During the Middle Ages, each district of Vienna had its own vineyards. In the 16th century, the city’s wine tavern culture sprang to life. You’re going to experience in Vienna wine touch that you will never forget.
- 1 Vienna Wine Production
- 2 Vienna Wine Experience
- 3 Kampthal, Burgenland & Krems – Winemaking Story
- 4 Wachau Wine Valley
- 5 Vienna Wine Cellar Tours
- 6 New Wine Making Technique Revealed
- 7 Vienna Wine Tasting Course – Wine Tasting Vienna
- 8 The Wine Culture of Vienna
- 9 Affordable Food and Wine at Stammersdorf
- 10 Wine Tasting Vienna at Stammersdorf
- 11 Vienna Wine Hiking Day
- 12 Enjoying Wine in Autumn
- 13 Vienna Wine Tour of the Vineyards
- 14 Weinviertel Draisine Tour
- 15 Gemischter Satz
- 16 International Vienna Wine Festival VieVinum
- 17 Wachau Gourmet Festival
- 18 Related articles:
The Heurigen (wine taverns) scene was made possible through an imperial edict, which allowed growers to serve food with their wine. This wine culture continues to thrive.
Fine wine from Vienna is today counted among the classic wines of the world.
Vienna Wine Production
More than 700 acres of wine production is located within city limits and 70 percent of the grapes is used for white wine production such as Wine types such as Riesling, Weissburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon blanc and Gelber Muskatteller. All wines that play a specific role in food and the living in the worlds wine capitol.
More producers are turning to red wine these years, but main production is still on white wine.
The Vienna Heurigen Express choo-choos wine lovers through Vienna vineyards and around town to many of the city’s 180-plus wine taverns. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind cosmopolitan wine experience.
Vienna is the only capitol in the world that has a wine production of considerable size. The grape and the wine was brought to Vienna by the ancient romans more than 2000 years ago and since then it has become a part of Vienna, its culture and its history. Wine today is as much a part of Vienna and Viennese Cuisine as the water that flows through The Danube.
A winery from where the farmer sells his own wine is called a heurigen, and since the 1800 it has been allowed for the farmers to sell food with the wine, and many offer a solid lunch where you sit with a wineglass in one hand and a nice piece of roast pork in a sandwich and watch the spectacular view of the valley.
Wine from This Year
There are 630 producers (that’s one wine producer per 2,500 persons – what a town!) working 1,680 acres of beautiful urban Vienna vineyards. Many reachable by foot or tram.
White grapes dominate these vineyards. Grüner Veltliner such as from the Zahel vinery is common, along with Riesling and Chardonnay. These crisp white wines are the perfect accompaniment to Wiener Schnitzel, potato salad, and all manner of wurst.
The word Heurigen means from this year, referring to the wine from Vienna often being a very young wine, and it is best young enjoyed before it ages.
Vienna Wine Experience
Most Heurigens has garden and playgrounds for children, so you can relax and enjoy a glass of wine while the children play and if you have one to many glass of wine, busses and trains are there to take you back to your hotel safe and sound.
If you are looking for good evening out without the children you can also do so, many Heurigens has local musicians come by and sing sentimental songs about how sweet it is to enjoy life and stagger home after a night in the company of heurigen.
There are so many producers of wine in Vienna that the city has an entire industry dedicated to its production of wine. You can go biking in the hills and visit vineries or you can hire a local guide and go visit vineries, have a taste of the vine and enjoy yourself.
You can easily find tour guides, offering different tours to the Vienna vineyards and tastings of the local specialties.
When you visit Vienna and is interested in wine, you have to visit Wachau valley. It offers you a possible tour of a valley that is on the Unesco heritage site and has a plethora of vineyards all offering wine tasting Vienna and guided tours of the vineries.
You will taste wine from vineries like Weingut Ernsthofer who produces Gruner Veltliner, Pinot blanc (Weißburgunder), Riesling, all white wines.
Some vineries like Weingut Ferdinand Denk has rooms for rent and a fine restaurant where they serve traditional food and it goes without saying they use their own wine as a base for the food they serve.
