Franken is a wine-growing region located in the north of Bavaria. Differently from the rest of Bavaria, which is famous for its beers, such as the Weißbier, Franken has a long winemaking culture. The region has over 6000 hectares of vineyards and 80% of the vines are of white varieties. Unlike other German wine regions, Riesling is not the dominant grape variety; Silvaner and Müller-Thurgau are more commonly cultivated here.
Franken is one of the eastern wine-producing regions of Germany, as the Rhine River runs through it, and makes it possible to produce earthy, dry white wines that are quite different from the ones produced in the west. Franken wine region has borders with Württemberg, Baden, and Hessische Bergstrasse wine regions.
Wines produced here tend to be more expensive because the local demand is very high. Surprisingly, Bavarians really enjoy a glass of wine and do not only drink beer!
Most of the Franken wine region vineyards are planted on hilly slopes.
Franken wines are also easily recognized by the green flat-shaped bottles known as Bockbeutel. No other region places their wines in this type of bottle making it a unique and defining aspect of the region of Franken.
Bavarian people are actually very proud of their Franken wine, that is why at every Bavarian wedding, the bride is kidnapped by a guest and hidden in a secret location. When the groom and the rest of the guests find the bride, the party starts again and everybody drinks Franken wine and dances on tables to Bavarian songs!
Grape Varieties of Franken Wine Region
Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, and Bacchus are the three main white varieties of the region. The western part of Franken is ultimately the best growing area for red grape varieties; they grow extremely well, particularly between Aschaffenburg and Miltenberg.
The grape variety, Silvaner, is the most important wine grape in the region, it holds as much significance as Riesling does in most other German regions. Its defining taste characteristics have changed over the last decade as a result of climate change, the wines have become riper and more concentrated. Rieslaner, which is produced locally by crossing Silvaner with Riesling, is well known in the area for making excellent late harvest wines.
White Varieties: Riesling, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus
Red Varieties: Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Blauer Portugieser
What are Franken Wines Like?
The wine region of Franken is known for its iconic white wines that come in the distinct Bockbeutel, and around 80% of the vineyards of the region are planted with white grape varieties. Müller-Thurgau is a cross between two grape varieties, Riesling and a lesser-known variety called the Madeleine Royal. This varietal is most commonly used in producing a fruit-forward white wine with a large amount of residual sugar called Liebfraumilch.
Franken wines, like Silvaner, create a different style of wine regardless of sugar levels, what is different from other German wines, are the aromatics and acidity levels. What makes a dry wine classified as such is a residual sugar level of no more than 9 grams per liter. Franken dry wines generally have less than 4 grams per liter.
Franconian wines are often described as being a more masculine version of the other German wines because of their full-body taste and also for their less aromatic, dry, firm, and earthy flavor. The personality of the wines produced in the Franken wine region are influenced by the climate of the area, which is characterized by cold winters, high annual rainfall, early frost, and long autumn months. Because of the position of the wine region of Franken, winters can be very harsh, and frost can affect the size of the harvest each year.
For the best tasting experience, enjoy simple estate wines and Kabinett style wines shortly after bottling. Dry Spatlese wines, sweet wines, and high-quality Franken red wines should not be opened one or two years after bottling and maintain an excellent taste profile that continues to evolve for up to ten years.
Wineries to Visit
Come and discover the earthy wines of Franken in its wineries, where you will also be able to listen to personal stories from winemakers and their families.
This beautiful winery is an example of family heritage passed down through generations
Winery Fischer is a family-run winery situated in Wiesentheid. The family is trying to adopt modern and environmentally friendly methods to manages their vineyards. This Results in a big diversity of amazing wines they produce.
The Steinmann family has been producing wine since the Middle Ages, but it was in 1916 that Karl Steinmann Sr. bought the Pastorius House in the village of Sommerhausen, where the winery is now. The best grapes harvested from the vines, undergo fermentation in oak barrels from Germany and France to produce complex and tasty wines. Weingut Artur Steinmann in Pastoriushaus also has a hotel, perfect to relax after a day exploring the vineyards, and a conference room.
Brothers Joannes and Joseph Deppisch are the 5th generation of wine producers in their family, who has been owning the land where the winery is for 140 years. All the wines are produced respecting the biodiversity of the area, and the fermentation of the winery’s high-quality wines happens in the 400-years old cellar.
Discover more Wineries in Franken Wine Region, choose your favorite and we will take care of the rest for you.
Places to Visit if you are in Franken
Nürmberg – An elegant combination of old and new
Nürmberg is the capital city of Franken and it is best known for having been the seat of various historical events. The first settlement of the city houses a castle dating back to the year 1030. During the Holy Roman Empire, Nürmberg was often referred to as the “unofficial capital”, because the Imperial Parliament held its meetings in the Castle. Given this history, the Nazi Part chose the city for their conventions, known as Nürmberg Rallies.
The long history of this city has left several landmarks to future generations. The Imperial Castle (Kaiserburg) dominates the landscape from the hill where the Altstadt (Old Town) begins. The Castle is surrounded by half-timbered houses and the City Walls.
Nürmberg’s main square is the Hauptmarkt (Market Square), where a 19-meters long Gothic fountain called Schöner Brunnen sits; the fountain was built to represent the Holy Roman Empire and its virtues. Also, the large Market Square hosts the city’s iconic Christmas Market every year. This tradition is more than 400 years old!
