My Photo

search the juice

January 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    


  • Food & Drink Blog Top Sites

« For The Love of Wine | Main | Things To Do in Vienna #742 »

09 June 2006

Temple of Wine

Loisium As you drive towards the town of Langenlois in Austria's Kamptal valley, you begin noticing signs displaying the word, "Loisium."  There are no garish billboards, simply small, discrete arrows leading you to a mysterious destination.  This destination consists of two buildings, whose design will make you regret that decision not to study architecture.

Loisium Wine Visions
The Loisium "wine attraction" opened in 2003.  This building, a creation of architect Steven Holl, is gateway to "Cellar World."  Cellar World is a tour in which visitors journey through the winemaking process, a cuvée of installation art, preserved winery history, light and sound.  To enter Cellar World, one walks down a subtly sloped path, through a vineyard and into the press house  Once inside, visitors are asked to imagine themselves as grapes, and enter an elevator designed to look like  grape press.  Thankfully no actual pressing occurs - rather visitors exit the press-elevator, and are greeted in Bacchus's vat to watch the fermentation process.  Fermentation is represented by a fantasia-like light & water show.  It's a trip, man.  Perhaps there was some Absinthe in the press-elevator.  Once out of the vat, the tour continues through a restored country winery - complete with granny's bed and old-timey fly trap.  Visitors return to the present with a tour through Weingut Steininger's (one of the Loisium partners) cellar.  Karl Steininger is one of the major sparkling wine producers in Austria.  Part of the tour includes a waltz through hundreds of bottles of bubbly in the process of being riddled.  The tour concludes with the 'basilica' - an exhibit of wine/religious/mythical symbols wrought in iron, shadow and glass.  It is a wine-centered sensory experience. 

LoishotelLoisium Hotel
The Loisium Wine &  Spa hotel echos some of the cubist architectural elements of the Loisium.  However, the hotel's focus appears to be the surrounding vineyards.  From the foyer, to the restaurant, to the spa & pool, guests feel as if they are sitting in, and connected to the vineyards.  The hotel is accented with modern furniture pieces also designed by the architect.  The pieces appear incredibly modern, yet some hearken back to the modernist movement of the 1920s.  Naturally, the focus of the hotel is wine.  There are cork & vineyard motifs to be found throughout the interior. 

LoisiumspaThe devotion to wine extends even to the spa.  The spa offers a number of wine-themed treatments, including the 'barrique bath,' which consists of an extended soak in a bath designed to look like a wine barrel, followed by a light massage with grape seed oil.  How could I say no to this vinotherapy?  My skin still smells faintly vineyard-like - perhaps the spa should develop a line of cologne & perfume  from the humble grape seed..I'd buy it.

Of course, the hotel restaurant revolves around wine.  In fact, the first thing to greet diners as they enter is the glass encased wine cooler.  The concept seems to be that diners can window shop for the perfect dinner wine, rather than reading it off the list.  At dinner I was able to interact with the young Sommelier-in-training, who is one of the most enthusiastic wine people I've ever run across.  He did an A+ job of pairing locally produced (Kamptal) wine to the tasting menu.

I must sat my favorite part of the Loisium is the enthusiasm shown by the staff, and owners for the wine attraction and hotel.  I could see that the work environment was positive, and as a result, everyone was happy and more than willing to do whatever it took to please visitors & guests.  I would rank the Loisium near the top of my "must-see" Austrian list - along with Vienna & Graz.  It's only one hour outside of Vienna, so this temple to wine is easily includable in any travel itinerary.  See the Loisium photo gallery here.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,



If you need that grapeseed oil/vineyard product fix at home - bordeaux has beat Austria to it :)

- check out Caudalie:


Ahh should've known the French have already discovered the epidermal joys of grapeseed oil!

The comments to this entry are closed.

site sponsors

Vino Voyeur