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Vienna: The Wine Capital

Vienna and wine are inseperable. Vienna is the only world capital producing significant quantities of wine within the city limits. But it is more than that – it is a defining element of the urban image, a contribution to the urban economic system and to people’s wellbeing – for both the Viennese and guests alike.

Vineyards Vienna © Österreich Werbung / Popp

Each year Viennese wine is the central focus of numerous events and has become a fixture in many wine bars and wine shops in the city. In short: Viennese wine is readily available and can be enjoyed throughout the city. Vienna is not only a province and the capital of a province. It is also wine-growing region in its own right with a wine-growing surface of about 700 hectars. About 85% is dedicated to white wine grape varitals. Wine types such as Riesling, Weissburgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon blanc and Gelber Muskatteller produce distinctly fruity and elegant wines. A growing number of Viennese winegrowers are producing red wines, in particular Zweigelt and St. Laurent along with trendy international types such as Merlot, Pinot noir and Syrah. The Viennese wine is influenced both by the pannonic climate contributing to its maturity and the cool winds from the north giving it fresh and fruity notes. A perfect interplay of the forces producing fruity-elegant wines that are fun to drink and are perfect accompaniment to a Heuriger snack or Viennese cuisine. Based on long-standing traditions wine cultivation in Vienna has undergone rapid modernization in the past decade. A visible sign of this are the architecturally sophisticated cellar constructions and Heuriger built in a new contemporary style. An example of this is Fritz Wieninger  who restored an old monastery cellar and combined it with a radically modern elements. Also worth seeing is Rainer Christ’s winery and heuriger. With a lot of stone, exposed concrete, glass and wood a new cellar building was constructed that meets all the demands of today’s wine production. The ingredients used for Viennese cuisine are amazingly simple. Take the finest culinary traditions from Bohemia, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans, and blend them to form exceptional titbits and delicacies. There are typical Viennese dishes to suit every pocket and one can choose from an absolutely enormous spectrum of eateries. Try a Wuerstelstand - a street-side booths - serving fast and inexpensive snacks, including a great variety of sausages. Then there are the Viennese answers to international fast food chains, the schnitzel outlets, and finally the highly acclaimed gourmet establishments. Yet the nerve center of classical Viennese cuisine is the Gasthaus — the good, homely inn. 

What to do while in Vienna?
A walk on the Vienna Wine Trail reveals the beauty of the vineyards, with plenty of opportunities for a quick tipple and beautiful views of the city. Vienna’s 700 hectares of vineyards and 320 vintners in the areas around Kahlenberg, Nussberg, Bisamberg, and Mauer, where the Danube and the proximity of the Vienna Woods provide optimal climatic conditions, are unique among major cities. The Vienna Wine Trail leads from Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf. In between are Sievering, the Wien Cobenzl winery, and Grinzing, all legendary locations in the Viennese wine and Heuriger tavern traditions. For those who prefer a small section as opposed to the full length of the Wine Trail, your walk can also start here. After all, a hike on the Wine Trail is not supposed to too strenuous – sipping outstanding wines and enjoying the breathtaking views are what it’s all about. One possible stop is the Wien Cobenzl winery, which won two prizes at the 2008 Vienna Wine Awards, or one of the many heurige along the way. The heurige wine tavern is an important Viennese institution. Vintners serve their own wines in small – or sometimes large – restaurants. The wine is traditionally accompanied by cold dishes from the buffet. The heuriger combines the conviviality of the city with the rural ambiance of the vineyards. The title of the Wine Trail’s best scenic view is hotly contested. The approximately 10 kilometer trail through the vineyards of the 19th district is dotted with scenic outlooks on the city and the Danube. Three lookout points are particular highlights: Bellevuestrasse, Muckenthal near the four chestnut trees, and Eichelhofstrasse, the last of which offers a panoramic view all the way to the Donau-Auen National Park. 
The new generation of Vintners in Vienna
The “WienWein” vintnersThe WienWein group was founded in early 2006 by vintners from Vienna’s surrounding vineyards: Rainer Christ from Jedlersdorf, Michael Edlmoser from Mauer, Fritz Wieninger from Stammersdorf, and Richard Zahel from Mauer. The WienWein vintners share enthusiasm, an uncompromising commitment to quality, and a thorough understanding of their own roots joined by the courage to occasionally break from tradition. Most of all, they take pleasure in working together. WienWein aims to set new quality standards for Viennese wine and make its unique character manifest on the international market. Elegant whites from burgundy grapes, distinct red wines, magnificent cuvees, unique blends made from older vines, Rieslings with a mineral edge, spicy Veltliners ... wine from Vienna is truly something else. 
The Wine Idealists: Vienna's orchid vintners
Vienna’s Orchideen Winzer (orchid vintners) are four ambitious winegrowers who have elected to promote something special: viniculture in the city. Jutta Ambrositsch, Franz-Michael Mayer, Peter Uhler and Klaus Windischbauer are all deeply passionate about winegrowing. Ambitious and idealistic, they harness their individuality and technical expertise to produce premium Viennese wines.