9-day wine tasting adventure across Austria, Germany, (Switzerland), and Alsace France
(Photos from this trip are located here )
When contacted in late 2021 by the lovely owners of Alchemy Wine Bar, located in Hamburg, NY, with the request to organize a wine tour in Europe for the members of their wine club, I jumped at the opportunity! And what fun it was to combine so many of my favorite things into one trip – travel, Europe, wine, and a super-fun group of people! The only hesitation I had was the desired route through Austria and Germany. Not because I don’t like those countries, but because I don’t know them the way I know France, Italy, and Switzerland, and German is not one of the languages I speak (Italian, French, and some Spanish). So, after doing lots of route-mapping, networking, and research I ended up collaborating with local guide, Kevin, on a fantastic adventure, we customized to my VIP group.
Overview of the route: the wine-tasting and castle-visit tour kicked off in Austria and included Vienna, the Austrian regions of Bergenland and Wacau, and Salzburg. Our adventure continued into Switzerland (Neuhausen am Rheinfall), Germany (Schwangau, Black Forest, Mosel region), and the Alsace region of France (Colmar to Strasbourg).
Austria: Our first 2 days allowed us to experience some group bonding with explorations of the beautiful city of Vienna and surrounding area including Belevedere Palace and Schloss Schönbrunn, plus the Bergenland with a visit to Forchtenstein Castle. Ask any of the participants on our tour about the highly anticipated “treasure chamber”, which made a memorable impression on everyone. Both days, we had the opportunity to fight off the jet lag with some wine tasting at local wine producers as well as meals at traditional wine taverns (“heurigers”).
Our visit to Salzburg took us on a walk through Mirabelgarden (for some Sound of Music photo ops!), eventually leading us to the biggest and one of the oldest biergartens in Austria (Augustiner Braustubl, founded in 1621) where we saw the traditional method of tapping a keg (and, of course, sampled some of the brew).
Switzerland: We were in Switzerland for a very quick visit, basically long enough for a souvenir stop at Rhine Falls. But what an impressive little stop it was! Rhine Falls is located in the High Rhine in Northern Switzerland and is the most powerful waterfall in Europe!
Germany – Part 1: Based on the path of our journey, our foray into Germany took place in two separate segments, a bit before and a bit after our visit in France. The destination for our first entry into Germany was to the town of Schwangau for a visit to the incredible, fairytalelike, Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the famous castle that inspired Disney’s magical iconic version. Additional exploration of Germany included a scenic drive straight through the heart of the southern Black Forest, stopping for a lakeside lunch and tasting, with views of those beautiful mountains.
France: Our tour’s route took us in and out of France and Germany. Our scenic drive from the Black Forest in Germany led us down the Rhine River valley and into the picturesque Alsace region of France, with Colmar as our first stop and base for our visit. You can’t help but love Colmar, with its adorable old town and cobblestone streets lined with Renaissance era buildings! Adding to the charm of this town is its self-designation as the “capital of Alsatian wine”. Here, you can’t walk more than a few feet without stumbling upon opportunities to taste some of the local wines. We explored Colmar and also a few of the towns along the Alsace Wine Trail ending with a fantastic and educational guided tour of Strasbourg, a town that has such strong German and French influence resulting from its history and location on the border of the two countries.
Germany – Part 2: Our second segment in Germany included the Mosel region and German Wine Trail. This is Germany’s most famous wine region, best known for its Rieslings. We had the opportunity to experience an in-depth pairing and tasting at one of the famous wine cellars, which provided a great education on the local viticulture! As a final treat during our visit in Germany, we explored some of the charming towns and castles along the Rhine.
This was such a fun tour (that even provided some great education on viticulture), with a fantastic group of people! Please make sure to check out some of the images from this trip (as well as many others) in the website photo gallery!
If this sounds like the kind of experience you’d enjoy, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I always have few trips on the calendar – you can find them in the “customized tours” section of my website. Or if there’s a different route you’d like to try, anywhere in Italy, France and/or Switzerland (or beyond), I would be happy to discuss a custom itinerary with you!