If you switch the two middle letters in WIEN (Vienna) it becomes WEIN (wine). The city has had a close relationship with wine since the 12th century. There are almost 700 ha of vineyards inside the city limits today–almost 2.5 mn liters of wine is produced from approx. 640 wineries per year, the statistics soberly report.
The 6 vintners from WienWein prove that Viennese wine has long caused a sensation around the world. On the black and white WIEN PRODUCTS city map, the group with the number 41 is marked six times–the wineries are scattered around the city. These are Weinbau Wieninger in Stammersdorf, Weingut Christ in Jedlersdorf, Edlmoser in Mauer, as well as Mayer am Pfarrplatz, Weingut Cobenzl, and Fuhrgassl-Huber in the 19th district.
I’m interested in what makes WienWein special, so I spend an afternoon with Paul Kiefer from Mayer am Pfarrplatz.
Before the wine can be filled in the bottles, the vintner needs to spend time outdoors–the grapevines need attention all year round. We drive up to Nussberg–one of the best places in Vienna for an unbelievable view of the city and the Danube.
Along with Riesling and others, mainly Gemischter Satz is planted here, which has a long history in Viennese viniculture. A colorful mix of Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Rotgipfler, and Zierfandler grow here as well; the grapes are harvested and processed together.
I learn that this wine is very uniquely characterized by its origins. The vintners from WienWein are very committed to the wine tradition and each of their wines bears a special signature.
The work has paid off – the Viennese Gemischter Satz is experiencing a true renaissance and achieved the sought after DAC status – Districtus Austriae Controllatus – in 2013. Not only did this earn it a fixed place in the wine taverns and on the wine lists of the best dining establishments in Vienna – the Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC is also experiencing enormous popularity in the top restaurants from New York to Tokyo – a real WIEN PRODUCT.
But back to Vienna… I want to know what it takes to produce a good year and whether you can already make a prediction in July.
Along with the location, the care of the vines, and the work in the cellar, the weather plays a decisive role, explains the expert – is there a late frost in the spring, do you have enough rain in the summer so the grapes develop well, and is the weather as stable as possible to bring the harvest in safely. In addition to precise planning, you obviously need to be flexible and make quick decisions if Petrus doesn’t cooperate –the past few years have posed some tough challenges for the vintners.
The harvest, which can start at the end of August and last until October, depending on the type of wine and the weather, is done entirely with manual work – the grapes are then “transformed” into wine in the cellar. The results of the intensive work can be enjoyed directly in the wine tavern at the Nussberg on summer weekends – no extra charge for the glorious view of the city.
On the way back to Pfarrplatz, Paul Kiefer tells me where the bottles from the vineyard are emptied around the world – as the head of distribution, he travels a lot to promote the Viennese wine. Some types are very limited – the cultivated areas are finite, after all, and the quality notoriously high. Speaking of quality – when I ask him about the many awards that the wines have received in recent years, I get a very simple answer: “Our standard is the best quality–I don’t also need to mention the awards.”
Later at Pfarrplatz we visit the tavern of the same name and taste different types of wine together – I am given background information about the area and the year while enjoying excellent wines. Obviously many Viennese had the same idea–every last table in the garden is taken today.
After asking about joint projects of the WienWein vintners, I learn about the historical vineyard in the Schönbrunn Palace Park, which already existed back in the days of the Habsburg Monarchy; they manage it together and organize the harvest. It is a very special Gemischter Satz – LIESENPFENNIG – that is pressed by a different vintner every year and always auctioned off for a good cause. The emperor would have been pleased.
There is so much more to tell – from the first locations in Vienna, events, and much more – there is simply not enough time…
I now know where to get WienWein – in Vienna, in any case, directly at the vineyard of the respective wine estates; it is also sold in certain supermarkets and wine shops. One thing is certain: the variety and outstanding quality are definitely worth the walk to the WienWein vintners.