Mathias Rippstein: Aus der Heckenwirtschaft, die in Franken seit dem Mittelalter Tradition haben, wurde eine Heckenstube
What the Heck... part II

In Part One we introduced you to the wines, chefs and makers in some of Franconia’s Heckenwirtschaften. Here we ask why new wine is called “Bremser” (= Brakeman) and reveal some more wineries.

Reading time: 6 minutes


Wines from a special region always go particularly well with local cuisine. This is no different in Franconia. The best way to understand this is to take a short tour. On the way, visits to Heckenwirtschaften, whose culinary offerings ideally harmonize with the wines of the vintner, are a good idea.

Ramsthal: Weinbau Keller

The Weinbau Keller lies in Ramstal, a side valley of the Franconian Saale river in the district of Bad Kissingen and thus on the edge of the Rhön biosphere reserve. Karin and her brother Rainer welcome their guests in an ancient vaulted cellar, often permeated with the scent of locally-made sausages, unusually served not with sauerkraut or potato salad but with roast potatoes.

“That is an absolute favourite with our guests,” reports Rainer Keller. In contrast, the winners among the cold dishes are Leberwurst and Blutwurst, raw ham and white and red Presssack (Brawn) - all home-made. They are served with treats such as “Ärplootz”, a kind of flat, savoury cake made from eggs, caraway and bacon.

Jungwinzer Christian Müller lässt seine Weine in Holzfässern reifen

As well as the standard Franconian grape varieties, this also matches well with a wine made from the oldest Ramsthal vineyard. The Urramsthaler Kabinett trocken made from vines planted around the year 1860 is a bit of a mixed bag; a Cuvée made from varieties including Muscaris, Elbling, Grüner Muskateller, Heunisch and Weißer Räuschling. 

A detour to this old vineyard is every bit as satisfying as walks through the other vineyards. Well signposted cycle trails enable you to explore the villages in Franconia’s Saale Valley as well as the small towns of Hammelburg and Bad Kissingen. Alternatively, you could embark on the 55 kilometre long Rotweinwanderweg between Erlenbach, Klingenberg and Großheubach, which promises fantastic views of the valley, its vineyards and dry biotopes rich in flora and fauna.

Weingut Stich "Im Löwen“

A great place to fortify yourself after that is the Weingut Stich “Im Löwen”, in Bürgstadt, famous for its red wines. Favourite dishes here include beef salad with Bavarian pumpkin seed oil, Mostsuppe (white wine soup) with cinnamon croutons, and a three-cheese platter featuring local products. All the year round, Gerhard Stich serves his best-selling Silvaner wine with spareribs or Bratwurst sausages with cabbage. His Spätburgunder, on the other hand, is mainly drunk in the autumn.

In Klingenberg am Main, popular destinations include the terraced vineyards, the sweet chestnut nature trail, the Seltenbachschlucht - a gorge that is one of Bavaria’s loveliest geotopes - and the Churfranken via ferrata.

Weingut Fürst: Bekannt sind die Winzer vor allem für ihre Rotweine

“I never reveal the exact recipe”

Klingenberg: Weingut Hofmann-Herkert

In the town itself, Karin and Friedrich Herkert together with their son Christian at the Weingut Hofmann-Herkert greet visitors in their “Häckerwirtschaft”, a term derived from the Old German term “Häcker”, meaning winemaker.

Their best-selling dish is the Conradus Teller, consisting of a liver dumpling, spicy Bratwurst sausage and baked lean pork belly, served with sauerkraut. Other favourites are various spicy Bratwurst sausages, some made from lamb and wild boar, as well as their home-made trio of fresh cheeses with salmon, herbs and pumpkin seed oil.

They, too, have their own particular house special. Karin Herkert offers a “Churfrankenburger” with baked white Presssack (brawn), fresh cheese and coleslaw. “I never reveal the exact recipe” she comments. Those with a sweet tooth, on the other hand, may well opt for the home-made chocolate cake with Spätburgunder or the equally home-made preserved figs in gorgonzola. These delicacies can all be enjoyed in rooms that have a Mediterranean flair, or in summer out in the outdoor wine arbour.

Weinberge in Klingenberg

Why is “Federweiser” called “Bremser”?

Franconia calls its new wine Bremser when the fermentation is still in its early stages and the natural sweetness is clearly present. Whether all Franconian winemakers hold to this fine distinction is unsure. The word Bremser may come from “bramsen” or “brämsen”, meaning something like effervescent or intoxicating, and has an almost onomatopoeic connection with the early stages of fermentation in the grape juice.

Part I about Heckenwirtschaften

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