To bring home a typical Nürmberger souvenir, look to the large array of homemade mustards. A great variety of mustards are crafted and produced all around the city.
Würzburg – A Charming Wine Capital
Würzburg is crossed by the Main River and it is considered the wine city of pure excellence. A true university town, Würzburg is well worth a visit, especially for the Würzburg Residence, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Residence was the palace of the Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and it was built during the first part of the 18th century. The palace is considered to be one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. The Residence is indeed stunning from the outside, but the inside unfolds a huge fresco by the Italian painter Giovan Battista Tiepolo. The fresco is the largest in the world and it represents the four continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Walking from the Old Town to the Fishermen’s Quarter, you will cross the Alte Mainbrücke, a pedestrian bridge on the Main River. The actual bridge is a fortified version, built in the 18th century, of the Medieval Bridge, which was destroyed due to floods.
Juliusspital Würzburg Winery
The Juliusspital Wurzburg Winery is located in the city of Wurzburg, not far from the Residenz, in a beautiful Baroque building. The winery was founded in 1576 by the Prince Bishop Julius Echter, which makes it the oldest winery in the city. The present winery combines modern architecture with the historical wooden barrel cellar, called Fusterbau. The vineyards of the Juliusspital spread for more than 100km and feature grapes of Silvaner, Riesling, and Scheurebe. Apart from the winery, the Juliusspital hosts a real hospital and retirement home.
The town of Ansbach is known as a former royal seat, it impresses visitors with its historical townscape and extraordinary buildings.
Top attractions in Ansbach include the Ansbach Residence, also known as Margrave’s Palace. The Residence is famous for its stunning Orangerie and for the Great Hall, that every two years hosts a festival dedicated to the life and work of Sebastian Bach. The Residence’s façade was designed mostly in Baroque style, while the interns present more Rococo features.
Ansbach is a city of festivals, the Bach Festival takes place here but it is not the only celebration in town during the year. The Rococo Festival is held in July and it consists of events and parades in historic costumes.
Franken, Where Culture and Nature Meet
Discover Natural Beauty of Franken
Endless landscapes, spas, and resorts make Franconia an area that is perfect for every single type of tourist. This region is famous for its natural attractiveness and for the variety of attractions it offers. Visitors will easily realise how diverse the landscape is and how quickly it changes throughout the region.
Schwarzachschlucht – The Gorge of Adventure
The Schwarzach Gorge is a 2.2 km long river valley as deep as a gorge in the Middle Franconian district of Nürmberg. The gorge is named after the Schwarzach River. The gorge is included in a 40-hectare nature reserve which was established in 1936.
The Schwarzachschlucht is a popular hiking area with various signed trails; hikers that are interested in the geological history of the area can follow the hiking trail with posted information boards through the gorge on the north bank of the Schwarzach River.
Walderlebniszentrum Tennenlohe – Experience the Forest
The Walderlebniszentrum Tennenlohe Forest is an area established by the Bavarian Forest Administration that has the goal of educating people on the forest area through the Forest Experience Centre.
The initiatives organised at the Centre educate visitors on topics such as sustainability, environmental degradation, geology, and local flora and fauna. The Nature Adventure Trail is based on sensory experience and invites both adults and children to discover all the stunning paths inside the Forest.
Heidelstein – Visit the Bavarian mountains
The Heidelstein is a mountain, 925.7 m above sea level in the mountains of the High Rhön Mountain Range. Its actual summit is in Bavaria and sometimes its main peak is also called Schwabenhimmel. On the Heidelstein visitors can find the Heidelstein Transmitter and a memorial of the Rhön Club. For those visiting the north-western slopes, this is where you can find the source of the River Ulster and the Rotes Moor Cross Country Skiing Centre.
Keep Calm and Eat Franconian Food
Lebkuchen – The Real Taste of German Christmas
Lebkuchen is a traditional Franconian gingerbread. Lebkuchen can be either spicy or sweet and also comes in a variety of shapes. The original recipe dates back from the 13th century, and since then it has become popular all over Germany. The ingredients of the Nürmberg version include ginger, cinnamon, nuts, and almonds.
One of the most interesting forms of the Lebkuchen is the ‘Witch House’, which became popular thanks to the fairy-tale Hansel and Gretel. Lebkuchen often comes in gorgeous tins, packages, and boxes, which are considered collector’s items.
Bratwürst – The Quintessential German Sausage
I think we can all agree that the Bratwürst is 100% German, but do you know where exactly it is from? Well, there is a dispute between Thüringen and Franconia as both claim to have invented the popular sausage.
Bratwürst is deliciously fresh and it is made with pork and veal, plus a selection of spices that give the sausage its iconic flavour. Sometimes, the Bratwürst is also known as Nürmberger Würst and it is a popular street food all over Bavaria. The best place to taste Bratwürst is at Christmas Market, together with a hot cup of Glühwein.
Leberkäse – Bavarian Comfort Food
The name of this popular dish is quite confusing, as it means “liver cheese”; however, there is no cheese in this loaf-shaped sausage that is a specialty of Bavaria and Austria, only a small percentage of the liver. In Franconia, the meatloaf is often cut in slices and served in a Semmel (bread roll) with mustard. This is another common food truck specialty and is also often served at home parties. It can also be served with Kartoffelsalad and sauerkraut.