With the Rhine River to its west and the densely forested hills of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) to its east, the Baden Wine Route, or Badische Weinstrasse is a 125 mile stretch of rolling hills and terraced vineyards located in the most southwestern part of Germany. This corner of Germany is considered to be the country's Sunbelt, and is directly adjacent to France's Alsace and in the rain shadow of the Vosges Mountains. The sunny days and cool nights permit the production of high-quality Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and also full-bodied examples of Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).
Your journey along the route will include visits to two wineries, both located in the Kaiserstuhl viticultural area. The terraced hills of the Kaiserstuhl are the remants of a highly eroded volcanic range. The volcanic soil and ideal climate produce the most well regarded Pinot Noir in Germany.
The first winery you will be visiting today is Arndt Köblein Weingut. In 2005, Arndt and his wife Monika took over the vineyard estate founded by his grandfather, beginning the amazing journey from delivering grapes to local cooperatives to becoming one of the leading wineries in the region. Yet unknown in the United States, they have received countless awards in Germany and Europe for their wines. In 2015 Köblein was recognized as a rising start winery. Additionally, in 2017 at the AWC Vienna, the largest officially recognized wine competition in the world. His Pinot Gris came in second place. You will have a chance to visit the modern winemaking facility and distillery, including tasting of Köblein's fresh interpretation of what makes a Kaiserstuhl Pinot, including white, red and sparkling varietals.
Next is a visit to Weingut Dr. Heger, producer of some of the finest Spätburgender wines in the region. A member of the prestigious VDP (the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates) since 1986, current owner Joachim Heger is the third generation to build upon his family's winemaking legacy. Here you will be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, treated to a tasting, and taken to a hilltop overlook of the Kaiserstuhl and their prized vineyards.
You will end the day with a wine-paired dinner at the Heger estate. After dinner you'll head back to the ship to continue your journey.