We were inspired by the warm, sunny weather last weekend to get out and enjoy the hills around Stuttgart. Weinmanufaktur Untertürkheim was having their annual Weinwandertag (wine walk day) on May 5th this year, which also happened to be Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) and thus a public holiday (i.e. no work).
We hopped on the S-bahn to take the 15-minute ride to Obertürkheim and arrived around 13:00. Though the walk had only started at 11:00, the area was already packed, and we had no trouble finding our way to the beginning of the walk by following the sea of people in comfortable hiking shoes and day packs headed up the hill.
We came to a bit of a standstill at the first stand, and so decided to do a little off-roading and head directly up through the vineyards to reach the next one. The views from the vineyards around Stuttgart are absolutely stunning, which makes it one of my favorite walks to do in the area whether there's a wine event going on or not.
We ended up at stand #3, the Burgunder-Stand (as we discovered from the maps that they gave us). There we tried Weinmanufaktur Untertürkheim's Weißer Burgunder (pinot blanc in English), a dry, light white with hints of pear and melon. We paid our Pfand (the fee to use the glasses), picked up our glasses, and moved away from the crowds and off to the side where we sat in one of the rows of vines to nibble on the snacks that we'd brought. While the stands do sell their own food (usually grilled sausages on rolls and slices of bread with various cheeses and toppings), I preferred to bring my own assortment that day: herby Landjäger (one of my favorite German snack sausages), smelly peppercorn-crusted cheese, cornichons, olives, crackers, and red grapes (our own, not the vineyard's). We chatted, ate, drank, and enjoyed the warm weather and sun.
After satisfying our hunger, we made the journey out to stand #2, the Lemberger-Stand, where I tried a slightly heavier and much grassier Grauer Burgunder. Honestly, I wasn't paying enough attention to write down the years and names (sorry!), but trust me when I say that the flavors were pretty typical for the wine grown in this area around Stuttgart. Though I would have a hard time telling them apart from the other regional wines from Collegium Wirtemburg and Esslingen, and though I do prefer many of the wines that I've had from the Pfalz region of Germany, I will say that I'm a firm believer in drinking wine from the region of the cuisine that you're eating. And so while Stuttgart's regional wines might not be my favorites, they are the best, especially the Rieslings, when you need something to go with your Schnitzel or Käsespätzle.
As we walked the trails, I was struck by just how crowded the event was. There were so many people at the stands that groups had spread out on the trail and set up their own little picnics with bottles of wine to avoid the push-and-shove in front of the counters. In fact, the second stand ran out of wine while we were there! I don't think the distributers expected to see quite such a large turnout. Luckily, they were soon restocked by a few very flustered workers who had to drive up the hill with fresh cases of bottles.
At this point, we decided to skip stand #1, the Trollinger-Stand, and stand #4, the Riesling-Stand, and headed back down the hill to the slightly less crowded Kelter Obertürkheim. Had we made it to each of the four stands and got our maps stamped, we could have enjoyed a free glass at the Kelter. Instead, we decided to sit down with a bottle of Blanc de Blancs Secco and sip a little bubbly in the shade before getting back our glass Pfand and heading home.
Though this walk was definitely busier than the one I did in Uhlbach last year, I enjoyed the opportunity to get out and enjoy some wine with my hike. If you're interested in doing one, then check out the Weinwanderung am Götzenberg on June 11th (the one I did last year). I highly recommend bringing your own snacks and some water, and don't forget the sunscreen!
Have you ever done a wine walk in Germany? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below.