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Being a wine lover I enjoy visiting vineyards all over the world. That it apparently took a pandemic to discover some of the best wineries and vineyards of my own country The Netherlands is a bit embarrassing. But better late than never, right?! Join me on this journey in tracking down the remarkable wines of South Limburg via wine walking and cycle routes and by visiting vineyards and wineries.
South Limburg = wine!
More than one-third of Dutch wine grapes are grown in Limburg, the southernmost province of The Netherlands. Last summer a record of eight consecutive days with a temperature of more than 30°C was measured. The sun and the rich marl soil benefit the vines, along with craftsmanship that the local winegrowers have developed over the years. Time to explore and taste some Limburg wine!
As mentioned in my earlier article South Limburg: enjoy the Burgundian lifestyle and nature in 4 amazing days, I loved spending (at least) a wonderful day walking or cycling around and visit some vineyards in the beautiful rolling countryside of South Limburg. In this article I will describe what we have done during our lovely Wine Day. Basically a Wine Walking Route in the morning and visiting two wineries in the afternoon. Plus additional suggestions to expand the wine theme of your South Limburg trip with 1 or 2 days extra.
In France they say ‘La Douce France’, which means something like ‘Living like a God in France’. Let me show you ‘La Douce South Limburg’ and feel like ‘Living like a God in France ehh… in South Limburg!
Wine Walking Route – Wahlwiller Eys
We started the day with walking the ‘Route des Vin’ wine route around Wahlwiller and Eys.
- Length: 10km
- Difficulty: moderate
- Duration: 10:00-14:40h including two stops
- Start and finish: J.F. Kennedystraat parking lot in Wahlwiller (municipality Gulpen-Wittem)
- Check out the route map
Wahlwiller is a very logical start and finish point for a hike along various vineyards. It was declared Wine Village in 2005. The Wahlwiller Wine Festival (‘Wahlwiller Wijnfeest’) is held annually in the last weekend of September. There are tastings and guided vineyard tours.
On Funfair Sunday (‘Kermiszondag’, the 3rd or 4th Sunday in June) a Village Wine Tasting is held. Regional wine farmers show their latest products at eight different locations throughout the village that you can taste (14:00-18:00h). There is also a traditional procession with a Wine Queen and live music.
The Wahlwiller Wine Festival is accessible via the Wiengetske gate. After passing this gate, you will walk along to the three vineyards of Wahlwiller (1-3 mentioned below) that are located near the Selzerbeek.
During this walking wine route we saw five different vineyards and wineries throughout the Wahlwiller Eys area in South Limburg:
- Wittemer Vineyard
- Hubertus Vineyard
- Cunibertus Vineyard
- Domein Aldenborgh
- Domaine Salamander
This wine route is stunning with its great views over the gorgeous landscape. We very much enjoyed it. Most of these vineyards are purely vineyards, no tasting room or something like that. Not like the sophisticated wineries I have seen in Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Croatia for example. Basic but pure.
Along the route there are clear signs (‘Route des Vins’) and at the vineyards information boards learn you more about the grape varieties, types of wine, the growing and wine process, etc. Very interesting! One of these vineyards, the Wittemer Vineyard, is the oldest vineyard in The Netherlands.
Standing in the vineyard, with a view over the rolling Limburg landscape, you would almost feel like you are abroad.
The route is varied and beautiful. Not crowded at all while it was top holiday season in July. We only saw a few other hikers and cyclists along the way. It was cloudy but the sun came out on a regular basis on our Wine Day in South Limburg. Consequently, we felt very relaxed and lucky!
During the route you will probably notice the numerous well-maintained chapels, crosses with Jesus Christ, Maria statues and churches. Signs that the people of the southern part of The Netherlands (Limburg and North Brabant) is still quite religious. Catholic that is.
Ubachsberg & Eys
Along the route, slightly depending on your starting time, I would suggest to have brunch or lunch at Herberg de Bernardushoeve in Ubachsberg. There you can enjoy a marvelous view and excellent ‘zuurvlees’ (local meat stew). When we were here in July 2020, it was very busy there, so we walked further.
About 15 min walking later we stopped at Herberg Bie de Tantes in Eys. They have many great lunch and dinner options, but it was still early. So we ‘only’ ordered two slices of delicious ‘Limburgse Vlaai’ (local fruit pie) before we walked further. Yummy! Soon we had to walk up some steps, a good opportunity to burn those calories.
We had the privilege to meet and talk to passionate wine farmer John Cox, owner of the Domaine Salamander. The vineyard is located in the cute village Eys, along the wine walking route. He named the vineyard after the salamanders he noticed around here. John has been growing wine grapes for more than 15 years now, with a bit of help from his little grandson.
