Is viticulture really possible in a capital city? In some parts of the world, vines are planted just for show, a mere tourist attraction. But Vienna is different. The 637 hectares of planted vines play a significant economical role, provide a sustainable amount of greenery around the city, and form the basis for high quality wines. Since 2013 the local speciality "Wiener Gemischter Satz" (Vienniese Field Blend) is part of the Austrian DAC-Family and strengthens the identity of Vienniese Wine even more.
Right up until the late Middle Ages, vineyards also flourished within the inner city walls of Vienna, in today's prestigious First District, yet nowadays, vines are cultivated in the outer districts and the outskirts of Vienna. Wine producers from the northern wine-growing villages of Strebersdorf, Stammersdorf and Jedlersdorf also have vineyards planted on the Bisamberg, north of the Danube, with its favourable conditions for the Pinot varieties. In the west of the City, from Ottakring, Hernals and moving northwest towards Pötzleinsdorf and the 19th District, the varied carbonate-rich soils offer ideal conditions for Riesling, Chardonnay and Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc), particularly around Heiligenstadt, Nussdorf, Grinzing, Sievering and Neustift am Walde. In the southern parts of Vienna, calcareous, brown and black earth soils around Mauer, Rodaun and Oberlaa favour the production of full-bodied white wines and rich, supple red wines. Virtually all Viennese producers cultivate grapes for the traditional 'Gemischter Satz', which is comprised of different varieties planted together in a vineyard and that are also harvested together all at one time and turned into wine. In particular, the rediscovered top vineyard site, the Nussberg, has attracted in an almost magical way so many young, creative winemakers from all corners of the wine capital.
The attraction of the traditional Viennese 'Heuriger' wine taverns is undiminished, and popular with local and tourists alike. There is no distinction between the larger, more prestigious examples with large buffets, that are open all year round, or the smaller, 'Buschenschank' versions, hidden amidst the vineyards and only serving food and wine for a few weeks per year; they are always full. Even the most discerning patron is likely to be satisfied with the wide selection of top class wines served by the glass.
In particular, the "Wiener Gemischter Satz" – Vienna's showcase wine – has captured international recognition especially since undergoing remarkable reinterpretation by visionary top Viennese winemakers and being bestowed, in 2013, with protection of origin status.
Until recently, wines from Wien, or the wine-growing region of Vienna, Austria's capital city, were regarded as being simple 'Heuriger', or wine tavern wines. Nowadays, they enjoy cult status and are listed in gourmet restaurants. It's no wonder that, for several years already, Vienna's top winemakers have been impressing numerous national and international tasting juries with their wines – from wonderful whites such as Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc to outstanding reds like Pinot Noir and Zweigelt.