They also have a small shop where you can buy items from the vinery and perhaps food where their wine has been used to manufacture it.
Kampthal, Burgenland & Krems – Winemaking Story
You will also find areas like Kampthal, Burgenland or Krems that is only an hour away from the city center, where the story of winemaking is the same as in Vienna, it is in their blood after many houndred of years perfecting it.
Many of the vineyards is family owned and operated and they all offer tours and tastings of their wine, when harvesting the grapes is done in the fall and the big job is done, there will often be a short periode when the wineries is closed for a couple of weeks so the workers can have their holiday and the family relax.
Vienna is also buzzing with wine bars all selling wine from the areas in and around Vienna, they offer many of the local specialties, and they all have a great knowledge of the wine produced locally.
Types of Wines
Many fine wines have come out of Vienna and Austria. For many the wine fields of Nussberg is the queen, here in the northern part of the city along the banks of the Danube is where you will find not only a breathtaking view but also a two wine specialists on Kahlenberg and Bisamberg. It is throughout the summer green and a place where more than 12 local wineries treat tourists and locals with wine, food and a good time.
The most famous wine that has come out of Vienna is Wiener Gemischter Satz, which translated means a mixed bunch. It referrers to the fact that it is made from different grapes all growing side by side on the hills in Vienna.
They are harvested at the same time and brewed in the same batch. So much unlike almost all other wineries today. You would normally have one type of grape on a hill, brew it alone, harvest it alone. But not in Vienna and it has become so much a household way of doing it. It has even been given the award of the slowfood movement.
Normally somewhere between 10 and 12 different grapes, all contributing to the taste and subtle nuances of the wine.
There is a rich history, many wineries and much to taste, take in and enjoy when you come to Vienna in search of wine, food and maybe a song or two.
Wachau Wine Valley
Among many other amazing things, Vienna is well known for its wine valleys. One famous wine region often visited by tourists is the Wachau Valley.
This particular valley produces grapes and apricots which are the main ingredients in making liquors and wines. The place is more known as a source of Austria’s pride – the dry Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners.
The entire region of Wachau is considered a UNESCO Heritage Site. There are various factors why the place earned a spot on the UNESCO Heritage list. Primarily, the region offers fantastic scenery enveloped with vineyards and dotted with villages.
Along the way in Melk, there is an old and beautiful monastery and a castle ruins in Durnstein. The castle is where the popular King Richard the Lionhearted was kept a prisoner in the olden times.
One of the best ways to reach the place is through its bike trail. Unknown to some people, numerous people tour the region on two wheels. The bike trail in the area, notably in the north bank, is the most popular.
It’s well-paved, passes through charming villages and runs near the Danube river. Apart from doing the bike tour, the Wachau Valley and its lovely historic sights can also be visited by getting on a steamer boat cruise. The months of May through September are the ideal times to go to this region.
Vienna Wine Cellar Tours
When the temperature drops, the winds pick up and the skies turn grey, what better season is there to explore Vienna’s most impressive wine cellars?
Sure there are the heurigen or the wine taverns but to better appreciate the city’s long and much-beloved tradition of wine-making, go on a tour of the oldest and most beautiful wine cellars. And while you’re at it, you can even get to sample and taste their proud offerings for autumn.
Palace Vienna Wine Cellars
Vienna has a number of famous palaces and most of them have grand wine cellars to boot. The best ones to visit would be the Palais Coburg Wine Cellars. That one boasts of about 60,000 of the most precious and rare wines that can be found in the world.
The Esterhazy Palace Wine Cellar also houses the Burgenland Wine Museum. And the Cobenzl Palace Wine Cellar which is also being used as a romantic setting for weddings and other parties.
Oldest Wine and Champagne Cellars
If you’re a professed oenophile then you would want to check out the oldest and most prestigious Vienna wine cellars. One of them is the Villon Wine Cellar, a 500-year old four-storey wine cellar located deep under the city streets. A guided tour will help you understand Vienna’s culture, wine, and wine-making traditions as well as the spring waters in the city.
