This place is stunningly beautiful! Before we traveled here, I read descriptions such as: fairy tale towns, Hansel and Gretel cottages, quaint, charming – yes, all those and more. The number of little quaint towns( Ribeauville and Riquewhir were my favorites), in which flowers spill all over the fronts of them, in which the narrow streets and picturesque squares are are so lovingly tended is really outrageous. It is much more than I expected.
Wine tasting here is done in small tasting rooms, not far from each other. You can make a day of it in one town, just walking down the main street, unlike in California where you need to drive from one winery to the next in the countyside. After trying a few varieties, I found that I enjoyed the Cermant d’Alsace most of all, a sparkling bright wine.
In one of the first wineries that we stopped at, Domaine Dirringer in Dambach-la-Ville, we were lured because their sign said that they spoke English. Actually, English was the only word that they could say in English. However, we had a great time. Madame Catherine Dirrenger and Monsieur Martial Dirringer were busy working the the “cave”, which is really the wine cellar when we entered. (Talk about a mom and pop operation!) Madame poured us a few of their wines from different years and we had an hysterical “conversation”, much more “Marcel Marceau” than in English or French. Somehow, I got that she has been to the Grand Canyon and her son lives in the US. She understood that we have the most adorable grandchildren on earth…just normal conversation. It was fun.
At another place, the pourer spoke excellent English and knew all about Sacramento because he had a friend who had lived there. Small world.
Barry wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t do lots of wine tasting, but, really how many days can one sip wine and try to find their way back to a super small town on narrow winding roads? We purchased bottles of wine from wineries where we tasted and now, a week later, we are still lugging around two bottles.
I did stop in a couple of tourist offices here, and did look online in discussion boards, travel and tourism websites, etc. before we left and was not able to find much to do except drink wine and eat. I was looking for something quirky or fun to do in addition to the wine :)? There were multiple day walking tours and biking tours that can be booked through tour companies. We did miss some summer festivals that sounded fun, and some musical performances didn’t fit into our schedule. Still I searched and asked at tourism offices about renting a bike for a day, or a planned out tour for walking different vineyard, or a cooking class or ghost tour, or anything unusual. Strangely, I just wasn’t able to find much other than the Sauerkraut Festival and two New Wine Festivals. This could be a lack of ability in French on my part or the lack of demand of tourists in general. Still, all in all, the Route du Vin was all so gorgeous, I would highly recommend this place.