July in Bavaria and the golf season is in full swing; the courses are in prime condition, the days are long and the weather warm and pleasant. Dream conditions for all golfers. A nice time too for wine lovers and Formula One fans with northern Bavaria offering Germany’s prime wine region of Franconia and just next door is Hockenheim, home to the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany. All of these things considered, you have the makings of a very special mid-summer break.
First held in 1926 and part of the F1 World Championship since 1951, the German Grand Prix is a firm fixture in the F1 calendar and having had just 3 homes in all this time, it is most known for being staged at the Nürburgring and more recently at the Hockenheimring.
Many options for experiencing the race are available. However, a premium offering in the upper tier of the impressive Südtribüne at Hockenheim with its unique view of almost the entire track from your VIP comfort seat, along with the start/finish area, pits and motodrome right in front of you, takes some beating. This can be complemented by the opportunity to enjoy all-day first class catering including breakfast, lunch, afternoon ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ and a range of drinks in the adjacent lounge. VIP parking, official programmes and earplugs are also included in packages. Attending for two days in 2014 would have you there for Qualifying on Saturday 19 July and the race on Sunday 20 July.
Accommodation in the area also covers all tastes and budgets. Around the Grand Prix, many establishments require a minimum stay but this can range from 2 to 5 nights. Heidelberg and Mannheim have many options as well as other more rural locations from where the commute to the circuit is no more than 30 minutes. Fantastic options are available along the wine route (“Weinstrasse”), mostly with fine restaurants and even better wine-cellars.
Würzburg and wine are inextricably intertwined and the city is undoubtedly Bavaria and Germany’s wine capital where opportunities to sample the excellent produce are countless. Many tours are available in Würzburg and other towns along Franconia’s Wine Route.
One such town is Frickenhausen, home to Weingut and Hotel Meintzinger. It is reputed to be one of the best wineries in the area where wine can be tasted in conjunction with meals or as a separate experience. It is also excellently located for the various tasting opportunities/experiences available around the time of the German GP.
The three main wine estates – Staatlicher Hofkeller, Bürgerspital and Juliusspital – offer Würzburg-based tours. The Hofkeller offers a 3.5 hr tour which includes sampling 8 wines.
Wine festivals are a constant fixture throughout the summer in the different wine towns. Around the time of the Grand Prix, there is one in Sommerach from 11-14 July. You just come and sit and enjoy the area’s great wines with other festival goers.
Beyond this, there are excellent wine tasting opportunities at the many Vinotheques. Each offer a selection of wine from about 20 of the wineries in the area to sample and, of course, purchase. And all have knowledgeable staff to advise.
bavaria4golf’s recommendations are:
1. Frankische Flachenpost in Randersacher
2. Vinothek Iphofen
3. Weinforum Franken
Additionally, there are wine cultural events in the area at the Frankenfestspiel in Röttingen where you can also enjoy the local wine. Events at Grand Prix time include:
– The Count of Monte Cristo (musical) 13 July
– Wiener Blut by Strauss (operetta) 17 July
Although many courses abound, Golfclub Würzburg stands out in the Würzburg area. The 18-hole layout was set up on highly diversified terrain. More than half of the holes provide an excellent view of Würzburg and the Fortress Marienberg with the others running through pristine nature and a population of old trees.
Golfclub St. Leon-Rot, a stone’s throw from Hockenheim, is arguably Germany’s finest golf facility. Host to the 2015 Solheim Cup, this comprehensive golf complex offers all you could want from a golfing experience… 2 Championship courses uniquely designed to allow all ages and levels to enjoy, a 9-hole “Executive course”, a course for the youngest players and comprehensive training facilities.