The capital of Austria is at the same time one of the nine federal provinces and with about 1.9 million inhabitants the most populous and with 415 square kilometres the largest city of the country. Until 1986, Vienna was also the capital of Lower Austria, the largest federal state in the east, when it was replaced by St. Pölten. The Danube flows through the city from north to south-east for a length of more than 20 kilometres. With over 600 hectares of vineyards, Vienna is the city with the largest wine production worldwide.
The Viennese winegrowing has a two and a half thousand years old history and is at least as old as the city itself when it was a small settlement. The Celts and before them the Illyrians had already been cultivating wine in this area, which they called "Vedunia", in 500 B.C., even before the Romans, which is proven by many finds such as wine barrels, pressing devices and grape seeds. Amongst others also at the two vineyards Bisamberg and Nußberg, where many vineyards are still planted today. When Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus (232-282) lifted the ban on planting vines outside Italy issued by Emperor Domitian (51-96), the legionaries in "Vindobona" began to cultivate vines and use Roman methods. Today's big city with an area of over 400 km² is literally built on vineyards.
Still in the late Middle Ages, the major parts of the later Viennese 21 districts were full of vineyards, also in today's core area of the city within the so-called Gürtel (belt) with the districts from one to nine. There are documents that testify to vineyards in today's districts or rather districts Stadtpark, Minoritenplatz, Rennweg, Alserbach, Alsegg, Matzleinsdorf, Linke Wienzeile, Weißgerberlände, Landstraße, Wieden and Mariahilf. Throughout the Middle Ages, viticulture was one of the main sources of income in Vienna and many Viennese lived directly and indirectly from it. Even in the early Middle Ages, the innkeeper's trade was considered a lucrative business and there are documented wine tavern names from the 14th century.
Today's "Stubenviertel" in the 1st district was also named after the many wine taverns and restaurants in this area. There were regulations, who was allowed to serve and sell wine and with which conditions, with protective measures against dine-and-dash cheats and roughnecks. This was also necessary, because "drinking and brawling" was also a part of the Viennese way of life at that time. The epistle "Sauffnarr" by the famous preacher Abraham a Sancta Clara (1644-1709) gives eloquent information about this. Strict laws were passed to protect wine. Beer was a strong competitor and in 1430 Duke Albrecht V (1397-1439) banned the public serving of wine in 1430, which could be very damaging to the town and our burgers, who have wine wax.
From the middle of the 14th century, exports began to flourish and Viennese wine was sold to the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), Poland and Bohemia. At the beginning of the 15th century, the vineyards in Vienna and the surrounding area grew rapidly and almost completely replaced agriculture. Therefore, in 1426 Duke Albrecht V. prohibited the planting of new vineyards in order to secure the city's food supply. Emperor Ferdinand I. (1503-1564) described wine in a city law as the first food of the city of Vienna. The famous wine book of the clergyman Johann Rasch (1540-1612) describes in detail the viticulture, the wines, the vineyard cultivation, the cellar techniques and also the drinking culture in this time.
Emperor Ferdinand III. (1608-1657) used wine, so to speak, to finance the defence of Vienna against the siege of the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) by introducing a special wine tax in 1639, amounting to one groschen per bucket of wine stored. The Swedes were successfully repulsed. The captured Swedes received as a mockery a glass of the taxed wine, which was called "Swedish wine". The best wines were stored in the three-storey k.k. Hofkeller deep below the castle. The emperor at that time, Leopold I. (1640-1705) commissioned the construction of a giant barrel with a volume of 5,050 buckets, or 285,000 litres of wine. A wine history of Vienna without the mention of the famous balladeer Lieber Augustin (lived in the 17th century) would be incomplete. Worth reporting is the year 1443, in which the wine was so extremely sour that allegedly even the maturation of the barrels was attacked. In Viennese vernacular, which has always aptly understood "to get things to the point", the term Reifbeißer was therefore created.
Vienna is both a generic and specific wine-growing region. Together with Lower Austria and Burgenland it forms the Weinland wine growing region. Around 500 winegrowers grow wine, mainly in the west and north of the city. There are vineyards in 9 of the 23 districts of Vienna, namely 1010 Innere Stadt, 1100 Favoriten, 1130 Hietzing, 1160 Ottakring, 1170 Hernals, 1190 Döbling, 1210 Floridsdorf, 1220 Donaustadt and 1230 Liesing. Most of the 145 vineyards are located in Döbling (86 with over 300 hectares of vineyards), Floridsdorf (33) and Liesing (11). In 2017, the Winzervereinigung WienWein started an initiative to classify vineyards. The vineyards of the City of Vienna are divided into five major sites:
Possible indications of origin are Riede (e.g. Alsegg, Preußen, Reisenberg, Rosengartl), Großlage (e.g. Kahlenberg), cadastral commune (e.g. Grinzing, Stammersdorf) or district (e.g. Döbling, Hernals, Liesing).
