It might have been the end of an era, so we went to Britzingen’s annual Weinberg in Flammen (Wine Hill in Flames) a couple of weeks ago.
I’m sure the festival will be held next year, it is too much fun to cancel, but new regulations concerning fireworks mean that this may have been the last installment with a pyrotechnic display. If so, the animals in the surrounding forest are probably thrilled – the show must disrupt the wildlife.
Between the vineyards and the forest is a grassy area where thousands gather for an evening event that celebrates community and family with lots of food available and the famous Britzingen wine, both chilled and mulled varieties. And maybe some others I didn’t notice.
The path up the hill is lit with burning tree stumps and many of those those heading to the top purchase torches at the winery to further light the path. It is reminiscent of those old black-and-white films where the villagers arm themselves with torches to confront the mad scientist at the gates of his mountaintop retreat.
It is tough to describe the scene and really do it justice. That may be because the sights are only part of the whole thing – the buzz of the crowds and smell of the food are in integral part of the evening.
This is a local festival, one that most tourists will never hear about. I’d say that was a shame, but realistically there is really no room on the hill above Britzingen for more people than already show up for this one.
If you are in the area at the end of January next year, be sure to check it out. Just don’t tell anyone about it.