It’s brand new, brand new in the landscape ofwine tourism in Alsace: the GeoVino hikes. The concept? Combine a nice walk in the Alsatian vineyard and quench your thirst for knowledge. The Ribeauvillé-Riquewihr area has had the good idea to create walks combining wines and geology, to become unaware of the rocks which give the so particular notes to our local beverages.
For those who still remember their college years, geology wasn’t really the most fun subject but it’s really easier to get used to when it’s about wine!
The first route, which was implemented during the spring, is the one around Riquewihr. The opportunity was too good to rediscover this village in which we had not had the opportunity to visit for a few good years. Note that the walk, with its 2.5 kilometers, is quite affordable for children. And, as you will quickly understand thanks to the golden colors of the vine, we chose to make this walk in autumn.
Let’s go for the GeoVino hike!
The departure is in front of the town hall of Riquewihr. To park? No parking problems on this autumn day: for those who don’t know it yet, Riquewihr is one of the most touristic (and charming) villages of the Wine Route and there is therefore a lot of parking space around the village… And less people than in summer!
Before starting the walk, I asked myself a lot of questions: should I rely on my cell phone to follow the route? Fortunately, my question was quickly answered when I found the starting totem pole. Please note that the texts are translated into English and German. These are stone arrows that guide us… That’s perfect to interest the kids: they’re off hunting for arrows to find our way back! The first climb through the vineyards makes us work our thighs but we are rewarded with a beautiful view of Riquewihr and, a little further on, Zellenberg.
In the heart of the matter: wine, terroir and geology
And here we come to the first information area. Thanks to an original structure, we understand how the geological layers of the hills of the Ribeauvillé area are organized. They have been influenced by faults created by the ground movements of the last 50 million years!
The second space informs us about the types of rocks (limestone, granite, pink sandstone, marl…) that make up the soil, where they are found in the Ribeauvillé area and the notes that each one gives to the wines. Depending on where the vines take root along the Wine Route (their terroir), they will give different flavors to the wines. Yes, the grape variety is not everything!
Then, a map placed in front of Riquewihr allows us to locate the rocks on which the grand crus and the other vineyards of the village rest.
Finally, we discover the characteristics of the soils that are formed on top of the different rocks and how the winegrowers cultivate the vines according to them. The genius of the designers of this walk is that you can see these different soils through “real” binoculars. While we are growing, the kids are having fun looking through ALL the binoculars. I guarantee you that we had plenty of time!
After this last step, we go back down to the pretty village of Riquewihr, with its fortifications, its colorful half-timbered houses, its old-fashioned wrought-iron signs or its famous Christmas store, open all year long! It’s crowded for the end of October but it’s understandable, it’s really cute. To close our escapade, we stop on the terrace of the restaurant “La Grenouille” which proposes menus at rather interesting prices for a tourist place. Despite the wait (we had been warned), the dishes were good and copious and the service very friendly.
- The length of the ride is suitable for everyone
- The very interesting information on the origin of the flavors of the local wines and the more playful side for the younger ones
- The view on the beautiful landscapes of the Wine Route, a few steps from the Vosges
- The possibility of combining the discovery of the villages of the Wine Route with walks in the vineyard to vary the pleasures!
I liked less
- It’s a pity that the other routes have not yet been put online on the website since the release of the one in Riquewihr.
- It would also be interesting to create links between the routes, allowing to combine them and, why not, to extend the walk in the Alsatian vineyard on this geological theme (it is perhaps planned).
My photos of the GeoVino hike
Rates and schedules
Access is free. You can do the course all year round but it’s better when it’s daytime 🙂
The starting point is as follows: Mairie de Riquewihr, place Voltaire, 68340 Riqeuwihr; it takes:
- 16 kms from Colmar (about 25 minutes)
- 55 kms from Mulhouse (about 45 minutes)
- 69 kms from Strasbourg (about 45 minutes)
By public transport
You can watch your route on Vialsace.