The vintners of Vienna
Vienna and wine are connected by a long love affair. Vienna is the only capital city in the world in which a noteworthy quantity of wine is produced within its municipal area: 1.7 million litres annually, produced by 230 vintners on 700 hectares of vineyards. Roughly half of the vineyards are in the north-west of the city, on the well-trodden slopes of the Kahlenberg and Nussberg with their wine-growing areas Nussdorf and Grinzing. The vines grow on slate, gravel and loess soils; in the mild climate the typical Viennese varieties Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder and the vines of the Gemischter Satz feel particularly at home.
“Going for a glass of wine became in any case an essential feature of urban social behaviour.” The Vienna journalist Florian Holzer on the new cult of Viennese wine.
A true Viennese speciality
is the Gemischter Satz: in contrast to a cuvée wine it’s made from different grape varieties. Up to 20 different varieties are planted together, pressed and made into wine. What was originally a measure to guard against the crop failure of individual varieties is now experiencing a renaissance. The best way to savour the delicate freshness of the Gemischter Satz is by the glass, or, more precisely, by the “Achterl” (one-eighth of a litre). On hot days you can order a G’spritzer (Spritzer – wine with mineral water); it will be made with a local Grüner Veltliner.
In Vienna wine is usually produced in subterranean cellars, and many of the local wine-growers will grant you a glimpse into their realms. Guided tours take you down the steps into the earth on a culinary journey at the end of which is a tasting of typical Viennese wines. In the centre of Vienna you’ll find wine cellars which have been in use since the Middle Ages. And then of course there are the fine wine-growers around the Nussberg and Kahlenberg with their Heuriger wine taverns, open days and “wine walks”. “Zum Wohle!” (“cheers!”) as they say in Vienna – you can’t get more authentic than that!
Text: Verena Brandtner, Fotos: Christine Wurnig