Wine maker, photo Weingut Aust
Discover Saxony's Wine Route
Photos courtesy Saxony Tourism
The state of Saxony in Germany produces some of the country's best white wines and has a wine trail that offers a blend of breath-taking landscape, wine hills along the Elbe and sophisticated architecture.
Germany may be lauded for its beer, but wine lovers will be happy to know that Germany also has a long wine history. Saxony has over 850 years of wine tradition; it is the smallest of Germany's wine regions and the most northern. There are 20 full-scale wineries and more than 3,000 small independent growers that form the Saxon Winemaker's Association.
White Wines of Saxony
Saxony focuses on white wine, with 80% of the area growing white wine grapes; it specializes in the Goldriesling, which is only grown in this region. There are 37 grape varieties, and the main wines produced are Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Pinot Blanc white wines, and the Pinot noir and Dornfelder red wines.
The best way to experience Saxony's wine culture, taste the wines, meet the winemakers and see Saxony's landscape is by car along Saxony's Wine Route.
The route goes through 35 miles of the captivating Elbe River Valley. Following the Saxon Wine Route, visitors will start to see the vines in the suburb of Dresden, near Pirna, and then in Pillnitz, close to the stately homes, as well as Augustus the Strong's summer palace along the River Elbe.
On the other side of Dresden in the direction of Meissen, they will see vines growing on terraces on the Radebeul and Coswig slopes, which end at the romantic Elbe wine village of Diesbar-Seusslitz. The route was created in 1992 and links some of the most beautiful vineyards and wine taverns.
One of the largest (and oldest) private estates in eastern Germany is the Schloss Proschwitz (Castle Proschwitz).
Until 1918, the zur Lippe family was counted as one of the reigning royal houses and an important business family in Saxony. After German reunification, Prince zur Lippe bought back his ancestors' land and castle and turned it into a flourishing enterprise. The winery totals 215 acres of land, and is located outside of Meissen, the porcelain-manufacturing town. The southwest part of the winery is situated on slopes that look down to the Elbe Valley and overlook the town. The Proschwitz winery mostly produces white wine varieties such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Elbing and Traminer.
Another unusual stop along the wine route is the Zimmerling Winery, run by Klaus Zimmerling and his artist/wife Malgorzata Chodakowska, who also designs the labels for the wine bottles. The winery opened in 1992 and is a unique blend of art, sculpture and wine. The vineyard is sought after for its delicious wines and is situated on 16 acres of land near Pillnitz, a few hours from Dresden. Zimmerling winery specializes in white wines, especially Riesling, Grauburgunder, Weißburgunder, Kerner, Gewürtztraminer and Traminer. The vineyard itself is on a hill that faces the south and resembles an Egyptian pyramid.
On the last weekend of September, wine festivals are held in Meissen, where a visit to the Vincenz Richter wine restaurant is a must, and in Altkötzschenbroda, a picturesque former village which has been part of Radebeul for 100 years. In "Altkö", as the locals call it, the wine festival is enhanced by theater performances. Radebeul is also the home of the Saxon State Winery at the Castle Wackerbarth, where events take place year round.
For those with more sporting aspirations, there is the Saxon Wine Trail, which is a scenic hiking path through the terraced vineyards.
For more information on Saxony and the Saxon Wine Route, visit www.saxonytourism.com