When thinking about wine, Germany might not be the first country that comes to mind, right? However, when we do think about German wine, one immediately associates it with Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Now, let me tell you a bit more about the country's main wine region and the fantastic wines you can discover in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg.
But first, let's provide some context before getting into the wine and culinary scene of this region. In the heart of the area, you will find the Black Forest, which is my favourite part of Germany. And in its surroundings you can find the most well-known wine region of the country, belonging to the Baden state, Ortenaukreis and Kaiserstuhl.
I have a special bond and love for the Black Forest, firstly because I'm married to a German from the area, and secondly, because this beautiful part of Germany strongly reminds me of the southern region of my native country, Chile, where I spent all of my childhood summers and winters.
What exactly is the Black Forest?
The Schwarzwald (in German) is a picturesque region in southwestern Germany, sometimes 'mistaken' for Bavaria. However, it's even more charming than Bavaria.
The Schwarzwald is simply a stunning mix of forest (dah), little lakes, amazing trails and picturesque towns dating back centuries ago, allowing travellers to immerse in unique and breath-taking settings and enjoy the rich cultural heritage.
In this region and its surroundings, you'll discover amazing wines and traditional Badisch cuisine, which includes dishes like Schnitzel, Knödel, Spätzle, and of course, the famous Black Forest cake (just to name a few).
I might have gotten a bit carried away with my excitement for the Black Forest, but there's a good reason. The landscape, lakes, hiking trails, culinary heritage and wines in the broader area of Baden-Württemberg are truly remarkable.
Wines and wineries to enjoy in the region
In the outskirts of the Black Forest, in the southwest direction, lies Germany's most famous wine region: Kaiserstuhl, where wine has been crafted and perfected over decades.
The Kaiserstuhl region gets its name from an ancient and inactive volcano called Kaiserstuhl, which contributes to the distinctive terroir of the area. As a result, wine production in the region dates back to Roman times, making it one of Germany's oldest wine-growing regions.
Wines from the area are renowned for their elegance, fruity flavours, and impeccable acidity balance. As mentioned previously, while Germany is primarily known for its Gewurztraminer and Riesling, it's also worth exploring their Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc). The region also produces sparkling wines.
Here are two of the most acclaimed wineries in the Kaiserstuhl region:
This is more than just a winery; it's an accomplished business that offers refined wines, a culinary experience in their Michelin-starred restaurant 'Schwarzer Adler,' and hospitality, making it a top destination to explore Kaiserstuhl in a luxury package.
This is my favourite, a kind of boutique winery known for its elegant wines that pay tribute to the local terroir. We chose their white and sparkling wines for our German wedding celebration.
Pictures: Abril Website and mine
In the town of Durbach and its surroundings, at the foot of the famous Staufenberg Castle, you can find this fantastic wine region with more than 10 wineries. The views from the castle are simply stunning, and make sure to visit three of the most renowned wineries in the area Durbacher, Schwarzwald and Markgraf.
Located just half an hour away, on the border of the Black Forest, you'll discover this modern and young winery, known for its independent and well-crafted wines. Visitors can also enjoy a meal at their restaurant while overlooking the vineyards.
This winery is located on top of a hill on one of Black Forest’s thriving cities, Lahr. You can’t go wrong with their wines.
Pictures: views from Staufenberg Castle
Beers and spirits
Germany’s centuries-old beer tradition isn’t news but I bet you haven’t heard much of their digestives and spirits. There is a growing trend in the region's distilleries, with a focus on crafting Gin and Whiskey. Proudly, there are two local distilleries creating some of the finest gins and whiskeys in Europe. Yes, you read that correctly.
The master behind these amazing drinks is Lutz Weide from Ottenheim, the same town where my father-in-law comes from. Here, you can discover the finest schnapps and incredible gin crafted by a former police officer who started hand-distilling one of the best schnapps in Germany. You'll encounter an incredible selection of schnapps and liquors; the key distinction lies in their alcohol content.
Not far from the village above, in an even smaller hamlet, you'll discover an award-winning distillery. Mr. Wurth himself specialises in crafting unique gins and whiskey, and he has consistently impressed judges, earning numerous accolades in recent years. Now, he has expanded his offerings, varieties, and shop, allowing for proper tasting sessions.
Where to eat in the Black Forest
The area is renowned for its indulgent comfort food, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional meals at century-old canteens. However, in this region, it's almost a ‘crime’ to go for elevated cuisine choices because culinary heritage can be found in every corner of the Schwarzwald.
It's a family-run restaurant and hotel with a young, talented, and well-known chef, Viki Fuchs, leading the kitchen.
A 300 hundred year pub-canteen, located in the hills of the deep Black Forest, making this a great stop for tourists and cyclists who want to indulge in classic Badisch food.
In a quiet and remote hamlet, you'll find Kreuz, a restaurant offering traditional recipes with a subtle twist. They also have a hotel where you can stay for a more immersive experience. Plus, you can explore the nearby ruins of Castle Hohengeroldseck and visit the recently closed oldest canteen in Germany.
This is a fantastic restaurant offering dinners the opportunity to experience Michelin-starred dining as well as the normal restaurant. You can’t go wrong with this one.
One of my go to places in the Black Forest. Each time I go to visit the other half of my family, we visit this fantastic restaurant. Here you can find my review of the restaurant.
Pictures: Schnitzel, Schupfnudeln with Sauebraten, Maultaschen, Schweinelendchen with Spaetzle, Black Forest, selection of German bread.
This area of Baden-Württemberg's the perfect place to indulge in wine, fantastic food, and relax while immersing yourself in the beauty of nature and exploring the rich heritage of the region.
Do you need any further evidence to consider adding Kaiserstuhl and the Black Forest to your list for next holidays?