Having a glass of wine at one of Vienna's wine bars

Having a glass of wine at one of Vienna's wine bars

New wine is usually enjoyed at a Heurigen (wine bar licensed to sell the new vintage). Austria in general, but especially the area around Vienna, produces quite a large amount of wine each year. It's not often exported and white is more common than red.

Grüner Veltliner is a common white wine served almost everywhere. Officially the new wine season begins on November 11 (St Martin's Day), but as early as September, some partially-fermented new wine (called Sturm which is cloudy, because it has not been strained) is available around town in 2L green bottles (try the Naschmarkt – sometimes the vendors will have samples, it is less strong than wine, about 4 percent alcohol ).

Taverns can call themselves Heurigens whether the wine they serve is their own or not – for genuine in-house product look for a Buschenschank. This is a particularly Viennese Heuriger which can only be open 300 days per year or until their supply of house-made wine runs out.

Heurigen can be found e.g. in Grinzing, Sievering (19th district) and Mauer & Rodaun (23rd district) areas, but also in almost every suburban area in Vienna. Even in the center, there are some Stadtheurigen. While the Heurigen of Grinzing are bigger and more famous with tourists, they are often a rip-off.

If any of the year’s vintage lasts until next year, it officially becomes Alte (old) wine on the next Saint Martin's Day.

The Heurigen in the South of Vienna or in Perchtoldsdorf are much cheaper and serve the same quality as the Heurigen in Grinzing. Also in the Northern suburbs, you can find cheap and somewhat authentic Heurigen.

Try the towns of Stammersdorf or Hagenbrunn, for example Karl Matzka www.matzka.at.tt, hard to reach by public transport.

After a long day, the perfect place to relax among Viennese are the Heurigen in the suburbs. Somewhat akin to a beer garden, except with wine, these tiny treasures are the only places authorized to serve new wine. New wine is made from the first pressing of the grape and can appear a little cloudy. Be careful, it's stronger than you might think! This is why it's served in very small glasses, .25L and up.

Some Heurigen serve food, either elaborate Viennese specialties or very simple bread and cheese platters. No matter which one you choose, you're guaranteed to enjoy yourself.

Just hop on a convenient outbound tram line, take it to the very last stop, and look for buildings with large, evergreen foliage hung over the doors. Each one is unique, but all are a good bargain. Locals invariably have a favorite: ask around.

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