King Ludwig’s Tuscany: The Southern Wine Route
Anyone looking for the Southern Wine Route should start in Alsace as it is near Wissembourg in France that the southern vineyards of the Palatinate region start. Schweigener Sonnenberg is the name of the region, whose wines prove every year that the Palatinate region offers a little bit of French flair in Germany.
600 vines per inhabitant
The Southern Wine Route extends from Maikammer in the middle of the German wine route to Schweigen on the French border, which is by far the largest wine-growing region in Germany. There are more than 12,000 hectares of vineyards with 60 million vines here. From a purely statistical point of view, there are more than 600 vines for each inhabitant of the area.
An especially mild climate
These dry statistics cannot hope to express the attraction of the vacation area in the south of the »Palatinate Wine Region«. However, the mild climate can. The Bavarian King Ludwig certainly appreciated it and built »Villa Ludwigshöhe« near Edenkoben in his »Tuscany«.
Tradition and innovation
Wine-growing on the Southern Wine Route is a tradition reaching back centuries. It is not surprising that Germany’s oldest vineyard is located in Rhodt unter der Rietburg, with its gnarled, almost 400 year old Traminer vines that are a natural monument. The soil diversity provides excellent conditions for many varieties of vine, and the Southern Wine Route is one of the most innovative German wine-growing regions.
Burgunder (Burgundy) as a particular strong point
The wine list of the Southern Wine Route is particularly diverse, although Rieslings are not generally as dominant as is the case in the classic Riesling heartlands further north in the Palatinate region. The real strong point of the wine-growing region with its Tuscan flair lies with the Burgundys. Weißburgunder (pinot blanc), Spätburgunder (pinot noir) as well as Grauburgunder (pinot gris) thrive on the deep, nutrient-rich loam and loess soils. The development of the Palatinate to Germany’s largest red-wine growing region (based on varieties such as Portugieser, Dornfelder and Spätburgunder (pinot noir)) has its roots in the south. The varieties such as Gewürztraminer or Morio Muscat should also not be ignored: They have developed in the homeland of Peter Morios (the vine breeder worked for the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding (Institut für Rebenzüchtung Geilweilerhof) in the southern Palatinate region) to a fully-fledged niche product.
More information about the Southern Wine Route region can be found at www.suedlicheweinstrasse.de.