In many of France’s wine-growing regions, Whit Weekend (Pentecote in French, Pfingsten in German) is the moment when many of the smaller, independent wine growers sweep out courtyards and cellars, dust off trestle tables and benches and throw open the gates to the public. It’s time for the annual Pique-Nique chez le Vigneron. Loads of Alsace estates take part – the full list, including growers in both the Bas-Rhin and the Haut-Rhin, is here.
The deal varies from winery to winery but basically they provide tables, seating (under cover too in case of rain – it always rains at Pentecote), vineyard and cellar visits, musical accompaniment (oompapa/jazz/piano accordeon/alphorns), art or pottery exhibits…and the wine. You provide the picnic. Unfold your checked tablecloth on the trestle table and lay out the goodies – and be sure to bring along something yum to share with your table neighbours. The wine growers generally make no charge for this splendid Open House event, but you must call or mail ahead to let them know how many are coming. Note too that some hold their Pique-Nique on Sunday 19 May, others on Monday 20 May, and some on both days. Check the list.
It’s always a fun day, a chance to meet the [wine]makers, find out how last year’s harvest went, how the new wine’s coming along, chat to your neighbours, even shake a leg (in the vineyards or on an impromptu dance floor). Some of our favourite wineries are participating, including those listed below. Remember: you must call or mail to make a booking.
Enjoy your pique-nique!
Domaine Schoenheitz, a rising star with vineyards in and around Wihr-au-Val at the entrance to the Vallée de Munster (Sunday 19 May)
Tel. 03 89 71 03 96, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sylvie Spielmann, lively biodynamic grower just outside Bergheim (Monday 20 May)
Tel. 03 89 73 35 95, email@example.com
Paul Blanck, top estate in walled village of Kientzheim who put on a famous picnic (Monday 20 May)
Domaine Jean-Marc Bernhard, super little estate in Katzenthal run by Frédéric and Caroline Bernhard (Monday 20 May)
Tel. 03 89 27 05 34, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clément Klur, another biodynamic estate, also Katzenthal – this year winemaker colleagues from the Jura and Chateauneuf-du-Pape will also be present (Monday 20 May)
Tel. 03 89 80 94 29, email@example.com
Jean-Philippe & François Becker (and their sister, the irrepressible and multilingual Martine), biodynamic estate in lovely hilltop village of Zellenberg (Monday 20 May)
Tel. 03 89 47 90 16, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Kubler, great little winery in Soultzmatt in the beautiful Vallée Noble (Sunday 19 and Monday 20 May)
Tel. 03 89 47 00 75, email@example.com
….and many more…