A kingdom of pinot noir

Red wine is king on the Ahr, a tributary of the Rhine. It makes up 85 per cent of the vines in one of the smallest but perhaps most refined wine-growing areas in Germany. Covering just under 1,400 acres, the Ahr valley is number 10 in terms of area, but ranks much higher when it comes to quality. Pinot noir from the Ahr region is considered one of Germany’s premium products. Nearly two thirds of all the vines in the Ahr region have won prizes in one competition or other.

Wine is an experience in the Ahr valley, as are the idyllic little wine-making villages with their charming little shops and bars. It is an unassuming little place in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, a microcosm where all the growers know each other and get along. The restaurateurs and the vintners belong together and are always entering into charming little arrangements.

Gourmet und Wein, for example, is a series of wine and fine-dining events to warm the hearts and the taste-buds in the colder months. The vintner brings wine, and the restaurant provides the excellent food and cosy atmosphere. There are three wine-making cooperatives and 40 companies marketing directly in the Ahr valley. These are perfect partners in a region that is home to two Michelin star chefs and a number of fine-dining restaurants. There are currently around 20 ‘Gourmet und Wein’ events every year.

Wine tasting in Walporzheim, Ahr valley

Wine tasting in Walporzheim, Ahr valley

They are often an amazing experience for those taking part. One surprise is the fact that the vintners grow not only pinot noir, but also an earlier-ripening variety known as Frühburgunder, or pinot noir précoce. This is a distinct grape variety that is barely known beyond the Ahr region, but is increasingly developing into an insider tip. It is the second most widely grown grape in the region and requires a great deal of love and know-how to cultivate.

Enjoy tasty dishes at Kloster Marienthal Dernau, Ahr valley

Enjoy tasty dishes at Kloster Marienthal in Dernau, Ahr valley

The royal family of Ahr wines also has a very definite queen. Her name is Eva Lanzarath. In 2019/2020 she wears the crown as the wine queen of the Ahr valley and represents Ahr wines at a range of events and festivals. The vintner’s daughter from Walporzheim knows what she is talking about, having made her way from the village wine queen to the crowned monarch of the whole Ahr valley. She will also take part in voting for the German King of Wine.

But she has plenty to do all year around. In the Ahr valley alone, it is one wine festival after the other, with something going on virtually every weekend in September and October. The biggest wine festival of them all is the ‘Weinmarkt an der Ahr’, which takes place every year on the last weekend in May in Ahrweiler, the medieval district of Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. There is also a day of cellar tours in March, culinary vineyard walks and major events such as the Klangwelle festival in Bad Neuenahr, all of which also offer the opportunity to taste Ahr wines.

Wine is everywhere here. There is literally nowhere where it does not play a role. Doctors at the spa hospitals emphasise its health benefits. Indeed, the founder of the spa was also originally a vintner and discovered the first springs in the heart of his vineyards.

Many holidaymakers also head to the Ahr valley for a gourmet weekend and to explore the wines. It is an exceptionally charming blend of beautiful scenery and good food and drink. There is something to enjoy at every time of year, in the cosy little bars in the winter and outside in the sunshine in the summer. With a pinot noir in the early afternoon, a Frühburgunder late in the evening and the perfect hotel room for the night, nothing can go wrong.

Klangwelle festival in Bad Neuenahr, Ahr valley

Fantastic show at Klangwelle festival in Bad Neuenahr, Ahr valley

More leisure tips in the Ahr valley:

More information about holidays in the Ahr valley

Find out everything you need to know about events, attractions and other destinations in the Ahr valley at Ahrtal-Tourismus Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler e.V.

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