A Guide to Heurigen in Vienna
Vienna and wine are inseparable: In fact, Vienna is the ONLY world capital to produce significant quantities of wine within the city limits! That’s how much we love wine around here.
For the locals, Viennese wine also represents a defining element of the city’s image, a contribution to the our ecosystem but also to our wellbeing. In a worldwide first, a new law enacted at the start of 2015 stipulated that the capital’s vineyards had to be used for winegrowing to prevent valuable growing regions from falling prey to real estate developers – effectively heritage listing the city’s vineyards. What a reassuring thought!
The Viennese Heurigen
Traditionally, Viennese wine is consumed at one of our wonderful Heurigen (which is what we call our wine taverns). The word “Heuriger” refers to wine from the current year which is “christened” on St. Martin’s day (November 11) before receiving the title “Altwein” (old wine) on the same day a year later.
The origin of our Heurigen dates back to Austrian monarchy: In 1784, Emperor Josef II issued a law allowing wine growers to serve wine they produced in their own vineyards right there on the spot: And that’s how the Heurigen were born. A place where Viennese wine is offered can be recognized by the “Ausg’steckt” sign and the fir branch which also indicates that the tavern is open. An important note: Many of Vienna’s Heurigen are not open year-round, as they are family-run businesses who need to focus on producing the wine as well, not just selling it. You can find out which Heurigen are currently open in our so-called “Heurigen Calendars”. The relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful vineyards on the outskirts of town, the great wine and the tasty food make our Heurigen a truly wonderful place to leisurely spend a few hours.
Vienna boasts an impressive wine-growing surface of about 700 hectares and average annual production of 2.4 million liters. About 80% of the area under cultivation is covered with white wine vines. Wine types such as Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Gelber Muskateller produce distinctly fruity and elegant wines. A growing number of Viennese winegrowers are producing red wines, in particular Zweigelt and St. Laurent. The Viennese wine is influenced both by the Pannonian climate contributing to its maturity and the cool winds from the north lending it fresh and fruity notes. A perfect interplay of forces, producing fruity-elegant wines that are fun to drink and are the perfect accompaniment to our amazing Viennese cuisine.
Wiener Gemischter Satz - A Viennese Specialty
One specialty among Viennese wines is the so-called “Wiener Gemischter Satz”. Back in the 19th century Viennese winemakers started focusing more on quality grapes such as Riesling, Rotgipfler, Weissburgunder and Traminer. They were mixed with grapes of different varieties and planted, harvested and vinified together. The resulting wines were not only very multi-layered and complex, merging various qualities such as freshness, fruitiness and rich body. They also meant secure yields for the winemaker. Given the different bloom times of the grapes even unfavorable weather conditions during the bloom period never endangered the entire harvest but only specific grapes. This very typical, characteristic Viennese wine is sold as a light and succulent wine but also as an intense, complex top bottled wine.
Looking for more WINE?
Check out some of our favorite Heurigen in Vienna, purchase our Foodie Guide to Vienna’s Heurigen or - even better - join us on a Heurigen Tour where you can find out everything there is about Viennese wine.