Red wine trail
Dreamily bends the river Ahr through a bizarre rocky landscape, the wine hills cuddle on the paltry rocks. It’s hard to believe, but true: we almost have Mediterranean climate here, which provides best conditions for the grapes. During the day, the warm air lingers in the vineyards. Rocks, slate and stone walls take on heat and release it during the night – the grapes get spoiled with warmth day and night. The first settlers in the area, the Romans at Caesars time, already knew about this and started to grow wine on the steep hills – this is what the people in the valley do till today.
Wine tour Ahr valley
Another reason for the top quality of the ahr wine is the knowledge of the wine maker. They know about the special conditions in this valley, have to do almost everything manual – the vineyards are just too steep to use machines. They use techniques like restrictive cuts (quality instead of quantity) in the vineyard and small barrique barrels in the cellar to underline the asset of their grapes. The combination of a very unique climate and landscape, careful work in the vineyard and special knowledge in the cellar created the very own handwriting of the Ahr wine. The most famous grape in the valley is the pino noir, you can name him confidently the “king” of grapes, it’s the most classy red wine in Germany, velvety-fervent in taste, with a powerful character. This grape needs time in the first place, the harvest starts late in the year and the wine maker always runs the risk of bad weather and loosing the harvest.
Hiking the red wine trail from Ahrweiler to Altenahr
Romantic valley Ahr
Think about a bending river in a narrow valley, steep river banks, covered with wine grapes, small truss villages every now and then. Lets say it´s a sunny day in October and the leaves are yellow and red, morning fog develops to a sunny day and you hike the trail which connects the vineyards. Wouldn´t it be great to have a break, get some wine and cheese like the workers and rest in one of the villages on the way for the night? Dinner takes place in historic german Restaurants and includes the different types of wine you passed during the day. The dishes match the wine, you might get Eifel lamb saddle, cooked in herb crust, paired with late burgundy or another special dish of the area, pea-soup with fried blood sausage paired with Dornfelder. It´s like being in a time machine, life slows down, you might think the last 100 years didn´t happen.
Foodie valley Ahr
For this tour you should calculate 2 days, bring comfotable shoes so that you can stroll parts of the Red Wine Trail. You will need a car for this tour.
Hotel Ahr valley
Bachstraße 26, 53507 Dernau phone 02643/1540
Traditional winery, producing medal winning Riesling, guestrooms and restaurant with upscale local cuisine
Am Silberberg 50, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler phone 02641 9730
Looks like a castle and overlooks the valley, rooms and restaurant are sunny all day long, perfect base for hiking the red wine trail. Fine dining restaurant, specialized on game
or, if you prefer to stay in a private holiday home
Das Bienenhaus Lainsteinerstraße 34, 56736 Kottenheim
01512 2990303 www.rotes-bienenhaus.de (ca 30 min by car from Ahrbrück/Altenahr)
The hotels are located in the middle of the valley, so you can hike, bike or drive in both directions. The close by town Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler with its historic center is nice for a stroll on your arrival day, for dinner you have several options.
Next morning you follow the signs direction Altenahr. The road follows the river and is seamed with steep vineyards, you pass the wine villages Dernau, Rech and Mayschoss before you get to Altenahr, the best spot to enter the Red Wine Trail. You can park your car at the train station and follow the signs with the red grape onhill to the ruins of the castle Are. From there the trail stays at the same level and offers great views over the valley while you walk through the vineyard. Walk as long as you wish, every village is connected to the trail and has a train station, the train runs every hour and will take you back to the car. Many places offer wine tastings and local food, here are my favourites:
Restaurant Ahr valley
Restaurant: Kloster Marienthal, Klosterstraße 3, 53507 Dernau, phone 02641 98060 www.weingut-kloster-marienthal.de
Right beside the ruin of the monastery Marienthal, you find the winery with a typical german wine pub (Weinstube). The menu offers snacks and full meals, paired with their own wine. There is a path from the terrace that leads you directly to the Red Wine Trail.
Wine tasting: Dagernova Vinothek Dernau, Ahrweg 7
You can drop in and taste, it`s a cooperative, so you can taste the wine of several winemakers. The foodie shop also sells mustard from Monschau and other local specialties
Restaurant: Schaarschmidt, Marienthaler Straße 19
53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
phone 02641 9148227 http://schaarschmidt-ahr.de
The outdoor sitting area is tucked between the house and the river, surrounded by green trees – a place of tranquillity. You can sit there for hours, having nice conversations or just listening to the river and the wind in the leaves, nipping at your wine and having another course of the menu. If you like fish, the Ahr trout is delicious!
Wine tasting: Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss,
Ahr-Rotweinstraße 42, 53508 Mayschoß phone 02643 93600 http://wg-mayschoss.de
It´s the oldest wine-cooperation in the world, you can drop in and taste their wine, obvisiously with the intention to make you buy some bottles. Every hour you get a free cellar visit, not to miss!
Foodie map Ahr valley
Places close by and worth to discover if you have time:
Star restaurant Steinheuer
Heppingen, Landskroner Straße 110
53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
phone: 0 26 41/9 48 60
still working romanesque monastery from the 11th century at the lake, restaurant and hotel, Maria Laach, 56653 Glees www.maria–laach.de/
small local brewery with pub and beergarden
Laacher-See-Straße 2, 56743 Mendig phone 02652 520390