Wine and food tour Franconia
Officially Franconia belongs to Bavaria, but that’s something you shouldn’t speak out loud while you’re there – Franconian’s would prefer to be on their own, even historically it’s another tribe than the Bavarians. Even though the province splits up in the beer area (Nuremberg, Bamberg, Coburg) and the wine area along the river Main (Würzburg, Volkach) all Franconian have something in common: they are very much into food. Franconian in general make the effort to buy their daily supplies still at the local bakery, the butcher shop and the farmers market instead of going to the supermarket, so traditional working food producer could survive and still are a part of daily life, find authentic foodie places in my foodie map Franconia below.
Best way to start a wine tour in Franconia is Würzburg at the river Main, the historic bishop’s seat and heart of wine Franconia. The characteristic of a high quality Franconia wine is the shape of the bottle, the Bocksbeutel. Legend tells it was invented by monks, who weren’t allowed to drink wine during the period of fasting: they created the flat and short bottle shape to make it fit into their monk’s habit pocket, just to have a sip while they were working outside. However, today the traditional Bocksbeutel shape makes it easy for you to recognize a high quality Franconian wine – the bottling costs are higher compared to a regular one, wine makers use it only for their best products. The reason why the Bocksbeutel wine is widely unknown abroad relays to the fact, that Franconian love their wine so much – they drink almost the whole production themselves, only a few bottles make it abroad.
Historic stone bridge of Würzburg – Alte Mainbrücke
Meet me at the bridge is a common appointment in Würzburg – locals love to end their working day on the historic bridge with a glass of wine. The bridge, build in the 15th century and seamed with stone sculptures, crosses the river Main and provides wonderful views at castle Marienburg, the surrounding vineyards and the historic center. Since it’s pedestrian zone, people gather, drink wine and chat, you find all age groups and professions – watching the people at the bridge will give you a good insight into the Franconian mentality. More about Würzburg and Franconia
Sommerhausen wine village
The historic center, build in the 15th century, is still surrounded by the town wall, you enter the village through one of the city gates. In former times without engines, the boats on the river Main used to be drawn by horses, which run on a path along the river, in German this is called Treidel. In this tradition you will find many restaurants and beer garden along the river, called Treidelstube – in these locations, horses and people would rest. Whereas the Treidelstube traditionally is a more rustic setting, you find the high quality restaurants around the town hall and market place. Sommerhausen is the birthplace of the Germantown founder Franz Daniel Pastorius, the first German settler in the USA. The center is easy walkable, but please put on comfortable shoes, the streets are made of cobblestone!
Wine route along the river Main
From Sommerhausen you can follow the river Main and stop in every village if you want – they are all picturesque, have a historic town wall and a center with town hall, church and market place. On your walk through the villages you will find wineries and signs with opening times, usually you can taste the wine and buy some bottles. Almost all wineries are family run, so the opening hours differ widely. Don’t use your navigator, it will always try to take you on the highway – you want to follow the river and take the small roads. Starting in Sommerhausen your first stop could be Sulzfeld, from there to Kitzingen, Dettelbach, Sommerach, Escherndorf, Vogelsburg (great view) and Volkach – they are all romantic wine villages with wineries and local food, you find recommendations on the foodie map below.
Wine celebrations and Heckenwirtschaft in Franconia
If you happen to travel in summer or early fall, you will find Weinfeste (wine celebrations) along the route, usually on weekends, have a look at the festival calendar www.fraenkischer-weinfestkalender.de/termine/. The festival is accompanied with typical food and wine, live music is played in the evening and people of all age groups chat, drink and dance. Don’t be shy, mingle with the locals and ask for local wine! If there is no wine celebration in the area while you travel Franconia, you should look out for a Heckenwirtschaft, which is a rustic wine bar at the local winery. By law wineries in Franconia are allowed to open their doors to sell wine to the public for some weeks every year. They mark this time with a green branch at the door, so that people know the winery is open, here you find whether there is a place close to you www.frankenwein-aktuell.de
Foodie map Franconia
Foodie iternery Franconia
Würzburg is quite easy to reach, it takes you 2 hours by train or car from Munich center or airport. From Würzburg you need a car to get around, the small villages and wineries are not easy to reach with public transport. From Würzburg you go to Sommerhausen and then take the small road along the river Main which leads you to the wine villages Sulzfeld, Dettelbach, Sommerach, Escherndorf, Vogelsburg and Volkach. Since the streets in the villages are small, you should leave your car outside the town wall, the parking lots are marked. The complete wine and food iternery from Würzburg to Volkach has only 60 km, so take your time and stop frequently!