Heckenwirtschaft in Germany: Pop-Up Winegrower Restaurant

There’s still time before Easter to get my artsy-craftsy book,

Traditional Old-World Easter-Egg Coloring Techniques.

In it, I put together what I learned in Europe as traditional egg-dyeing methods, which will also save you packaging, chemicals and money over the supermarket dye kits.

This book makes an excellent instructional manual for teaching children how to color eggs, too.

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In fact, you can get any of my cook-, photo-, English-language-learning- and other types of books, all on Amazon.  

This post was originally published on April 21, 2013 and updated on April 7, 2020.

A Heckenwirtschaft is very European, and this word is what the local Franconians (a part of Bavaria) call it. It’s a sort of pop-up restaurant at a winegrower’s. They serve their own local wine there along with typical German food such as dark bread, cheese, salami and cold cuts. But the wine is the focus. The selection at this one was Schwarzriesling, a red wine that is otherwise known as pinot noir; Bacchus, a very fruity white wine and, while not my favorite wine, is my favorite name for a grape; plus the usual suspects of Riesling and Sylvaner.

Heckenwirtschaft literally translates from German as “hedge business.” They are only allowed to open a few weeks in the spring and fall each year. I had been to the one we visited last week a couple of times before. It is run by Christine Rippstein, and I consider her an old friend of mine. I’ve given her photos and some quilling and she’s given me wine. It works out very well for me! Here’s a shot of her place:

To signal they are open, owners traditionally hang a broom or a bough or two of – what else – branches from the hedge on the building. They are sometimes part of a vineyard or just associated with the local winemaker in some way.

The wine was good, as usual, and Christine was there, working her butt off, along with her mother and daughter, to get the clientele their wine, cheese and bratwurst. Here’s a shot of Christine standing beside my German “mom”, Hilde:

LOVE the German Easter/Spring decorations:

I was THRILLED to see the quilling I’d given Christine last year hanging in the window!

This building has walls and ceilings constructed of heavy wooden beams and old-fashioned mud-and-straw. Of course, the ceiling isn’t that old, but the construction method is. I’m sure the “mud” has been replaced by more reliable concrete or plaster, but it still has its charms:

You can actually see the straw in this detail:

I took a secret photo of the people we were sharing the table with. I just like the way the lighting turned out. These guys were more than a little toasted and having a wonderful time, though they look kinda mad. Germans.

The door to the wine tasting room was also very old fashioned and had a carving that means, roughly, “close the door.”

It was a wonderful way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in Bavaria. This week the weather is just as sunny but a little cooler. No invitations to a Heckenwirtschaft this weekend, but I am meeting some friends later for wine and Greek food. I went to the local open-air market yesterday and got some wonderfully delicate strawberries and lovely tiny tomatoes. I’m serving them with some Spanish wine and cheese from Switzerland I got at the deli that I rode my bike to. How European! You guys should really come and visit!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

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