A provincial law, which took effect in 2015, now stipulates that the Viennese vineyards must be cultivated on a mandatory basis; this means that they are protected as historical monuments, so to speak. All cultivators or landowners of Viennese vineyards are obliged to use them for viticulture. Even areas that were cleared after the law came into force must be replanted after eight years at the latest. The winegrowers of the Association WienWein had been campaigning for this for years. In the past, Vienna's vineyards were always threatened by real estate speculation, because existing regional planning and development plans offered too little protection. The law put an end to speculation.
A curiosity is the smallest vineyard in Vienna with only 75 vines on about 170 m² in a front garden of the Ringstraßen-Palais "Wiener von Welten" at Schwarzenbergplatz 2 in the 1st district. According to tradition, it was planted around 1900 by a caretaker from Transylvania. Every autumn, the first grapes are personally harvested by the mayor of Vienna, with great media attention. The vinification is carried out by Weingut Mayer at Pfarrplatz in Döbling. The harvest results in about 50 to 60 bottles of Gemischter Satz (with a main part of Grüner Veltliner), which are auctioned in December on the occasion of the humanitarian action "Licht ins Dunkel" (Light into Darkness).
The fact that Vienna and wine are inextricably linked is also manifested by the fact that the two words are formed from the same letters. In the Middle Ages, the city was called "Weyn" in several German dialects (for example in the Lower Rhine dialect). The famous wine author Hugh Johnson writes that no city is as full of wine bliss as Vienna. The Wiener Heurige is known worldwide and many guests come to Vienna (also) because of this. In the 180 Heuriger establishments, the sale by the glass of high-quality bottled wine has also become established. Well-known wine places with many Heurigen are Grinzing, Heiligenstadt, Jedlersdorf, Mauer, Neustift am Walde, Nussdorf, Oberlaa, Sievering, Stammersdorf and Strebersdorf.
In 2016 the vineyards covered a total of 637 hectares of vines. Compared to 2009 with 612 hectares there was an increase of 4%. The share of the clearly dominant white wine varieties is 83%, the share of red wine varieties 17%. The white mixed set displaced the Grüner Veltliner from the top.
|Grape variety - austrian
|officially authorised in Austria
|Gem. set white||-||179||28||51|
|White Riesling||Riesling, Rhine Riesling||white||60||9,4||84|
|White Burgundy||Pinot Blanc, Clever||white||43||6,7||51|
|Zweigelt||Blauer Zweigelt, Rotburger||red||42||6,5||49|
|Chardonnay||Morillon - not used in Vienna||white||30||74,6||46|
|Blue Burgundy||Pinot Noir, Blue Pinot Noir||red||19||2,9||22|
|Blanc sauvignon||Nutmeg Sylvaner||white||11||1,8||11|
|Muscatel||Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc||white||10||1,5||7|
|Traminer||Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T.||white||7||1,1||10|
|Grey Burgundy||Pinot Gris, Ruländer||white||4,5||0,7||-|
|Early Red Veltliner||-||white||2,6||0,4||4|
|Gem. set red||-||red||0,8||0,1||2|
|Decorative Fandler||Late Red||white||0,6||0,1||1|
|and. white varieties||-||white||3,4||0,5||2|
The typical Viennese Heurigen wine is the Gemischter Satz, in which, according to old tradition, different grape varieties are planted mixed in the vineyard and harvested and processed together. The "Wiener Gemischter Satz" was accepted by the Slow Food association as a "passenger" of the "Ark of Taste" in 2009. It is thus one of the foods that should be strictly protected from the great threat posed by industrial agriculture and the food industry and preserved for future generations. Since the 2013 vintage, it has been available as a Vienna Mixed Set DAC with controlled origin.
In contrast to all other wine-growing regions, all quality wines from Vienna may continue to be marketed under the designation "Wiener Wein" (non-DAC quality wines from the Weinviertel, for example, may only be marketed with the generic wine growing region of Lower Austria as their origin). A mixed set which does not comply with the above-mentioned provisions of the Vienna Mixed Set must be marketed as a regional wine with the designation of origin Weinland.
Well-known Viennese wine producers with often also a Heurigen business are Bernreiter Peter, Christ Rainer, Cobenzl, Edlmoser Michael, Fuhrgassl-Huber, Göbel Hans-Peter, Hajszan-Neumann, Helm Robert, Hengl-Haselbrunner, Hofer Wolfgang, Kattus, Langes Irene, Lentner Karl, Mayer am Pfarrplatz, Mayer Vitikultur, Nössing Manuel, Pfaffl Roman, Reinprecht Hugo, Schilling Herbert, Klosterneuburg Abbey, Wieninger, Winzerhof Leopold and Zahel Well-known winegrowers' associations are Traditionsweingüter Österreich, Vienna Classic and WienWein.