Vibrant Vienna

 

WINING

 

 

in Vienna

 

 

It’s hard to believe you can grow wine in a bustling city, but this is the reality in Austria’s capital. Hop on to a tram or grab one of the city’s free bikes and it won’t be long before you’re in the middle of extensive vineyards.

 

Camilla Alfthan

 

 

Vienna is the only capital city in the world producing significant amounts of within the city limits. And while you probably won’t be stomping the grapes yourself you’ll certainly be enjoying some excellent local fruity and local wines, including Reisling, Weissburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Pino blanc, and Sauvignon blanc.

Hundreds of private cellars can be found as you approach the Danube River, including the capital’s oldest wine producing area, where monks were the first to make a basic white for the table at a time when wine was almost as important as religion. One of the vineyards formerly run by monks is now in the capable hands of the Wieninger family.

For Fritz Wieninger, winemaking is a way of life. The third generation winemaker, is munching on bread at his vineyard, Weingut Wieninger, when we meet. He’s just hosted a wine tasting and unlike most winemakers, he doesn’t spit out his vintages if he doesn’t have to.

The oldest bottles in his cellar date back to the 1950s, when Vienna was divided into four areas, with Weingut Wieninger in the section under Russian control. Wine was not at its best during that time; the economy was struggling after the collapse of the empire, and people were seeking out inexpensive wines. That all changed in the 80s and 90s, when people started demanding quality and not just quantity.

“When I started, in 1987, it was the perfect time to develop a quality winery,” says Wieninger. Despite the many hours of manual work required, he decided to go biodynamic, even using horse manure from the Spanish Riding School as fertilizer.

“At first I thought it wasn’t possible to go biodynamic. The industry kept saying that all these chemicals are needed, but it’s not true. We really don’t need them,” he says with a smile.

 

Horse manure from the Spanish Riding School is used as fertilizer to help grow the vines

 

While some vineyards in the area have restaurants, other focus on design, offering comfortable lounges from which you can gaze at stunning views while sipping a glass of the house wine. You can also try one of the small traditional taverns, heuriger, which are considered to be the birthplace of the traditional folk song. Of the roughly 70,000 folksongs, or Wienerlied, a few hundred still performed throughout the region today.

The most famous wine in Vienna is Wiener Gemischter Satz, a blend of various white grapes which winemakers are now taking special pride in refining. Over the past few years red wines have also been added to the Viennese wine mix – typically burgundies and pinot noir.

Because the land on which the vineyards sit is so valuable, there’s a lot of pressure from investors, who are keen to build luxury villas overlooking the city. This is one reason why Wieninger is determined to safeguard the age old traditions he’s inherited.

“If we don’t protect the land we won’t be able to make wine in a few years’ time. It’s like the parks in Vienna – they are unique. There’s just one city in the whole world which has its own wine production so it has to be protected.”

 

 

FIND THE VINES :

 

While locals visit the vineyards year round, harvest time, which starts early September, is when most travelers make the journey.

Wine and winerlieder

For excellent wines and traditional food, head to the 10er Marie of the Fuhrgassi Huber in the Ottakring district. Here, you can also enjoy the Wienerlied in a historic building dating back to1740 – the oldest of its kind.

Ottakringer Str. 222-224 fuhrgassl-huber.at/10er-marie

 

Wine to go

For the largest choice of biodynamic wines, go to the Wieniger Weingut for white wines, red wines, dessert wines, and bubbly.

Stammersdorferstr. 31 wieninger.at

 

Wine and design

The Christ wine tavern is situated in a modern building made of natural stone, wood, and glass, with a beautifully lit wine bar and great food.

Amtsstr. 10-14

weingut-christ.at

 

Wine in the vines

Vienna’s 19th district, Grinzing, is known for its numerous heurigers. Hajszan is an oasis in the middle of the vines, where you can nibble on delicious fare while sipping wine in lounge chairs, with the Leopoldsberg as a backdrop. Another so-called “buschenshank” is Mayer am Nussberg.

Grinzigerstr. 86 hajszanneumann.com  Kahlenbergerstr. visavis 210 mayeramnussberg.at

 

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Empress Sisi

 

Empress Sisi in the saddle.

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