There is also the 300-year old cellar of the Schlumbergers, acclaimed “Sekt” or champagne makers in Austria. Marvel at the millions of bottles of Sekt stored in the cellar labyrinth. And also get first-hand information about the “method traditionnelle” or the process of making champagne.
New Wine Making Technique Revealed
A new way of making wine has been discovered by an award-winning wine grower in Austria. Christian and Nora Trierenberg are credited for setting a new record of maturing grapes the non-traditional way.
What the couple does is to leave the harvested grapes for nine long months before the fermentation process. This technique allows them to create a very sweet white and red wine that tastes more like honey. The wine’s consistency is also quite similar to the honey produced by bees which is more like syrup instead of plain liquid.
Christian and Nora Trierenberg own a 20-hectare Georgiberg vineyard located in the southern province of Styria. Established way back in 1777, the vineyard is capable of producing some 2,500 kilograms of Zweigelt grapes used in making red wine and Gewuerztraminer grapes used in making white wine.
The first grapevines of Georgiberg vineyard were sourced from the wine nursery of Italian car manufacturer Ferrucio Lamborghini. The Trierenberg family took over the vineyard in 2008.
Unlike the traditional method, the couple does not extract the juice from the newly harvested grapes right away. They instead store the grapes in a barn laid out on a reed bed and then left there for months. The grapes are then checked constantly to ensure that the damaged ones are removed.
The Downside of this Method
In the traditional method of making wine, the grapes are normally left on their stalks. That way, moisture can be gradually removed thereby ensuring a sweet wine. The downside to this method is that the grapes are exposed to birds which can eat the fruit and the rain as well.
The new technique, meanwhile, involves the grapes being left untouched longer at about nine months and then made into wine. The downside is that it takes a lot of work and produces smaller amounts of wine.
Vienna Wine Tasting Course – Wine Tasting Vienna
A visit to city won’t be complete without a wine tasting in Vienna. The famous Austrian wines considered to be some of the world’s best. Did you know that the country has been making wine for four thousand years?
In the Austrian capital, some 621 hectares of Vienna vineyards exist within the city. In fact in the Middle Ages, the city’s walls were used to grow vines. Unknown to some of you, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc and Riesling are grown on the limestone soils near Klosterneuburg.
The red variety, however, requires a rich soil and grown in the southern part of Vienna. Many of us know that wine takes years to age and the older the wine, the better it tastes.
In Vienna, however, it is common for people to drink young wine instead of the aged ones notably at their preferred heurigens or wine taverns. Currently, there are various grape varieties allowed for use in the production of quality wine in Austria.
The Gruner Veltliner grape that produces the dry white wine is the most grown variety today. Avid wine lovers can actually enroll in a short wine tasting Vienna course if they wish while in Vienna. This is offered at most heurigers even those located in the city.
What will you learn in Vienna Wine Tasting Course
The course teaches participants about the different types of Austrian wines and how to decipher each of them. It also allows them to learn about the art of tasting wine and the types of food that go with a specific type of wine.
If wine tasting in Vienna is not enough for you, a tour of the wine valleys is most recommended. This activity will give you first-hand information about the winemaking. And an opportunity to personally see how these great tasting Austrian wines are created from fresh grapes as well as taste the wines from where they are grown.
The Wine Culture of Vienna
Apart from beer, wine drinking is also a famous past time in Austria as well as in the capital of Vienna. The city’s wine industry is a major contributor to the economy and therefore, comes first than beer. In addition, fine wine from the city is now dubbed as one of the world’s classic wines.
Did you know that grapes here were cultivated as far back as 1132 A.D.? Back in the Middle Ages, each district in the Austrian capital had its own vineyard. Vienna’s wine tavern (Heurigen) culture flourished in the 16th century as an outcome of an imperial ruling that allowed growers to sell their own wine, set their own prices and serve food together with their wine. Although many vanished as a result of development in Vienna, a trend towards recultivation of grapes has been observed in recent years.
