Ammerschwihr is, at first glance, a pretty dull village. On the large road that runs through the village, from Colmar through Kaysersberg, over the Col de Bonhomme towards Epinal, heavy trucks roars constantly. The road also splits the village into two parts; the new section on the plain is a residential area with lots of small producers, while the older section at the foot of the slopes have a more traditional layout and traditional buildings.
The village hosts - lo and behold - nearly 50 wineries. The reason is that Ammerschwihr has never had its’ own cooperatives. Some producers are large, notably Henri Ehrhart, Kuehn and J. B. Adam who are important trading houses.
Ammerschwihr owes, of course, its reputation to the most recent Alsace Grand Cru, Kaefferkopf. This land was actually the first in Alsace who received official protected status. It was delimited already in 1932, yet it took until 2006 before this mythical terroir was recognised as a Grand Cru within the AOC system. As much as 70% of the area is used for Gewurztraminer, which is often very fresh with obvious citrus aromas. The law allows Kaefferkopf to be sold as variatal wines (not Muscat), or as a traditional mixture of mainly Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
Producers in Ammerschwihr has often land on the Grands Crus of neighbouring villages; Wineck-Schlossberg (Katzenthal), Schlossberg (Kaysersberg/Kientzheim), Furstentum (Kientzheim) and Mambourg (Sigolsheim). Prices of the wines from the village are generally very reasonable. But while Kaefferkopf provides wonderful fresh wines, the more basic wines from Ammerschwihr can be rather uninspiring and dull. These grapes come from the plain which is not capable of giving grapes with the qualities nor the character of the vineyards on the slopes. So be very selective!
Ammerschwihr was sadly levelled to the ground in December 1944 after intense shelling by U.S. artillery. Remaining of the former medieval are the southern city gate and the ruin of the Hôtel de Ville, built in Renaissance style in 1552 (see picture on the left).