Photos: Yvonne Hartmann
An hour outside of Berlin lies one the region’s most distinct fruit growing areas. Land carpeted with orchards, vineyards and fruit fields. Here you’ll find some of Germany’s most northernly-situated vineyards, but what is more pronounced and favoured are the fruit wines which you can find at almost each farm-store you pass. Taking you through this area is a 15km trek that weaves through the fields and orchards, allowing you to pick and sample direct from the trees, and the area’s very own, and unique, fruity wines.
Petzow – Groß Kreutz
The big question is whether fruit wine is actually wine?
The answer is yes, although in general terms, wine is reserved for that which is made from grapes. However, as the manufacturing process is basically the same, in that yeast is added to a fruit concentrate to make alcohol, we can safely say that fruit wine is actually a wine.
Fruit wine is made of anything but grapes however. Generally homemade, they are made of berries, as well as fruits, but can also be made from plants, blossoms, and roots. In fact, I have a strong memory of my Grandad fermenting elderberry and dandelion wines at home back when I lived in the Midlands.
Taste wise, fruit wines resemble extremely light schnapps, or an alcoholic punch. Basically it’s like fruit juice, but boozier! What’s fascinating about them though is their artisan nature. Every single farm in the area seems to have their own setup and supply, and when walking through these parts, you’ll find plenty of fruit-wine speakeasies where you can partake in a sample of the local brew.
The Fruit Trek
This fruit wine odyssey lies within the Havelland area which is well known throughout Germany for its orchards and fruit country. So much so there is an annual Baumblütenfest celebrated every year when the trees come to flower.
Wandering through the Havelland, from the southern tip and along the river is the Panoramaweg Werderobst hiking trail, a 15km route that takes you through the fields, orchards and farming areas. Along the way you can check the amazing views across the Havel, pick from wild berry bushes, apple and pear trees, and check out the range of jams, spreads and fruit wines along the way.
Starting out in Petzow — an amazing beautiful village full of old delicate farmhouses and an oldy-time church— the route journeys up and over the ‘Glindow Alps’ (anything over 20m above sea level in Brandenburg instantly becomes a mountain!!!) and through the Plötzin fields.
It’s only after about 5km do you come to an Aussichtspunkt with a great view over the bay. Here during the Baumblütenfest in April the fruit wine sellers assemble to sell their mixed concoctions in a regional fruit-wine mini-fair. You can just imagine how beautiful the area must look with all the trees and bushes flowering all around the same time.
Along the route you can take little ausflugs to bars, restaurants and shops. There are also plenty of little rustic farms that have fruit wine on the menu, allowing you to pop in have a glass, and take home a bottle (averaging around EUR 6 – 8). We can recommend Obsthof Lindicke, where we stopped off to buy some extremely good plum wine.
The route is well signposted, and there are plenty of information points to provide more background about the fruits and vegetation that you may or may not be putting in your pockets for later consumption.
How to get there
To get to Petzow, you first have to take the Regional Bahn from Berlin to Werder (Havel). Here take the 607 bus to Petzow Schlosspark. You can also walk from Werder (Havel), where the Panoramaweg is also signposted, but this will add on another 5km to your journey.
The Panoramaweg comes to finish at a monument to Otto Lilienthal, one of the pioneers of early flight, which lies in the middle of a field overlooking the surrounding area. Sadly, this end point isn’t very accessible to public transport, so you need throw another three kilometres on top in order to get the station at Groß Kreutz.
It’s a great hike through marvellous countryside. Although, it’s best recommended to come here in Spring when the fruit wine sellers are all out selling the blossom-wines – and of course, during harvest period when it’s easier to pocket a few (a lot) of apples and pears here and there. The fruit wines, of which we sampled, were incredible and living in the city, are very hard to come by, so its worth a visit to stock up, take home and enjoy.
For more information on the hiking and trail check out the tourism page here.
Whisky and Gin
If you have even more time to kill then a small detour will take you to the Glina Distillery, one of the few single malt distilleries in Northern Germany. Here, unsurpsisingly due to the amount of juniper berries in the area, they also produce a crafty little gin. German whisky often goes under the radar, but is often extremely well made and worth checking out.