BAD DURKHEIM WURSTMARKT
Wine and Sausage Festival on the
German Wine Road
The German Wine Road (Deutsche Weinstrasse) cuts through the Rhineland Palatine (Rheinland-Pfalz) region of Germany from the border with Baden-Wurttemberg to the Rhine River at Koblenz. The center of this wine growing region is Bad Durkheim between Kaiserslautern and Speyer, the original historic capital of the area. Wine growing started here in the 1700s after what has been called the Auswanderung, when many of the area population left for the Americas on offers of land from Britain’s Queen Anne hoping to populate the colonies with Protestants (see Wandering Immigrants). Travel along the wine road takes you through rolling hills of vineyards past village after village with small family wineries (Weinguts).
The wine road through the Palatine is not nearly as well known internationally as the Mosel and along the Rhine River, but provide a unique experience for the wine traveler. Some of the wineries, 144 of them near Bad Dürkheim as you follow the signs along the German Wine Road, offer wine tasting and bed and breakfast lodging. Some you knock on the door and find yourself standing in someone’s living room, taking a taste of the recent family vintage, before buying a bottle or two as the kids get ready to run off to school. For some of these, take a journey through the narrow streets of tiny towns, like the Sippel Weingut in Weisenheim am Berg. The area also offers golf courses for those staying at the many B&Bs. The Sudliche Weinstrasse starting near Wissembourg to Landau features more of red Pinots and the Middle Haart/Deutches Weinstrasse Neustadt to Bockenheim is predominatly Rieslings and whites. The gentle slopes on the wine route makes for unstrenuous biking or hiking.
In September, the Durkheimer Wurstmarkt - called a Sausage Fair, but really a wine festival, billed as the "World’s Largest Wine Festival", offers a sample of wines and beers with a mixed variety of sausages on sampling plates in 36 traditional stalls of wooden benches, cozy with fellow revelers, the "Schubkärchler". This region’s version of Oktoberfest has been a tradition for almost 600 years since 1417. Officially started as a medieval festival to celebrate St. Michael and feed pilgrims known as the "Michelismarkt", the Wurstmarkt has become one of the oldest and largest fall festivals in Germany with the entertainment assortment of carnival rides, a giant ferris wheel. The wine on offer for tasting is all from the local wineries of the Palatine German Wine Road and the food available is of many regional styles beyond the sausages. Special feature of the Dürkheimer Festival are the Wine Village where a dozen local wineries offer varieties from their cellars running the gamut from white wines, sparkling wines (sekt) to red wines in special branded glasses. Like all the big German festivals, carnival rides accompany the wine and sausage festivities. Other festivals are held along the wine road as well – almost 200 of them counting events of individual wineries. Bockenheim has its wine days (Wein Tage) in the early spring, usually the end of March.
Durkheimer Festival Dates 2014 – Weekends Sept. 12-24
Sight seeing in the area include the Pfalzmuseum of Natural History, the Romanesque Cloister Ruins of Limburg (Klosterruine Limberg), the Castle Hardenburg ruins (see Castle Hardenburg) and the Frankenstein Castle ruin (see Frankenstein Ruin Rhineland), a selection of small historic churches, some dating to the 11th Century, and a Roman stone quarry (the Romans seemed to have trampled all over this part of what was called Germania) .
Tasting and Lodging at Weinguts
Housed in the original 18th Century manor, and perhaps the original winery in the area, just on the edge of the Bad Durkheim on the road to Kaiserslautern, the Gut Zumstein offers a restaurant, tasting and Bed & Breakfast accommodation with packages for two or three night stays perfect for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon for the wineenthusiast or unique vacation destination. Just off the autobahn to the east of town the KatharinenHof Winery offers guest house accomodation and apartments as well as tasting and their own wine garden restaurant. The Fritz-Ritter Winery is one of the oldest and grandest in Bad Durkheim, just across the street from the giant wine barrel (see Durkheimer Fass Wine Barrel) with a beautiful garden park on the estate with wine events throughout the year, guest rooms and a private cottage with a swimming pool.
The German Wine road through the low hills also is the route of least
resistance from the Alsace region of France to the Rhine River and has
been the path of more than one army attempting to gain a footing in southern
Germany from the Romans to the War of Succession to Napoleon and the
allied forces of WWII. © Bargain
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SEE ALSO:KD FLEET - RHINE AND MOSEL RIVER CRUISES