Bottle of Grand Cru Schoenenbourg Riesling
Bottle of Grand Cru Schoenenbourg Riesling at the window of our holiday apartment Fox and Grapes in Riquewihr. The vineyard reflecting in the glasses and the bottles is the Schoenenbourg hill itself.

A vast majority of our visitors staying in one of our vacation rental apartments in Riquewihr, Alsace are interested in wine. Some of them are winemakers from other countries, sommeliers or just winelovers but all of them are curious to learn more about the wines of Alsace. Some of them also know that on the other side of the Rhine, barely an hour drive away from Riquewihr, the German winemakers of Baden and Kaiserstuhl deserve a visit. To make it short: the Upper Rhine valley is a wonderful travel destination for winelovers.

The Alsace wine region

Grape harvesting in Riquewihr
Grape harvesting in Riquewihr, Grand Cru Schoenenbourg, Dopff Au Moulin estate.
Let’s start with Alsace as we are located in the heart of its wine region. I am very confident in saying that Alsace is one of the most beautiful wine regions of France and even Europe.

Some years ago, the Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel had picked Alsace as one of the greatest regions in the world to visit. It is very true that Alsace is one of the most beautiful and distinctive regions of France. Alsace is famous for its wine, gastronomy and wine tourism facilities.

The OLD WINERY, LUXURY HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr
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This former winery was built in 1580 and recently converted into 6 wonderful holiday apartments superbly located in one of the most beautiful villages of France. Jewel on the Alsace wine route, Riquewihr will be your headquarters to discover all the Alsace, the Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.
Click to visit our holiday apartments
Traditional wine cellar in Mittelbergheim
Traditional wine cellar in Mittelbergheim, Domaine André Dolder.

Alsace has been a pioneer in wine tourism in France with the development of the Wine Route which has, over the past 60 years, contributed to the success of Alsace wines. Famous for its exceptional natural beauty, the Wine Route leads visitors across rows of undulating, vine-covered hills, and through delightful quaint villages with narrow streets and charming flower-decked houses.

Swiss Alps in the far seen from the Alsace vineyards of Mittelwihr
Just before sunrise: the Swiss Alps in the far seen from the Alsace vineyards of Mittelwihr near Riquewihr. The church towers of Colmar in the middle.

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

Sunrise over the Black Forest seen from Riquewihr
Sunrise over the Black Forest seen from Riquewihr at the start of a grape haversting day on the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg. Domaine Marcel Deiss.

The Alsace Wine Route has become famous all over the world for its exceptional natural beauty and for the instant connection its visitors feel with the region and its growers. 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.
Riquewihr is in the very heart of the Alsace vineyards, a major milestone on the Alsace wine route.

Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill.
Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill. Domaine Marcel Deiss.

The Alsace region is famous for its production of aromatic white wines but more and more for excellent pinot noir red wines. Sheltered from western oceanic influences by the Vosges mountains, Alsace enjoys some of the lowest rainfall in France and Riquewihr is right in the middle of the driest area. It is blessed with a semi-continental climate – sunny, warm and dry, which while offering a fantastic advantage to tourists, also provides the perfect conditions for winemaking as it encourages the slow, extended ripening of the grapes, resulting in elegant, complex aromas and flavors.

The OLD WINERY, LUXURY HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr - Autumn
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This former winery was built in 1580 and recently converted into 6 wonderful holiday apartments superbly located in one of the most beautiful villages of France. Jewel on the Alsace wine route, Riquewihr will be your headquarters to discover all the Alsace, the Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.
Click to visit our holiday apartments
Church of Hunawihr in the vineyards between Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr
Church of Hunawihr in the vineyards between Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr

Within a very short radius from Riquewihr there are other famous villages with excellent wines: Zellenberg, Beblenheim and Mittelwihr are just outside Riquewihr; Ribeauvillé, Bergheim, Rodern, Saint-Hippolyte and Scherwiller are on the wine route towards the north. Sigolsheim, Kintzheim, Kaysersberg, Ammerschwihr, Niedermorschwihr, Turkheim and Eguisheim are located on a short distance south.