Domaine Salamander offers a variety of ‘Limburg Country Wine’. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir, Pinor Noir Rosé and three types of mixed wines (Cuvee). Not all varieties are always standard available. No food. For the wine tasting and two bottles of wine to go we paid EUR 30. Tip: check which year you tasted wine of and ask for that year if you want to buy a bottle for home.
When you are at Domaine Salamander, you are about half way the wine walking route. If you do the route clockwise, like we did, the second half is mainly walking, without any new vineyards. At the end in Wahlwiller there are some restaurants and cafes.
Visiting vineyards in South Limburg
In the afternoon of our Wine Day in South Limburg we decided to visit two vineyards, Fromberg Winery and Wine Estate St. Martinus. We did this part by car, but it’s definitely also possible by e-bike, scooter or on foot. Just don’t drink and drive!
Also, you need to make sure you do not start too late visiting the wineries because most close around 18:00h. Like other vineyards I have visited around the world, there are no dinner options here. So you will have to visit during the day, not evening. The bigger wineries do serve snack platters to take off the edge of your hunger. Both wineries we visited in the afternoon have both indoor and outdoor seating. Therefore, you could also visit on a rainy day.
- Open: Thu & Fri 13:00-18:00h, Sat 10:00-18:00h, closed Sun-Wed
- Tours: Sat 10:00h
- Address: Breedenweg 1 in Ubachsberg
We decided to go to Fromberg Winery (Wijngoed Fromberg) first as on their website it was mentioned they also serve some food. We were hungry and thirsty from the 10km wine walking route! This is also a wedding location, although initially I could not imagine that when driving up the small parking lot.
The terrace is self-service. In the wine & delicacy shop you can buy Fromberg wine by the glass and bottles. You can also fill a snack board with local products, like cheese, dried sausage, mini crackers, fig jam, olives, etc. Home-made jams, regional syrups, sauces and various gift packages are also for sale. We spent EUR 35 (cash or card).
Fromberg offers all kinds of package deals that include for example High Wine, guided tour, short golf, knapsack, bird of prey, covered wagon ride, visiting a quarry or mines, scooter tour and Wine & Dine. These packages need to be ordered at least one day in advance. The so-called knapsack package is a nice example (EUR 21 pp). You get a tea towel folded like a bag on a stick, which you put over your shoulder, walk 45 or 90 min to a nice pick-nick spot and there you enjoy sandwiches, wine, fruit, etc.
Fromberg are “artisan wine producers who have been making beautiful, honest, Limburg wines since 1994 that can more than withstand the test of criticism”. On the menu Fromberg offers three still white wines (Auxerrois, Müller Thurgrau and QV), one rosé, two red wines (Pinot Noir and Barrique Fleur), a dessert wine (Solaris), plus three sparkling wines (brut). My favorite Fromberg wine is the Müller Thurgrau, very crispy and fruity.
The Fromberger Brut Rustique was awarded Best Sparkling Wine of the Lower Countries.
St. Martinus Wine Estate
- Open: Apr-Oct Tue-Fri 10:00-18:00h, Sat-Sun 11:00-18:00h, Nov-Apr Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00h, Sat 12:00-17:00h, wine tasting daily possible
- Tours:every Wed, Fri and Sat 14:00h (not on public holidays)
- Address: Rott 21 A in Vijlen
Wine Estate St. Martinus (Wijndomein St. Martinus) in Vijlen is in a class of its own, growing and producing sustainable and (inter)national award winning wines from their own wine cellars since 1988. This is the largest (200 acres) vineyard in The Netherlands and the first vineyard to commercially produce red Dutch wine. St. Martinus is the vineyard that by its setting and offerings mostly reminds me of the vineyards that I normally visit abroad.
Wine Estate St. Martinus offerings are seasonable, currently 13 different wines. Most wines have cute names like Bergdorpje (mountain village), Geluk (happiness) and Vriendschap (friendship). Sometimes they also include a female name. The owner of St. Martinus was voted Best Vineyard Owner. Mr Beurskens is very professional with 25+ years of wine growing experience, leading also a consultancy firm that advises other winegrowers internationally. In 2014, a knowledge center was opened where research is conducted into more sustainable viticulture.
The wine tour over the vineyards and wine cellars (4 floors) takes two hours (EUR 19.50 pp), rounded up by a wine tasting of three wines. Tours should be booked online via the events calendar. Private tastings, tours and masterclasses are also possible. A tasting of three wines costs EUR 9 pp. We spent EUR 60 tasting three wines, a snack platter and two wine bottles (EUR 15.95 each) to take home.
Besides, usually the 3rd weekend of September there are Open Wine Days in South Limburg that St. Martinus participates in. Last year they did not due to COVID-19. On so-called Pickers Days (a Saturday and Sunday in October) you can help picking the grapes at St. Martinus.