In the 19th century, some 1,300 inns, Vienna wine cellars, and beer restaurants were in place in Vienna. However, through the years, wine consumption dropped due to stiff competition with beer. While some Vienna wine cellars already closed shop, there are some that remain up until today.
Vienna is home to some 1,680 urban vineyards managed by 630 wine producers. The 10-kilometer wine trail covers the areas near the Danube River. And the Vienna woods starting from Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf passing through Sievering, Wien Cobenzl and Grinzing.
From the Vienna vineyards, the grapes are delivered by train courtesy of the Heurigen Express to more than 180 wine taverns around Vienna.
Unlike in other countries that use the red grapes, white grapes are the most common variety grown in the city’s vineyards.
Specifically, these are Austria’s main grape variety:
- Gruner Veltliner
These exotic grapes are used in producing white wine which is an ideal accompaniment for any meal or dessert. Traditionally, though, wine is best partnered with cold dishes.
If you’d like to have one of the best nature trips in Vienna, then a Vienna wine tour is strongly recommended.
Affordable Food and Wine at Stammersdorf
Looking for a great place to enjoy affordable food and wine and mingle with the locals while in Vienna? Head to the 21st district and look for Stammersdorf. This is where you will find some great heurigers or wine taverns and wineries.
Stammersdorf is in the northern part of the Austrian capital and is separated from the main city by the Danube River. The place, more known among locals as the Trans-Danubien, may not be in the list of popular dining spots.
But you’ll be surprised at the excellent food and wine served in the local taverns and pubs here. Vienna wine cellars can also be found along Keller Strasse. They are mostly located in small houses.
Wine Tasting Vienna at Stammersdorf
History has it that Stammersdorf used to be a poor area but through the years, it experienced a fast urban development. And this led to the setting up of dining places, wine taverns and wineries.
The heurigers in this area are the simple and low-key ones. But they do serve great tasting food and drinks. Not many tourists know Stammersdorf and not many visit the place the reason why the taverns here have retained their unique charm and low profile.
For those on a budget and would like to explore the 21st district, this specific area is a must visit because of its affordable food and wine. Compared to the 19th district’s Grinzing and Neustift, the prices here are much cheaper.
The best time to explore Stammersdorf is from April until October. At this time, you will be able to experience al fresco dining in the garden while savoring your favorite Austrian dish and wine.
You can reach the area by taking the Tram from Schottenring or Floridsdorf. You can count on public transport – it’s great. Another option is to take the regional bus from Floridsdorf.
Vienna Wine Hiking Day
When the autumn season arrives in Vienna, one of the most popular activities to do is wine hiking.
This gives a golden opportunity for visitors to:
- explore Vienna’s beautiful wine mountains and vineyards
- sample great tasting wines
- marvel at fantastic nature views
Vienna boasts of 700 hectares of vineyards with 190 vintners or wine producers.
They are spread out around:
These areas are very conducive to growing grapes and producing wines owing to the presence of the Danube River and the Vienna Woods which provide for the favorable climate.
Every autumn, a Vienna wine hiking day is being organized with the wine hiking trail only made available on this particular day. The trail is closed to the public on other days as it passes through private Vienna vineyards.
There are three routes to choose from for this Vienna Wine Hiking Day.
Covers the 19th District particularly Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf. Vineyards that can be found here are those of Sievering, the Wien Cobenzl winery, and Grinzing considered to be legendary locations. A Heuriger tavern along the way may also be visited.
Covers the 21st District going from Strebersdorf to Stammersdorf, a famous Heurige location. The trail stretches 11.7 kilometers and apart from the vineyards, the fantastic landscape is what hikers will enjoy here. Several heurige are along the way and provide a good respite from the hike. One popular heurige in this route is the Weingut Wieninger.
Covers the 16th District starting at the Ottakringer Baths up to the Wilhelminenberg Palace. It will pass through the Hansl-Schmid-Weg and Paulinensteig as well as the Himmelmutterweg and Dornbacher StraBe. This particular covers 5 kilometers with opportunities to taste good food and wine along the way.
