Alsace is peppered with quaint, picturesque villages and vine-clad hillsides that the choice is overwhelming. Just follow the Alsace Wine Route (Route des Vins d’Alsace) and the views and landscapes are beautiful.
Near Colmar (68 Haut-Rhin, Grand Est) lies the small village of Eguisheim, which claims to be the birthplace of Alsace wine – “berceau des vins d’Alsace”. There are many other Alsace towns and villages along the route which are worth visiting – but somehow this village seems to be less tourist-dominated – cars and tourist trappings are limited in the medieval heart of the place – it feels more on a human scale, whereas better-known and potentially as outwardly attractive in destinations such as Ribeauville, Riquewihr and Colmar tourists feel more dominated by tourists – everyone is there to see and admire the prettiness. Eguisheim by contrast feels more like a working village with numerous wineries located right in the heart of the place.
Wandering around its narrow and irregular roads and alleys encapsulates the essential tidiness and attractiveness of the best of Alsace – Yes, there are some cafes and hotels and a few souvenir shops (even one of those tourist “trains”), but these elements do not overwhelm or detract.
Starting on the edge of the villages of Eguisheim is a “Sentier Viticole” – a well–signposted path though the vineyards with information signs at regular intervals describing the different grape varieties and the “Grand Cru” plots where some of the best wines are grown – a very leisurely 90 minutes through the vines offers peace, tranquility and some gorgeous views plus an appreciation of the local wine-making character and history.
To finish the visit the odd glass of a good local Riesling (or a Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc/Gris/Noir, Muscat or Sylvaner) back in the village – or maybe a few bottles to take home – and this being Alsace the climate is surprisingly good – relatively low rainfall and high sunshine hours make the region ideal for wine and visiting!
There are many winemakers offering “Degustation/Vente” (tastings and retail sales) – and throughout Alsace the wine Co-operatives produce some of the better wines (unlike other wine regions in France where some wine co-operatives seem more interested in bulk quantity rather then good quality!)
16 – 18 July 2019 Eguisheim Wine Fair
Fete du Vin – wine tastings of Grands Cru, music, dancing – see wine fair
There is also a Winegrowers Festival Fete des Vignerons in the village 24 – 25 August 2019
and a New Wine Festival (Fete du Vin Nouveau) 28 – 29 September 2019
For more info see Eguisheim Official Tourist Office
There is a good annual Christmas Market Marché de Noel Authentique 29 November – 30 December 2019– see www.tourisme-eguisheim-rouffach.com
The village centre of Eguisheim is charming and the area is ideal for visiting the famous Vosges and Alsace areas, including “The cradle of Alsatian vineyards” wine route and wine testing cellars, and is just 80km from Strasbourg, the capital of Europe and seat of its parliament.
The B&B Le Hameau d’Eguisheim is in the centre of the pretty medieval village of Eguisheim, on the Alsace Wine Route
Now available: The Official Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages of France