Not all vineyards of St. Martinus are in Vijlen. On their Langeberg location in Voerendaal there is also a pop-up Wine Restaurant Op Het Land. You can have dinner there in the middle of the vineyard (open Sep 12 – Oct 11, 2020). Quite a unique setting with an upscale, sophisticated menu and of course matching wines of St. Martinus.
Come in as guest and leave as a friend.Wijn Restaurant Op Het Land
If I may suggest, it would be perfect to end the Wine Day by having dinner in the evening at a wine restaurant in the area. Either Wine Restaurant Op Het Land in Voerendaal (mentioned above, if open) or Wine Restaurant Mes Amis in Maastricht. Make reservations weeks in advance.
In case of Mes Amis you would need accommodation in Maastricht, a taxi or one of your party should stay sober to be able to drive you back safely to your accommodation elsewhere in South Limburg. Or find another local restaurant that serves regional wines, such as Boscafe ‘t Hijgend Hert in Vijlen.
This is the end of the description of our Wine Day in South Limburg. Hope you liked it and find it inspiring. Below additional and alternative suggestions.
More Wine Routes on Foot
Besides the above described wine walking route in the Wahlwiller Eys area, there are more wine walking routes that you may want to explore on a 2nd or 3rd day in South Limburg:
- Vineyard Walk Noorbeek (7.3km) from Burgemeester Bogmanplein parking lot in Noorbeek
- Wine Route Winthagen (8.7km) from Kunrader Quarry, Bergseweg in Voerendaal
- Wine Route Ubachsberg (11.8km) from Mingersborg 20-22 in Voerendaal
Hill Country Wine Cycle Route
If you prefer to cycle instead of walking, or in addition to walking and do multiple Wine Days in South Limburg, I would suggest the following Wine Cycle Route. How many days it will take you will depend on your speed and transportation method (regular bike, e-bike, racing bike, moped, scooter).
- Length: 75km
- Difficulty: moderate to tough
- Duration: 1-3 days
- Start and finish: Rotterstraat 6-14 in Vijlen
- Check out the route map
During this Wine Cycle Route throughout South Limburg, you will cycle along some well-known vineyards of the area. For example the earlier mentioned Fromberg Winery and Wine Estate St. Martinus, but also some other wineries worth a pit-stop, like Domain Holset, where you can also spend the night at their vineyard.
In addition, you will cycle along several places that are known for their South Limburg regional products, like Chateau St. Gerlach in Valkenburg (own label ‘le Verger de Camille’) and Eyserhalte in Eys. Eyserhalte also offers Grill To Go with flammkuchen, pumpkin soup, wildburger, etc.
Taking into account the rolling hilly landscape that characterizes South Limburg, I would strongly suggest to do this Wine Cycle Route at least by e-bike. And to bring an extra battery! This route is suitable for the experienced, sporty cyclist since there will be quite some hill climbing involved.
By e-bike you could split the route in two days for example. On the first day you can make an 8-shape (41km) and the next day the rest, see below. In that case you will need to have a car with bicycle rack and e-bikes yourself or rent e-bikes locally.
The Netherlands has a national bicycle path network that works via numbered junctions. The junctions of this Wine Cycle Route in chronological order are: 90 – 86 – 85 – 58 – 59 – 60 – 61 – 63 – 62 – 56 – 55 – 54 – 57 – 88 – 87 – 89 – 97 – 96 – 94 – 93 – 90.
Tip: write down the junction numbers on a piece of masking tape and stick it on your bicycle’s handlebars.
Splitting this cycling route in two days? Here is a selection of the places you will cycle past these days with the Hill Country Wine Cycle Route and possibly stop by.
Cycling day #1 (41km)
- start at Wine Estate St. Martinus in Vijlen
- Enjoy lunch with a view at Herberg de Bernardushoeve
- Make a pit-shop-stop at Eyserhalte delicacy shop (apple with pear syrup!)
- For example diner (and possibly stay at) Castle Vaalserbroek
Cycling day #2 (34km)
- Put your bicycles on the car and drive to Wahlwiller parking lot at J.F. Kennedystraat
- Start the day with a piece of delicious Limburgse vlaai at A Gen Kirk in Vijlen
- Cycle past the castles of Wittem en Wijlre
- Consider a pit-stop at Pauls in Wijlre if you are hungry and/or thirsty
- Café-Trattoria ’t Graefke in Schin op Geul for a beer, wine and/or dinner
- Optional extra: Wine Walking Route as described above in the evening sun (10km)
Also a fun cyling route in the South Limburg area that involves local delicacies: ANWB Lekkernijen Route (46km) from Epen. From typical Limburg pie and fresh fruit to top-class beer and wine.