Enjoying Wine in Autumn
Autumn is an anticipated season in Vienna, especially for wine lovers. And while wine never really goes out of season in the city, fall ushers in some special events that provide locals and visitors alike with plenty of reasons to celebrate and raise their glasses in a toast.
Sturm in Heurigens
During this season, the heurigen or wine taverns in Vienna offer “Sturm” – a semi-fermented, light, and sweet drink that comes from the first harvest of grapes of the season. Although not a real wine, Sturm is widely popular during the fall and is a drink that goes well with most traditional dishes.
Wine + Design
Happening on October 17th is the annual Wine & Design event where for one night, participants are given the unique experience of sampling the best wines and sumptuous food while marveling at outstanding examples of Viennese design.
Another traditional event happening in Stammersdorf is the “Sturmische Tage” (literally translated as “turbulent days”). For two days, the Kellergasse is closed to automobile traffic and transformed into a festive venue for the first wines of the season and of course, the star of the event, Sturm.
Vienna Wine Tour of the Vineyards
Europeans are well-known to have wine together with their meals. Vienna has its own wine tradition and one of the best ways to get to know this is to go on a tour of the vineyards.
Some of Vienna’s vineyards are situated on a hill such as those of suburban Nussdorf. The place provides breathtaking views of the Austrian capital and the Danube river.
Other than learning about how the grapes are grown in this vineyard and Vienna’s wine tradition, there’s another interesting aspect of the place that visitors will get to know of. It was here in Nussdorf where world renowned Austrian musician Beethoven spent his summers while working on his 2nd symphony, the Eroica, the Pastorale and the 9th.
Beethoven specifically lived in Heiligenstadt from April to October 1802 upon the advise of his doctor. Here, he wrote his Heiligenstadt testament which relates his commitment to live for and through his art.
For those who wish to join this wine tour, you’ll get to see Beethoven’s summer homes, a winegrower’ cottage, visit the vineyards on thet hills and of course, get to sample wines.
Among the woods and vineyards in Nussdorf are inns also referred to as Heuriger. They are sort of wine taverns where visitors can buy and taste the young wine.
Weinbu Sirbu is the wine tavern situated at the highest point in Nussberg and as such, provides stunning views. The wines served here are locally produced and a buffet offers a selection of cold cuts and small warm dishes.
Weinviertel Draisine Tour
A wine region worthy of your time is Weinviertel. Situated northeast of Lower Austria, it boasts of one unique tour best for families and group of friends.
Known as the Draisine tour, this fun activity you can enjoy this summer will let you travel along disused train tracks that stretch 13 kilometers. The tour will take you through yellow rape fields, reeds and acacia forests from Ernsbrunn to Aspen der Zaya.
To do this unique tour, you and your companion will ride the draisine which features two bike seats and two middle seats. At the start, you will have to do some workout on your feet but the rest will be easy as you go downhill.
Weinviertel is a Viennese term that means wine quarter and is the largest wine growing area in Austria. Its name was taken from viticulture or the process of wine making.
Some important grape varieties being grown here are:
- the Gruner Veltliner
- Pinot blanc
- Blauer Portugieser
This one of a kind draisine tour is available during summer as well as in August every Thursday and Friday.
There is also one interesting tour named Half day wine tour Vienna that you can enjoy.
It will last around 5 hours and you’re going to see:
- several private wineries
- meet several winemakers
- have a traditional dinner
You won’t be tired because it’s a short tour and you’ll enjoy small group of friendly people and high-quality wines and wineries.
Oenophiles who are visiting Vienna should check out one Viennese wine that is currently making waves in the wine world: the Gemischter Schatz, said to be one of a few true “terroir wines” in Europe.
Grown and produced in Viennese vineyards for centuries, the Gemischter Satz (“field blend”) is basically a blend of a minimum of three to about 20 different grape varieties.
These grapes are cultivated in the same vineyard and they are harvested, crushed, fermented, and bottled together. Naturally, these grapes have varying levels of ripeness and acidity and when mixed together, the resulting product is one of a pronounced complex taste and aroma.
