Act Global – Drink Local!
Vienna is the only capital in the world to produce significant quantities of wine within its city limits. And wine cultivation is one of its hallmarks. No wonder, since they’ve been perfecting the noble grapes since 1132.
The best way to discover the crisp, local Grüner Veltiner, Riesling or Gemischte Satz is at local Heuriger, wine taverns, that are inscribed on UNESCOs Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
For years, wine was almost only associated with the Heuriger; the typical Viennese wine tavern, but meanwhile it has become a stamp of honour. Vienna is becoming ever more established as a wine-growing region. Each year Viennese wine is the central focus of numerous events and has become a fixture in many wine bars, wine shops and inns of the city. In short: Viennese wine is readily available and can be enjoyed at many spots in the city.
The Heuriger stamp of local quality
So, why haven’t you heard of Viennese wine?
Well, that’s because the Viennese know what’s good, so around 70% of the annual yield is drunk at the capital’s many Heuriger.
Today’s wine tavern law goes back to an ordinance issued by Emperor Josef II in 1784, that allowed wine growers to serve wine produced in their own vineyards. You can recognize a place where the Viennese Heuriger wine is offered by the Ausg’steckt sign and the fir branch, which also indicates that the tavern is open. These two symbols also guarantee that only self-produced Viennese wines are served here.
Many Heuriger are located in the outskirts of Vienna to the north, at the foot of the wine hills. Here, the relaxed atmosphere, the gardens on the edge of town, the good wine and the tasty delicacies make the Heuriger a popular destination for everybody.
You’re drinking Unesco Cultural Heritage
Viennese Heuriger wine tavern culture was actually added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2019. UNESCO recognised how Viennese Heuriger are embedded in the landscape of Viennese wine. For many Viennese winemaking operations, the Heuriger is the most important sales outlet and ensures the continued existence of their vineyards and thus the local cultural landscape’s preservation.
Heuriger culture dates back to the medieval tradition of Leutgeben; the term Leutgeber denotes all those, who enjoyed the right to serve wine from their own vineyards to visitors. Today, the word heurig means both the wine from the most recent harvest as well as the establishment that serves it.
Walk the vineyards
A popular day outing during the weekends is a walk along the vineyards, from Heuriger to Heuriger. There are two awesome routes of about 10 kilometres each: City Hiking Path 5 will take to through the vineyards of Bisamberg and City Hiking Path 1 offers amazing views of Vienna from the hills of Nußberg.
To sit in the sun at benches amidst green vines, sipping a cool glass of crisp, white wine is just the best terroir that is! Add to that some food from the region and the view of Vienna at your feet, and it’s absolute bliss!
For those not happy about hiking, you can just head into Naschmarkt, the local, open-air food market, and ask for local wine; with 150 stalls offering almost every type of food or beverage, you’ll have ample choice.
- Vienna official tourism website about Wine in Vienna
- Austrias tourism website about Wine in Vienna
- Heuriger on Wikipedia