Where to stay
Want to spend the night at a vineyard? Check out Domein Holset in Lemiers, specialized in sparkling wine, or Villa de Proosdij in Klimmen, a boutique hotel with vineyard (14km from Maastricht). Both meet my long list of strict criteria that accommodation of my choice must meet. Both are definitely romantic and full of atmosphere. Ideal for Valentine’s Day or another special occassion with your loved one.
For more accommodation suggestions please check my earlier article South Limburg: enjoy the Burgundian lifestyle and nature in 4 amazing days.
More wineries & vineyards in South Limburg
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are several other wineries and vineyards in South Limburg that are worth visiting. Most are smaller but they can definitely be fun too! I would suggest to always try to make an appointment in advance if you want to have a tour and/or tasting. Most wineries have currently suspended their wine tastings and tours due to COVID-19. The main ones of interest are:
- Domein Holset in Lemiers (B&B, vineyard and winery specialized in sparkling wine)*
- Vineyard Apostelhoeve in Maastricht (EUR 17.50 pp by 12 or more, or EUR 210)
- Vineyard Raarberg in Meerssen (Thu-Sat 12:00-18:00h, min 4 pers. EUR 15 pp)
- Wijndomein De Planck in Slenaken (min 12 pers. EUR 12.50 pp)
- Wijngoed Raar Saint Remi in Meerssen (tastings by appointment)
- Wittemer Wijngaard in Wahlwiller (small, tour 8-30 pers. EUR 22 pp)
- Wijndomein Mergelsberg in Noorbeek (tastings/tour on request, shop online)
- Wine Estate Aldenborgh in Eys (email for tasting appointment)
* participant of the national Open Wine Days in September with tastings and tours
See the map below for locations and more vineyards in South Limburg. The purple marked wineries have tastings and tours. The pink ones are not much more than a shop with vineyard and some are Open Wine Day participant (*). The blue ones are very small and usually not much more than a vineyard to see (some with occassional tour on request).
Map vineyards & wineries South Limburg
This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and more! It is smartphone friendly; you can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. To customize the map to your interests, simply (un)select categories. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
When to visit South Limburg wineries
Some wineries and vineyards are only open in summer, but the bigger ones mentioned in this article are open year round or at least by appointment. We enjoyed visiting the vineyards and wineries of South Limburg in July. If you visit South Limburg in September or October, you may want to attend one of the wine themed regional events. Or pick grapes at one of the vineyards that allow visitors to do that on appointment.
If you want to pick grapes at a vineyard, plan this in time, like at least three weeks in advance, right when the exact picking dates are known. Keep an eye on the websites of wineries, for instance of the earlier mentioned Wine Estate St. Martinus and search for ‘plukkersdagen’. Just don’t be surprised if you need to get a (paid) ticket in order to participate in the grape picking.
What to bring
Are you going walking and/or cycling in South Limburg to visit some wineries and vineyards? Things I would recommend not to forget to bring the following items:
- sunglasses and sunscreen
- cash and debit card
- backpack or bicycle bag to stash some purchased wine
- snacks, sandwiches, fruit, water
- hiking boots, sporty clothes
- if you bring your e-bike: charging cable and spare battery
- a good mood and an interest for wine
And of course your camera!
More South Limburg
For more information about…
- Other fun things to do
- Other walking routes
- Where (else) to eat
- Where (else) to stay
- How to get there and around
- When to visit
- What does it cost
…check out my earlier article South Limburg: enjoy the Burgundian lifestyle and nature in 4 amazing days.
Need more South Limburg wine route inspiration? Here you will find more wine routes (19 in total).
More Dutch wineries
The Netherlands has more wineries and vineyards than you might think. The first winery I ever visited in The Netherlands was Wijndomein De Koen in Zuid Scharwoude, right next to Alkmaar. It was nice and already some time ago, yet I still have to write about it, oops!
There are plenty of other wineries and vineyards that I would like to visit in The Netherlands such as:
- Vineyard Hof van Twente in Bentelo
- Wijnboerderij ’t Heekenbroek in Drempt
- Wijnhoeve De Heikant in ‘wine village’ Groesbeek
- Domein Hof te Dieren in Dieren
- Vineyard de Frysling in Twijzel
And that’s just to name a few! I am planning to write another article on Dutch wineries and vineyards later this year. By the way, these five are outside of South Limburg are not included in the map above.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you find it useful. I wish you a lot of fun hiking and cycling around the vineyards and tasting at the wineries of South Limburg! Should you have any additional tips or a question, please do not hesitate to leave a message below.
Want to read more articles about wine tasting around the world? Then please go to the Wine Blog Archives.
Read more articles about The Netherlands in the Netherlands Blog Archives.
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Last Updated on 02/27/2021 by Flitter Fever