The Austrian capital of Vienna is also one of the nation’s four main wine-producing regions. It is particularly noteworthy because it is the only major capital city in the world where winemaking takes place within the city’s limits.
Overall, the city has more than 600 hectares of vineyards, including some within just a few miles of the city’s central square. During the Middle Ages, vineyards were located directly within the city’s walls. Now, however, the majority of vineyards are located on the very outskirts of the city.
The most common grape varietals in Vienna’s vineyards include Gruner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Zweigelt and Pinot Noir. In recent years, there have been efforts to produce some truly noteworthy, well-structured Gruner Veltliner wines. Locals also produce a cult favorite known as Gemischter Satz, which is essentially a white wine blended from several different varieties grown in a single Viennese vineyard.
Given the rich cultural history of Austria, the traditions of wine and music are very much integrated. Some of the leading classical music icons – including Mozart, Beethoven, and Hayden – all lived in Austria for part of their lives. Beethoven, particularly, was known for drinking the city’s local wine to improve his creative output as well as his overall health.
One beloved tradition in Vienna is the Heuriger wine tradition. Heuriger wine is the youngest, freshest wine available each season, and the first wines of the season traditionally come out on November 11 (which is celebrated as Saint-Martin’s Day). These Heuriger wines come out even earlier than the annual launch of France’s Beaujolais Nouveau.