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11 April 2006

Austrian Appellations: Vienna

Wienistanders One thing I recall from my brief time in Austria during the early 90s was a series of civic slogans:

"In Linz Beginnt's" - It begins in Linz
"Graz Hat's" - Graz has it
"Wien ist Anders" - Vienna is something else

With respect to wine, Vienna is indeed something else.  Even France can't boast of this much viticulture and wine-culture in its capitol city.  As the Celtic settlement called, "Vedunia," grapes were cultivated as early as 1132 AD.  During the Middle Ages, each district of the city (called 'Bezirk' in German) possessed its own vineyards.  The Heurigen (wine bar) scene was made possible, thanks to Emperor Josef II, who passed an edict in 1784, allowing growers to sell & serve food with their wine (Oh, and by the way, Joseph the Deuce was one of those enlightened despots, who pushed peasant emancipation, education and secularization of church property.  A pretty good guy - as far as despots go).

As the city grew and modernized, many of the vineyards were lost in favor of concrete, asphalt, etc.  Recently however, there has been a trend towards recultivation.  There are 630 wine producers (that's one wine producer per 2,500 people - my kind of town) working 680 hectares of vines.  White grapes dominate these urban vineyards.  Grüner Veltliner, the quintessential Austrian grape is common, along with the international travelers Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.  For those who prefer drinking to growing, there are 180 Heurigen in Vienna.  There's even a Vienna Heurigen Express, which choo-choos wine imbibers safely around town.  That settles it!  I'm going to Vienna.

For those wanting an ex situ sip of Viennese vino try tracking down some of the few exported wines:

Weingut Wieninger - imported to the U.S. by Vin DiVino

Weingut Mayer am Pfarrplatz - imported to Canada by HHD Imports

Of course, beginning next month, I will bring you a first-slurp accounting of the wines & Heurigen of Vienna.  Stay tuned.

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Thanks for the informative and entertaining article on Vienna.I was unaware they had such an ancient tradition of wine culture.I'll be vacationing there this summer and now i can check all this out in more detail.


Thanks for your blog. At least, I know, wine has some history associated with it. lol

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