The Lake Constance wine-growing area dates back to Roman times, and possibly even back to the the Celts. One thing we do know is that the burgundy grape was introduced to the region in 884 AD. This puts the King’s Vineyard (Königsweingarten) in Bodman as Germany’s oldest vineyard to have been farmed without a single interruption.
The Pinot Noir is the main grape in Germany and Switzerland and provides a rosé par excellence among Lake Constance wines as well as revealing outstanding quality as a red wine. Other popular grapes here are the Regent, well-liked among organic wine-growers and the Zweigelt and Portugieser varieties, which are in favour in Austria.
Mr. Müller from Thurgau cultivated the grape that is presumed to produce its best wines in this region: the Muller-Thurgau grape and known as Riesling x Sylvaner in Switzerland. The Pinot Gris is an important and good wine, while Austria contributes to the area’s white wines with an excellent Welschriesling. The Kerner grape and Pinot blanc are also significant wines, while Muscatel, Traminer, Gutedel and Elbling count as real specialities. Another interesting fact about wine in this area is that Swiss wine-growers are often required to subject their white wines to an organic acid reduction: Reichenau and Salenstein Muller-Thurgau wines taste completely different, although they are grown only 500 m (air-line distance) apart.
The ground is typically of a loamy and gravelly nature, often moraine soil, while on the Hohentwiel, excellent wines are cultivated on volcanic rock. The lake’s considerable expanse of water provides for a secure buffer of heat to compensate for the high altitude, while to the east of the lake, the region is influenced by the warm Foehn winds. German vineyards stretch along the northern bank of the lake and to the south west, and the Austrian and Swiss vineyards are found on the southern bank, rather more concealed in valleys and niches to the west and south west. In terms of classifying wine, distinctions are made between the following areas: Baden Lake region, the Württemberg and Bavarian region, Austrian-Vorarlberg, St. Gallen region, Thurgau and Schaffhausen region.
There are only a handful of larger vineyards on the lake but they are perfect places to go for tastings and buying wine. More typical of this area are smaller part-time winemakers, who cultivate their vineyards with outstanding expertise and a true passion for what they do. Don’t be afraid to drop in: if someone is home, they will be happy to offer you their wine - wine that you will not find anywhere else except here.
We have put together an incomplete, completely unfair and random selection of winemakers: winemakers who produce my favourite wines and are located close to the Lake Constance cycle path:
Weingut Möth in Bregenz