Historical cellar in Eguisheim
Historical cellar in Eguisheim at Domaine Emile Beyer
There is a range of wineries for all tastes and budgets, from world-class family owned estates to a number of excellent and ambitious co-operatives. Once installed in one of our holiday apartments in Riquewihr (particularly if you’re interested in several winery visits and don’t want to drive) you may choose to use the well-served system of buses or hire the services of a VTC (véhicule de tourisme avec chauffeur) for your day trips.
Beblenheim and Zellenberg vineyards
Beblenheim and Zellenberg vineyards.

Kaiserstuhl wine area in nearby Germany

The Kaiserstuhl (literally: “Emperor’s Chair”) is a range of hills in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is of volcanic origin and located in the southwest of the state in the counties of Emmendingen and Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. In terms of natural regions it is considered to be a part of the Upper Rhine Plain.

Vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl, Germany
Vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl, Germany

The Kaiserstuhl is about 15 km long. Its maximum width is about 12.5 km. When looking out of the window of our White Stork or Alsatian Hart holiday apartments in Riquewihr you have a good chance to see that hills half way to the Black Forest mountains in the background.

The volcanic rocks making up a large part of the central and western Kaiserstuhl were the result of numerous volcanic eruptions about 19 to 16 million years ago. The Kaiserstuhl is today largely covered by a Quaternary loess layer, a loosely cemented sediment. It is derived from other rocks through erosion and is then transported by the wind.

At the wine festival of Burkheim, Kaiserstuhl, Germany.
At the wine festival of Burkheim, Kaiserstuhl, Germany.

The Kaiserstuhl loess soils are used for intensive farming, as they offer good areation, high water storage capacities and good mechanical qualities. The Kaiserstuhl is one of the warmest regions in Germany. Because of its loess covered volcanic soils it is also a very good wine-producing region. The Kaiserstuhl and its surrounding area is a region of intense wine growing. Wines from the Kaiserstuhl have achieved an excellent reputation which has by now become international. The bigger part of the available area is covered with vineyards. They are either run as parts of winemaking cooperatives or property of private wineries.

At the wine festival of Burkheim, Kaiserstuhl, Germany.
At the wine festival of Burkheim, Kaiserstuhl, Germany.

It would be very time consuming to reach the wineries in the Kaiserstuhl by public transportation. Although it is not far away at all, believe it or not, there is still no direct train connection between Colmar (France) and Freiburg (Germany) 70 years after the end of WWII. A private car remains the best option. Once again, if you do not wish to drive (it is understandable and wise) when on a wine tasting excursion, the best option is to hire the services of a VTC (véhicule de tourisme avec chauffeur) for the day.

The OLD WINERY, LUXURY HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr - Winter
[ Sponsored suggestion ][ The OLD WINERY, luxury holiday accommodation facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr ]
This former winery was built in 1580 and recently converted into 6 wonderful holiday apartments superbly located in one of the most beautiful villages of France. Jewel on the Alsace wine route, Riquewihr will be your headquarters to discover all the Alsace, the Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.
Click to visit our holiday apartments
Weinfest in Breisach am Rhein, Germany.
Weinfest in Breisach am Rhein, Germany.

Hints & tips, addresses of good wine estates

I am very pleased to share with you my prefered addresses for good wines. In Alsace alone there is a thousand of winemakers. The ones I will share with you are not the only good ones. But at least I know them personnally and was able to taste and like their wines. Do not expect any classification among them or any list of any kind of “TOP xx wineries”.

Scherwiller Rittersberg Labour de la vigne avec le cheval
Scherwiller Rittersberg Labour de la vigne avec le cheval

Each wine estate is different. Different history, different terroir, different ways of making wine, different people. Different wines. How can it be possible to come out with a ranking of any kind? I am not interested in judging and evaluating wines and vintages. There are a lot of specialists out there who do that much better than I would do. I am not that much interested in a clinical type of wine tasting. Good wine is not enough. It must be made by good people. The places I will share with you are picked among my personal experiences in a very subjective way. I hope you will like them.

Medieval cellar in Riquewihr
Medieval cellar in Riquewihr. Domaine de la Tour Blanche.

The OLD WINERY, LUXURY HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr - Autumn
[ Sponsored suggestion ][ The OLD WINERY, luxury holiday accommodation facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr ]
This former winery was built in 1580 and recently converted into 6 wonderful holiday apartments superbly located in one of the most beautiful villages of France. Jewel on the Alsace wine route, Riquewihr will be your headquarters to discover all the Alsace, the Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.
Click to visit our holiday apartments