There are many Vienna vineyards within the city limits that make the Gemischter Schatz but those that are well-known for this kind of wine are in the areas of Nussberg, Kahlenberg, Bisamberg, and Mauer.
Some of the grape varietals that go into making the wine include Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurtzraminer, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Gruner Veltliner to name a few.
Creating this wine from grapes grown in the same vineyard is a laborious and time-honored tradition in Vienna. That’s because the Slow Food Foundation in Italy has named it as one of only 300 products worldwide included in the “Ark of Taste,” an international list of food and beverage products that are sustainably produced and promote biodiversity.
Some of the vineyards that have contributed to the revival of the Gemischter Satz are Fritz Wieninger, Cobenzl, Rainer Christ, Richard Zahel and Mayer am Pfarrplatz.
International Vienna Wine Festival VieVinum
The capital of Austria reportedly has about 700 hectares of vineyards where there are about 300 local winemakers growing up to 20 different varietals.
It is no surprise then that Vienna is the venue for showcasing Austrian wines. For three days every two years, Vienna plays host to winemakers, importers, distributors, and oenophiles all over the world with the International Vienna Wine Festival “VieVinum.”
The country’s largest and most prestigious wine event takes place at the luxurious Hofburg Palace. Started in 1998, VieVinum was organized by the Austrian Wine Marketing board to raise the awareness for the best of Austrian wines and to increase distribution around the world. Since then, the wine fair has attracted winemakers both local and international along with related industries such as restaurants and heurigers.
There you can see about 3000 different kinds of wines and learn more about the different types of Austrian wines that are grown in different regions. As it is a trade fair more than anything, there are activities geared for wine distributors and winemakers with educational seminars and discussions on the latest trends and developments in viticulture as well as day trips to Vienna vineyards.
Some activities may not be open to the general public but because it is a large event in the city, some restaurants and wine taverns create a VieVinum menu.
VieVinum International Vienna Wine Festival 2014
Vienna is famous for its vineyards and wine among many other things. In fact, it also hosts the biggest international wine festival in Austria every two years called VieVinum.
Scheduled to open on June 14 at the Imperial Hofburg Palace, the VieVinum had exhibitors from the best wine producers in Austria and abroad. This particular festival provided an opportunity for vinters and vinter associations from the different parts of the globe to meet. And to talk about wine and attend tastings from the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW).
France was the host of this year’s VieVinum – 2014.
There were wine producers as well from the famous French regions of:
- Burgundy or Provence
The VieVinum takes place every two years and for this year, this major wine fair run for three days. And some 550 exhibitors were expected to take part. Thousands of wine lovers were also expected to attend and grab the opportunity to taste some of the world’s best wines without having to pay for it.
Other than gathering wine producers, this Vienna wine festival also attracted importers and distributors. The general public was welcome to visit the venue but they needed to purchase a ticket to enter. A food tent was available on Heldenplatz offering snacks to go with the wine.
Wachau Gourmet Festival
In 2014, the 7th Wachau Gourmet Festival, a culinary event gathered some of the world’s best chefs. The festival took place from March 27th to April 10th.
Wachau is a valley in Lower Austria formed by the Danube river and boasting of beautiful landscape listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
One of the main highlights of this festival is the gathering of more than 60 of the top vintners in Lower Austria’s wine regions in a trade show scheduled on April 4th and 5th. The best winemakers of Wachau, Kamptal, Kremstal, and Traisental presented their new vintage.
There was a Kitchen Party on April 4th at the exclusive Hotel Schloss Duenrnstein. This was an opportunity for visitors to taste vintage wine from various vintners.
Top Messe and the Dominican church
Another activity worth attending is the Topmesse or the visit to the Dominican church in Krems with Austria’s best winemakers in attendance.
In 2014, this yearly event attracted a great number of visitors who attended several events and spent the night in Wachau thereby generating high revenue for the area. The Wachau Gourmet Festival board is the main organizer of this event with support from the Lower Austria Tourism GmbH.
Wachau is an hour’s drive from Vienna and is often visited by travelers going to the Austrian capital owing to its vast vineyards and amazing nature views.