Trier & Wehlen – June 2011

Now that we live so close to the German wine country (my American friends refer to it lovingly as “The Wine-land” instead of the Rhineland), we’ve got to visit, right?

We took a drive to Trier on Saturday morning. Trier is one of the oldest Roman cities in Germany. We visited the Porta Nigra, an ancient defensive structure where lots of enemies met death whenever they tried to sack the city. We also visited the Kaiserthermen – it’s too unstable to walk around the inside, but there are other Roman baths in the city you can visit. Then, we walked outside the city to visit the Amphitheatre. Back in the day, it would hold up to 20,000 people for public events and tournaments. There were even hidey-holes cut into the walls on the field so warriors and other players could take a break from the action on the field!

On Sunday, we drove an hour north to Wehlen on the banks of the Mosel River. Our visit started with a tasting at S.A. Pruem with owner Raimund Pruem. Though we didn’t plan it that way, it turned out to be a private tasting. We got a custom experience and learned so much about how wine from this region is made – from the soil (slate actually), to the age of the vine, to the stainless steel or oak it’s aged in. What an education for a few hours spent tasting with a man that knows his business left, right and sideways!

On Monday, we left Trier and headed toward home in Erlangen. On the way, we made a pit stop at the Nurburgring, a Formula 1 and Grand Prix race track originally built in the 1920s. We got the backstage tour and had a chance to see the driver’s paddock and tunnel, the media center, winner’s platform and a few other VIP areas. The whole track (old and new parts) is about 25 miles, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities to stop along the side of the local roads and take a look at the track. The brave enough can take their own cars out for a spin on the northern part of the track.

I managed to pull Jeff away from the track – and convince him that taking the rental car out for a race was a bad idea – so we headed home. Stay tuned for our next adventure!

Porta Nigra, Trier, Germany

Porta Nigra, the Black Gate, protected the ancient Roman city of Trier.

Kaiserthermen, Trier, Germany

Kaiserthermen - the ruins of an imperial bath. Trier once had several hot springs and Roman bath houses.

Amphitheatre, Trier, Germany

Roman Amphitheatre, viewed from the highest seats on the lawn. It held 20,000 people for tournaments and other public events.

Sonnenuhr, Vineyard along the Mosel, Germany

This is the Sonnenuhr (a sun dial) in the vineyards along the Mosel River. It's one of the most frequently used images on wine labels from this area.

Mosel Vineyard

Did we mention that the vines grow on the steepest vineyard slopes in the world and are harvested BY HAND?

Vinotek Courtyard

Sitting in the courtyard at S.A. Pruem winery, eagerly awaiting a tasting with owner Raimund Pruem.

 

Nurburgring

A view of the start/finish line at the Nurburgring, a famous racetrack. If you're brave, you can race your own car around the track!