is beautiful! Loved our stay!