Centuries of experience, good soil and the right climate are ideal conditions for making special wines – and all in one of Europe’s smallest winegrowing regions. Under the painstaking care of 1,860 winegrowers, an area that covers only 511 hectares produces genuinely rare wines. Among the many grape varieties at home in the Elbe valley are Sächsischer Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Weißburgunder, Dornfelder and Traminer. An outstanding and recently revived variety is the seldom-found Goldriesling grape, now only grown in appreciable quantity in Saxony. Visitors can find out about the wide range of wines all year round, for instance at the autumn wine festivals between Pirna and Diesbar-Seußlitz.
The journey is the reward: Saxony’s wine region and wine trail
Stretching over 55 kilometres, Saxony wine route was opened in 1992 and features a wealth of diversity. The first grapevines come into view at Pirna, followed by those at Pillnitz and the vineyards directly beneath the castles on the Elbe. Picturesque slopes at Radebeul follow, then onto Coswig and Meissen and the romantic winegrowing village of Diesbar-Seußlitz, a special highlight. Together, the river landscape, fine architecture and pleasant surroundings make for a relaxing atmosphere and a desire to taste the local wines. What could be more fitting than a visit to the traditional wine taverns (Strausswirtschaften) and vineyards along the way! Accompanying the visitor from Pirna to Diesbar-Seußlitz is the parallel Elbe cycle route.
Hiking along Saxony’s wine trail – a must for wine lovers
Depending on one’s fancy, visitors can explore the 90-kilometre trail in a single day, over an extended weekend, or on a six-day trip. The wine trail offers insights into and views of nature and beautiful cities, including Dresden, Pirna, Radebeul with its villas and gardens, and Meissen, home to porcelain manufacturing. A visit to Weingut Hoflößnitz, a vineyard in Radebeul, is a must. If features the Saxonian Winemaking Museum (Sächsisches Weinbaumuseum), which gives an excellent account of winegrowing in Saxony and the special character and diversity of its wines. As of spring 2021 information plaques will be set up along the way. By scanning a QR code visitors can find out from an audio guide about vineyards, attractions and accommodation nearby. The most rewarding experience however is a conversation with the winegrowers themselves.
Weingut Schloss Proschwitz is Saxony’s oldest privately owned vineyard, where on the slopes opposite Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen grapevines have been cultivated for over 850 years. At Wackerbarth Palace in Radebeul, the erstwhile residence of counts and where Saxony’s royal court once celebrated in grand style, nowadays Europe’s first vineyard to offer a genuine wine experience welcomes visitors on a daily basis. Situated at the heart of Saxony’s wine region is a unique ensemble of baroque gardens, picturesque vineyards and a modern winemaking centre – an experience that visitors can round off with fascinating events, elegant wines and by tasting products from “Germany’s best sparkling wine producer“ (German Sparkling Wine Award 2018). Young and dynamic wine producers can be found her too, like Matthias Schuh from Weingut Schuh in Sörnewitz, who delights in cultivating a new taste in wines.
Note: Saxony is the official culture partner of ITB Berlin NOW 2021. At the virtual platform from 9 to 12 March, those keen to delve into the world of Saxony’s cultural attractions should visit the Kultur-Café, which will feature interviews, videos, classical and modern music and presentations.
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