There are two great things about Austria’s wine regions, they not only produce some of the world’s best red and white varieties but they are also beautiful places for sightseers to survey.
THERE’S one word you need to know if you’re planning a visit to Austria and that’s buschenschank.
No, it’s not the local response when someone sneezes, or even a swearword that will make little old Austrian ladies blush, but the place to go when you’re seeking to sample the fine wine produced around this charming corner of central Europe.
A buschenschank is a rustic venue of just a few of rooms that’s run by a local vigneron or vintner with a bundle of twigs called a buschen arranged at the entrance showing it’s the spot to sample the best vintage or variety.
And there’s no shortage of wonderful wine to try in Austria with the country home to an assortment of esteemed wine regions – there’s Vienna, Burgenland, Lower Austria and Styria – producing 40 varieties of grapes across 46,500ha of vineyards.
So, what’s special about Austrian wine and the regions in which it’s produced?
Let’s take a wander through wine country to see what makes this industry so superior.
Travellers can start exploring Austria’s wine scene as soon as they step from the plane in Vienna with the metropolis the only world capital that can claim to have a significant wine-making community within the city boundary.
Vines have been cultivated around Vienna since the Romans were in residence and today travellers can catch a tram to a suburban estate and take in views to the city skyline while working through the bottles at a neighbourhood heurige which is another version of the famous buschenschank.
With 300 days of sunshine every year Austria’s fertile Burgenland is the perfect place to grow grapes and the fact the area is less than an hour’s drive from Vienna means it’s a cinch for visitors to escape the bustle and become immersed in traditions being preserved by a new generation of vintners.
All that sunshine and the breezes drifting across nearby Lake Neusiedl means the Burgenland has a much warmer climate than other corners of the country so produces an impressive array of white, red and even sweet varietals.
Terraced hillsides following the scenic twists and turns of the Danube River provide ground for the vineyards of Lower Austria with the locals proudly continuing the agricultural and gastronomical traditions established centuries ago.
When it comes to grape grazing Winzer Krems offers an entertaining tour that lets visitors learn everything they need to know about the local industry while Nikolaihof is Austria’s oldest estate and home to a restaurant that promises the chance to sample local blends beside regional cuisine.
Sauvignon blanc is the southern district’s signature drop with the grapes grown in vineyards that sprawl across hectares of steep slopes and the finished product sampled in dozens of traditional taverns and tasting rooms.
Styria is home to the country’s oldest wine road – the route links villages like Ehrenhausen, Arnfels, Oberhaag and Leutschach which flank the Slovenian border and are surrounded by mountainside estates – and its location only 50km from Graz means it’s ideal for a day trip or weekend away.
To discover more about Austrian wines, visit the Austria Tourism website.
Written by Sarah Nicholson, a KARRYON contributor.
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