Wine production in the big city? Most often this means little showpiece vineyards as a tourist attraction. But Vienna is different. Here, our 612 hectares of vines represent an essential economic factor in the life of the city; they actively serve the preservation of a green garland of nature surrounding Vienna and provide the basis for high quality wine. Since 2013 the local speciality "Wiener Gemischter Satz" (Vienniese Field Blend) is part of the Austrian DAC-Family and strengthens the identity of Vienniese Wine even more.
Until the late Middle Ages, grapevines grew within the city walls – even in today’s downtown 1st District... But now the focus of wine production lies in the suburbs at the city limits, where vineyard sites on the Bisamberg north of the Danube River – cultivated by growers in Strebersdorf, Stammersdorf and Jedlersdorf – are particularly well suited to members of the Pinot family.
From Ottakring across Hernals up to P?tzleinsdorf, and above all in the 19th District – in the communities of Heiligenstadt, Nussdorf, Grinzing, Sievering and Neustift am Walde – Riesling, Chardonnay and Weissburgunder are favoured, growing on the varied limestone-rich soils. In the south of Vienna – Rodaun, Mauer and Oberlaa, with soils of rendzina, brown and black earth – opulent red wine cuvées and robust whites flourish. But there is nary a winegrower who forgoes the opportunity to produce Vienna’s traditional Gemischter Satz, in which various white grape varieties are planted together, harvested together and subsequently fermented into wine together. One important discovery of recent years has been the top site Nussberg, which has magically drawn young and imaginative winegrowers from all parts of the city – as well as career changers with the love of wine.
And the age-old attraction of the Viennese Heurigen (the city’s famous wine taverns) has not lost any of its appeal in the modern age. Regardless of whether it is a ‘noble’ Heuriger with an expansive buffet open year-round, or a little hidden ‘Buschenschank’ with only a few weeks in the season ‘ausg’steckt’– every one serves as a magnet for visitors – for Viennese natives as well as for tourists. Even the most sophisticated wine lovers now find their way to the Heurigen, since there is an ever-increasing selection of top wines being offered by the glass. To aid Vienna in preserving her vineyards for the future as a natural heritage and cultural landscape, a new Viennese state law compellingly prescribes that vineyards located within the city limits must be cultivated, thus protecting valuable vineyard sites from real estate speculators.
Above all, the city’s marquee-player Wiener Gemischter Satz has garnered international recognition since achieving legally protected DAC status in 2013 – with thanks as well to the new interpretations of visionary top growers.
Local colour aside, it is only in the most recent decade that Viennese wine has been able to shed its image of being nothing but mere ‘tavern wine’ and make the leap onto the wine lists of the world’s finest gourmet restaurants. No surprise here, because the finest winegrowers in Vienna have been impressing domestic and international tasting juries for years now, whether it be with noble white wines from Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Chardonnay and Weissburgunder, or magnificent Pinot Noir and delicious Zweigelt.