Leonberg is well known. From here come the beautiful dogs, named after the town where they are bred. Recently, a puppy even became a city godchild and appears at events as an ambassador for Leonberg. Drivers have probably heard of Leonberg, too, if they often travel to or from Stuttgart in a westerly direction and the traffic radio at the autobahn interchange once again reports that it will take longer to get there.
But Leonberg and wine? This is new to most. Winegrowing has been going on here for a long time.
I have been living in the neighboring village for several years, and have traveled professionally to countless wine-growing regions all over the world, from America to Australia. About the Leonberg wines, however, I knew as good as nothing.
It’s perfect that this summer I’m on the road for #TastyStuttgart in the region in terms of wine.
For my foray through the Leonberg vineyards I have an expert companion with me. Albert Kaspari, chairman of the local fruit, garden and wine-growing association. We meet in the old town at the weekly market, which always takes place on Wednesdays in front of the picturesque half-timbered backdrop.
Quickly buy a few juicy cherries from the region and then we’re on our way.
First stop: Seelesberg. A cozy place, not far from the road to Stuttgart – dreamy, quite hidden and really quiet.
In the past it was a very social event at least once a year, when the winegrowers celebrated their wine harvest. This is still reminded by the stone bench with the engraving of 1904 under the more than hundred year old lime tree. All around, nature has taken over again over time and turned it into a green room with a view.
A few rows of vines still exist here today, in Albert’s garden. A wild paradise full of vines, cherry trees, flowers and vegetables on several terraces, in the most beautiful hillside location. He proudly shows me a photo of the vine blossom on his cell phone, which has just ended (in the neighboring town of Gerlingen with its popular wine blossom festival). The bones on the vines are now turning into little berries. When you get up close, they still have a delicate floral scent.
Wenger house no. 1
A few more vines grow in the Lange Furche, the second of four vineyards in Leonberg and its district Eltingen. Above, there is a little stone house, perhaps five square meters in size, with a roofed terrace (cover photo), from which one has a good view of the vines – and the house number 1, although there is no official street to it. The vineyard guard used to keep watch here. Would also be a nice place for a romantic wine picnic, but unfortunately you can’t rent it privately.
Officially, all the Leonberg vineyards belong to the Ehrenberg vineyard, which we will visit next. Below, directly opposite, runs the highway Stuttgart – Karlsruhe, parallel the road through the Mahdental – I am clearly on the nicer side on this bright sunny morning. Where the vineyard becomes flatter, a colorful orchard borders on it. A black and white butterfly flutters through the picture.
The air is shimmering in the heat, working in the vineyard would be quite tedious now, so completely without shade. But there is no such thing where vines grow, because only in the sun do the berries ripen properly. Especially good on a slope, as here, because the incidence of light is more favorable than on the plain.
The 35 winegrowers cultivate a total of only 4.5 hectares, exclusively as a sideline or hobby. Albert, who himself comes from a family of winemakers, answers what drives them before I can ask:
The love of nature for one. And he would like to preserve the viticulture as a cultural asset in Leonberg with pleasure. After all, Leonberg is the only community in the Boblingen district where wine grows. And of course, they are a little proud of it here already.
Feinau and the winegrowers’ festival
The most famous vineyard in Leonberg is located in the Feinau, on the other side of the highway, in the middle of the nature reserve.
Idyllically situated at the edge of the forest, the vineyard slopes steeply downward. Ideal for the vines, which are protected against the cold north wind and can optimally catch the sun’s rays. Flowers and grasses grow between the vines, other winemakers leave the ground bare, depending on their personal philosophy.
In most of the plots, different grape varieties thrive side by side, as has happened over time. Since the area is too small to produce enough wine from each variety, the best solution is the mixed set, as the technical term goes.
Schiller wine, a specialty of Wurttemberg
The result is a Wurttemberg specialty: Schiller wine. For this, red and white grapes are harvested from one plot, blended before maceration and fermented together. It probably owes its color to its delicate iridescence.
The vineyard in the Feinau is cultivated by several winegrowers, one of them is Werner Eckstein, who opens his vineyard especially for us. From the terrace in front of the small barn, the view sweeps over the Feinau into the countryside.
A wonderful backdrop for the Wengerterfest, to which the Leonberg winegrowers have been inviting visitors every summer for more than 20 years. Only wines from last year’s harvest are served by the winegrowers.
Shuttle to the vineyard
And as with every decent festival, delicious food is also part of it: regional specialties like Deie, a kind of tarte flambee, for example, but also no one has to do without steak and Rote (sausage).
Like wine taverns, the stalls in the Feinau are lined up between the forest and the vines to form a long bar. Especially beautiful in the evening, when everything is illuminated. A unique atmosphere, Albert enthuses, and I promise to come to the Feinau for a glass of wine this year. Or two.
So, if there’s traffic jam on the A8 again, this would be a good opportunity to leave the highway and pay a visit to the beautiful old town of Leonberg.
More information and our Delicious tips:
How to get there: From Stuttgart by car via the A8, Leonberg exit. Or comfortably by VVS, S6/S60 or bus 92.
Find accommodation in Leonberg (affiliate link: no extra costs for you, small commission for us)
Wengerterfest in the Feinau: Takes place on the last weekend in July. Parking is not possible in the nature reserve, it is best to leave the car at the resp. leave near the Leobad. Or come by bus or train, then you can enjoy the wine without hesitation.
From the parking lot at the Leobad a free shuttle goes up to the Feinau. Running is also no problem, around ca. The walk takes 20 minutes.
Pomeranzengarten Leonberg: For fans of historical gardens a stop in the Pomeranzengarten below the Leonberg castle is worthwhile.
In spring the Japanese cherry trees turn the avenue into a Swabian hanami.
Old town: Very pretty is also the old town of Leonberg around the market place. On Wednesdays there is a weekly market with regional products.
Tip: For your walk, get the free brochure “20 places of interest in the historic center” (at the i-point in the city hall).
Food & Drink:
There are several pubs and cafes in Leonberg, my favorite is Brauhaus Sacher at the train station (sorry, no wine tip for once) with monthly changing craft beers.
You can also eat well at the Mauritius, in summer on the terrace. The flair is chill, the portions are generous and the service is friendly – it fits.
You can find even more tips for enjoyment in the Stuttgart region at www.tastystuttgart.de.
This article was produced in cooperation with the city of Leonberg and Regio Stuttgart Marketing- und Tourismus GmbH. This has no influence on the type, content and scope, my opinion remains as always my own.