German word of the day: Die Weinwanderung

A blackboard shows the German word 'die Weinwanderung'.
A blackboard shows the German word 'die Weinwanderung'. Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr
Combining the German love of the outdoors with wine, this is a word that's right up our street.

Germany is known as one of the biggest beer brewers in the world, so you may be surprised to find out that the country famous for its beloved Oktoberfest and beer steins actually has a large wine culture, producing around 1.3 billion bottles annually on over 250,000 acres of vineyard. 

So, naturally, Germans combined their love of wine with their love of the outdoors, resulting in seasonal “Weinwanderungen”. A compound noun featured so often in the German language, it is made up of “der Wein”, meaning wine and “die Wanderung” meaning hike, although in this context it could also mean a walk. 

In the early summer and autumn months, wineries across Germany’s Western state of Rhineland-Palatinate organise these so called “wine walks”, with stands spread out over vast vineyards. They often take place over several days on a weekend and follow a specific walking route. The idea is you get to walk from winery to winery and taste all the different locally made wines they have on offer. You may be familiar with pub or bar crawls in your home country, so think of a “Weinwanderung” as a kind of outdoor pub crawl. 

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If wine isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Food stands selling delicious, regional delicacies such as Bratwurst and Saumagen are enough of an excuse to take part. You can also opt for some fresh grape juice, made from local white or red grapes, typically served as a “Schorle”, that is, juice diluted with sparkling water. Also, if you’re blessed with a sunshine spell, you’ll get to just enjoy the beautiful scenery of Germany’s wine regions.

Plus, if you’re really into hiking, there are some routes that go for several hours, climbing peaks with great views of the Palatinate Forest. Other variations include cycling tours of the vineyards, known in German as “Radwanderungen”. 

I grew up in the heart of the Rhineland, and so these wine walks became a frequent feature of my childhood, as you’ll find families and people of all ages taking part. For born and bred Pfälzer, wine walks are a way of life – tasting and celebrating local food, wine and culture. So, next time you want to have a rest from all the German beers, take a trip to the Rhineland and go on a “Weinwanderung”.

Examples:

Wenn du deutsches Wein probieren willst, sollst du auf eine Weinwanderung gehen!

If you want to try some German wines, you should go on a wine walk!

Dieses Wochenende soll schönes Wetter sein, also werden wir auf jeden Fall zur Weinwanderung gehen.

We’re meant to have nice weather this weekend, so we will definitely go on the wine walk.

Die Weinwanderung wurde dieses Jahr abgesagt, also kann ich den nächsten kaum erwarten.

The wine walk was cancelled this year, so I can’t wait for the next one.


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