Discover Quaint Medieval Towns and Delightful Wines Along the Scenic Route des Vins d’Alsace in France
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience France’s rich history, culture, and wine, look no further than the Alsace Wine Route. Spanning over 170 km/105 miles from Thann to Marlenheim, this picturesque wine trail winds through the beautiful countryside of Alsace, taking visitors through charming towns and rolling vineyards.
Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the region’s most acclaimed wines, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris, and explore the rich cultural heritage of the area, with its impressive Gothic churches, well-preserved half-timbered houses, and medieval art.
So get your glass ready and join us on a journey through the Alsace Wine Route, where history, culture, and wine converge for an unforgettable experience.
Here are some of the towns you can visit on the Alsace Wine Route:
- Thann: This town is located at the southernmost end of the Alsace Wine Route and is famous for its Gothic church, the Collégiale Saint-Thiébaut. Thann is also known for its vineyards, which produce some of the region’s finest Riesling and Pinot Gris wines.
- Guebwiller: This town is located at the foot of the Vosges mountains and is home to the impressive Notre Dame de Guebwiller church and the Dominicains de Haute-Alsace cultural center. The vineyards in Guebwiller produce high-quality Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris wines.
- Riquewihr: This picturesque medieval town is one of the most popular stops on the Alsace Wine Route. Known for its well-preserved half-timbered houses and narrow cobblestone streets, Riquewihr is also home to several excellent wineries that produce some of the region’s most sought-after wines.
- Colmar: This vibrant town is known for its beautiful architecture, including the Maison des Têtes and the Unterlinden Museum, home to an impressive collection of medieval art. Colmar is also a great place to sample some of the region’s finest wines, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat.
- Kaysersberg: This charming town is located on the banks of the Weiss River and is known for its picturesque setting and well-preserved medieval architecture. Kaysersberg is also home to some of the region’s most prestigious wineries, including Domaine Weinbach and Jean Baptiste Adam.
- Obernai: This town is located at the northern end of the Alsace Wine Route and is known for its impressive Gothic church, the Eglise Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, and its charming half-timbered houses. The vineyards around Obernai produce some of the region’s most acclaimed Pinot Blanc and Riesling wines.
The towns along the Alsace Wine Route are great because they offer a unique blend of history and gastronomy, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Alsace countryside.
Whether you’re a wine lover or simply looking to explore a new part of France, the Alsace Wine Route is worth a visit.
Did you know?
The Alsace Wine Route was designed as something other than a tourist attraction at first. It was established in 1953 to promote Alsace’s local wines and support the region’s struggling wine industry.
In the 1970s and 80s, the route became a popular tourist destination, with visitors flocking to the area to explore the picturesque villages, sample the wines, and experience the unique culture of Alsace.
Today, the Alsace Wine Route is one of the most famous wine routes in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year.
A little history:
The Alsace region has a long and rich history of winemaking that dates back to the Roman Empire, when the Romans were the first to introduce grape cultivation and winemaking to the area.
By the Middle Ages, the wines of Alsace had gained a reputation as some of the finest in Europe. The region’s strategic location on the Rhine River made it a key center of trade and commerce, and merchants and nobles highly prized its wines throughout the region.
In the 1600s, the Tokay grape was introduced to the area, which eventually became known as the Gewürztraminer grape, and became one of the region’s most essential and distinctive varieties.
Despite its long history of winemaking, the Alsace wine industry faced a significant crisis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to phylloxera. This devastating vine disease nearly wiped out the region’s vineyards.
Despite its long and storied history, the Alsace wine industry remains innovative and forward-thinking, with winemakers constantly experimenting with new grape varieties and techniques to create unique and exciting wines for the modern palate.