Historic center of Stadecken
Starting and end point of the Hiwweltour Stadecker Warte is Stadecken-Elsheim. Before we start the hike, we walk through the center of Stadecken. The beautiful market square, the church and especially the historic castle complex with castle, castle courtyard, castle garden and castle barn are worth a short detour. We almost don't notice the castle, whose origins date back to the 11th century, because nowadays it is firmly integrated into the townscape.
We supplement the provisions in our backpacks with a few homemade sausages at the traditional Harth butcher shop. The Harth-O-Mat, a sausage vending machine in front of the butcher's shop, also allows hikers to stock up on fresh sausage outside of opening hours. Nothing can stand in the way of a successful Hiwwelt tour!
The Hiwweltour officially begins at the parking lot near the tennis courts. We walk along the road for a short distance, but that's no big deal, because just a few meters later we turn right and completely immerse ourselves in nature for the next nine kilometers.
Up to the vineyard
The hiking trail leads us past the old cemetery of Hedesheim, one of the oldest burial sites in Rheinhessen. Shortly behind it, we meet a few horses in their paddocks, which first eye us skeptically, then approach us curiously, and finally turn back, since we are probably pretty uninteresting without carrots and apples.
We leave the horse paddocks behind us, pass meadows and wheat fields and hike up into the vineyards. After crossing a small spring forest, we reach the rest area on the Ermel and thus also the first great vantage point of this Hiwwelt tour. On the comfortable seat under the shady tree we can relax our legs for a moment and let our gaze wander over the Selz valley. Wonderful!
In the middle of nature
On the next part of the tour we lose sight of the wine a bit, but not without a worthy replacement. We walk with the forest on one side and a sea of grain on the other. Right now the sun fights its way out from behind the clouds and makes the ears of corn shine golden yellow. Countless butterflies flutter in front of us on the hiking trail and various animal sounds reach our ears from the forest. Pure nature!
And nature is far from being tired of surprising us. When we reach the next vineyard plateau, we actually discover a deer. Since we first think it is a dog - who expects a deer in the middle of the vineyard - it is unfortunately already gone before we can pull out our camera. But the best memories are always those that you just enjoy in the moment.
Picnic with a view
We enjoy the sun, the fresh air and the dreamlike views, for example at the Wingerthaus Schindegaul. The small yellow cottage with the red tiled roof is furnished with cozy seat cushions and a candle. Vineyard cottages like this one used to serve as bad-weather shelters for the winegrowers.
Bad weather is not to be seen today and only a few meters away waits the large table of wine, where we instead take our well-deserved break. We have the table all to ourselves, but there would easily be room for 20 people here. We enjoy our picnic: the fresh sausages from Stadecken, rolls, typical Rhine-Hessian "Spundekäs" and a glass of Pinot Gris. Once again we are overwhelmed by the magnificent view. We almost don't want to get up, but only almost!
Hiking and knowledge
Immediately below the large table is a terroir soil profile. Here you can see and touch the calcareous sandstone profile of the Stadeck "Lenchen" and learn interesting facts about the geology of the region and its impact on viticulture by means of the information board. We learn, for example, that the sand-lime soil up here originates from a sea that once reached far into the Rhenish Slate Mountains and the Hunsrück.
The hiking trail continues through idyllic vineyards. Again and again, behind bends and on hills, we can recognize the name giver of this Hiwwelt tour: the Stadecker Warte. First very small, then larger and larger. After a short detour, it finally stands in front of us - or rather we stand in front of it. The watchtower was built in 1930 and was initially used to mix protective agents that vintners used to treat their vines against fungal diseases. Later, a tower was added, which served as an observation post and from which flocks of starlings were chased away from the vineyard with shots.
The signature of the winemaker
We return to the Hiwweltour and continue our hike. Among all the bright grapes we discover for the first time a few vines with red grapes, which we of course admire extensively.
If there is one thing this hike does not lack, it is rest stops. The next one is already waiting under a large wooden pergola, which sooner or later will probably be completely covered with vines. Each of these resting places bears the loving signature of the local winegrowers. Here, for example, a small vineyard with a scallop shell memorial stone recalls pilgrimages to Santigo de Compostella, which Stadeck vintners and local residents have already made together three times.
Only a few meters further on, we discover the second terroir soil profile of this Hiwwelt tour. This time it shows the clay marl soil of the Spitzberg in Stadeck and once again provides a great geological insight. By the way, the vines don't have it so easy in this kind of soil - and yet it is precisely these difficult conditions that produce interesting and full-bodied wines.
A panorama at the end
The last ascent of this Hiwwelt tour has it all over again, but the reward awaits in the form of a large pavilion in the middle of the vineyard. At this point, the sun is blazing in the sky and we are happy about the shade of the pavilion, the wind blowing up here, and the great 360-degree panoramic view over the vineyards. At this point, I realize again that Rheinhessen is the largest wine-growing region in Germany. No matter in which direction I look, the vines seem to be endless.
From now on, the Hiwweltour leads only downhill. Past rolling meadows and flocks of sheep that bleat loudly, but not uninterestedly, as we approach. Past the idyllic Saubach, which after extensive renaturation is once again a near-natural body of water. Stadecken-Elsheim has us back.
All around successful
What a beautiful hike in Rheinhessen! We were spoiled with gorgeous weather, but also otherwise the Hiwweltour Stadecker Warte a varied and, above all, lovingly designed circular hiking trail that clearly bears the signature of the local vintners. Extensive nature, beautiful views and also a lot of interesting information about the Rhine-Hessian wine and its growing conditions - what more could you want?