It’s no secret that winemaking is a key characteristic to Austria’s profile, but many are surprised to learn that Vienna is an important wine region, too. The Viennese like to sample the newest vintages at the cozy wine taverns called “Heuriger,” which have been a beloved part of the Viennese wine culture for hundreds of years.
Within Vienna’s city limits, 320 winemakers tend 1,680 acres of grapes – mostly in the river-flanking areas of Nussberg, Kahlenberg, Bisamberg and Mauer.
A range of grape varietals grow in these vineyards, but the most predominant wine attributes its qualities to several varietals rather than just one. Gemischter Satz, the old practice of growing up to 20 different varieties in the same vineyard, then harvesting and pressing them at the same time regardless of their ripeness, is now enjoying a surge in popularity. The intense nose and taste of this wine inspired the American wine journalist Alice Fehring to describe it as “complex” with flavors ranging from “mineral to honeysuckle.”
Gemischter Satz can be found in many of the fine dining establishments within the city, or at one of the charming wine taverns called “Heurigen” on the outskirts of Vienna. The traditional Heurigen are a true Viennese institution, each one family-run and belonging to a specific vineyard. Savor also traditional home-made Viennese food which you order from the counter, sample this year’s vintages, and enjoy the cozy, relaxed atmosphere and occasional live music performances. You’ll easily recognize a “Heuriger” by a bunch of pine branches hanging above the entrance and the word “Ausg’steckt” written on a board, which is a sign that the wine tavern is open. The word “Heuriger” is not only the name for the tavern itself, but also for the current year’s vintage, which – in accordance with tradition - may be so-called until the 11th of November (St Martin’s Day).
While everyone in Vienna has their own personal favorites, the following vintners and wine taverns are behind the resurgence of Gemischter Satz, and offer excellent quality: Fritz Wieninger, Rainer Christ, Richard Zahel, Michael Edlmoser, Mayer am Pfarrplatz, and Cobenzl.