The southernmost of Germany's 13 official wine regions is Baden. It is also the warmest. Grape varieties that enjoy the sunny, dry climate include Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Find out more by pedalling along the Baden Wine Cycle Path (Badischer Weinradweg) that runs from the Swiss border north to the old town of Laudenbach. The trail‘s 460 km / 285 miles pass through seven of Baden’s nine winegrowing areas. And with some serious climbs, e-bikes are a great choice! Along the way are 300 winegrowers, co-ops and even 40 schnapps makers, who distil fruit brandies using crops from local orchards! You can pedal all eight stages or choose three or four sections in just one area, so you can focus on specific vineyards and wineries. Highlights include the Tuniberg and Kaiserstuhl vineyards near the historic city of Freiburg and, further north, Gengenbach, Bruchsal, romantic Heidelberg and Weinheim. On mainly well-paved paths, follow the bright red Badischer Weinradweg “bike and grapes” signs. Stay overnight at comfortable Weinsüden Hotels, wine hotels. Some are in towns, others are surrounded by vineyards; a few have wineries attached. Local wines are always on the menu, and the hotel’s wine experts offer tastings and contacts with winemakers as part of the experience.
SPECIAL: A typical local Baden wine experience is to stop for an informal drink and meal at a Straussenwirtschaft. Like pop-up vineyard taverns and run by winegrowers, these are open for just a few weeks in spring and autumn. The wine must be straight from the vineyard; home-made dishes feature local produce; perfect for hungry cyclists!
Start: Grenzach, 3 hours southwest of Stuttgart
Finish: Laudenbach, 2 hours northwest of Stuttgart