Austrian wine culture means much more than simply drinking good wine. Take the opportunity to visit vineyards, a lane of wine cellars, or travel along one of the picturesque win
Visiting the winegrower
Austria’s winegrowers are almost always family businesses. Their estates often blend traditional and modern architecture showing the vintners’ readiness for innovation. Of course guests are welcome in the wine cellars and tasting rooms. If an advance appointment is made you will probably be led through the facilities by the owner or his wife and, of course, be invited to a wine tasting at the tour’s end. The wines can range from the lightest varieties to rarities and the conversant visitor will have the chance to talk shop about vintage, weather and fermentation process. There are, by the way, excellent restaurants in wine growing areas. The epicurean experience doesn’t end with the wine tasting. The winegrowers themselves will provide restaurant recommendations or you may consult one of the leading restaurant guides.
Cellars – small and large
If you’re not satisfied with just one cellar, continue looking underground in some of the winegrowing regions of Austria. In the so-called “Kellergassen” in Lower Austria, the curious visitor can stroll from cellar to cellar tasting wines or also admire centuries-old huge arching cellars in castles and monasteries. The cellar of Klosterneuburg monastery north of Vienna – one of the oldest and largest winegrowing estates in all of Austria – lies an astonishing 36 metres (118 ft.) under the ground. The wine world of Northern Austrian Retz extends 21 kilometres (13 miles) under the city. And the Styrian Seggau Castle has one of the largest wine cellars in all of Europe: It is 300 years old, 72 metres(23 ft.) long and eight and a half metres (28 ft.) high.
Along the Wine Trails
There are a number of wine trails leading through Austria’s wine-growing regions: the Southern and Eastern Styrian Wine Trails are characterised by dramatic hills, whereas the Weinviertel Wine Trail features gently rolling hills. Four wine trails run through the wine regions of the Burgenland, taking in many picturesque wine-making villages.