I really like those Wine Experience Guides. You just cannot help but fall for their sense of humour, wit & knowledge. More than a 100 are working on conveying unique wine experiences in the wine districts around the city of Heilbronn, with four of them being “ours” for the days we spent exploring this area. “The wine called Du & Ich is especially popular with newly-weds.” – “Now, let’s just head into the Wengerter vineyard hut.” – “Here, you can enter your coordinates … each treasure you find will lead you on to another.” – “The Rollender Trollinger is especially popular with tour groups.”
Wengerter hut? Treasure chest? Rollender Trollinger? Do not worry, I had to equally give this a thought or two despite German being my mother tongue. Wengerter = Winemaker; treasure chest (using a GPS to locate wine treasures!) okay, but “Rollender Trollinger”?! What is this? Well then. Let’s hear! Let me introduce you to my kind of wine experience guide in the southern red wine district of Germany!
Wine Experience No. 1: Culinary Wine Tasting with Claudia Steinbrenner at the Wine Hotel Rappenhof
Arrive to enjoy is the first thing that comes to my mind when remembering the Wine Hotel Rappenhof. Sascha Schmidt and his aunt Elisabeth Wurster are in charge of this beautiful house that sits atop a wine terraced hill, offering many vantage points across the surrounding landscape. They are excellent hosts, very knowledgeable about wine and lovers of great (organic) food: No wonder we have come to do a culinary wine tasting here. Claudia Steinbrenner is our first so-called “wine experience guide”: “Certified wine guide for the Weinsberg valley and Heilbronn – come, experience and explore,” is what her card reads. Well, this is just what we have come to do enjoying the company of our hosts over four different wine courses as part of our opening gourmet experience. Nice!
Wine Experience No. 2: Hiking with Torches / Night-time Tour De Vin with Nicole Koppenhöfer
Nicole Koppenhöfer, I think, must have had a love affair with wine before everything else. “I only became a wine lover after marrying my husband, a wine grower himself”, she laughs while sharing her profound wine knowledge with us. She simply does not tire to tell us all there is to know about wine & (hi)stories here, despite the late hour of this night-time tour. We meet her on top of a hill overlooking her home town Löwenstein, one of the highest vineyard sites in the Heilbronn wine growing district. As part of our night-time tour de vin experience, we are all handed individual torches as well as practical pouches to store our tasting glasses during the walk. “So you can take pictures, use your hands and still hold on to your torches while carrying your wine glass”, she smiles. If you get hungry, Nicole has fresh, home-made bakery to offer and even takes us to her very own vineyard hut, called Wengerter in the local dialect. Quite an experience: Thank you for an unforgettable night, Nicole!
Wine Expereince No. 3: “Trollinger Tracker” GPS treasure hunt with Saskia Wörthwein
“The GPS has no touch screen, after all I do not want you to become too spoiled from using your Smartphone. Or shall we say: Just make the extra effort here, please!” our third certified “wine experience guide” Saskia laughs while trying to maintain a stern look and giving orders to a bunch of grown-up kids. Are we paying attention to her explanations of the “Trollinger Tracker treasure hunt” through the vineyards of Michaelsberg in the wine district Zabergäu? Four of us there are, with two GPS trackers trying to find the Trollinger wine treasure. Like kids, but the reward is wine for the grown-ups, hehe. It does not only come as a reward at the end, though – such is the look over the land, the sweet tasting of the grapes and the good company we form that we shall never quite forget this treasure hunting trip. 😀
Wine Experience No. 4: “Rollender Trollinger” Mobile Wine Tasting with Regine Sommerfeld
First, I open one eye, then the second. Waggling both ears. Checking my watch: Oh dear. It is 09.25 in the morning. In front of me, two large tractors with carriages full of happy, singing “golden girls & boys”! Am I right here??, I am thinking while having to smile over the letters of “Der Rollende Trollinger” mobile wine tasting. And I must say, after one or two of those trips right through the vineyards, we are friends with everyone around us. Regine Sommerfeld, our final wine experience guide, comments with happiness and heartfelt emotions about “her wine” in this land. She clearly knows a story or two about the local wine growers and their wines such as Lemberger or Trollinger grape varieties. Go check it out – in one of the large vineyard vintage tractors!
Disclaimer: Thank you so much to Heilbronner Land and especially Tanja Seegelke for the excellent support and advice on this wine trip to Southern Germany. All opinions are my own.