Steeply falling rows of vines and, just beyond, the city of Vienna and the River Danube. Taverns with wooden tables next to the vineyards offer pork, sauerkraut and dumplings, while the carafes of iced white wine come and go. This unique place has 700 hectares of vineyards surrounding the city, along with 300 wine growers, all in the Municipality of Vienna.
The area boasts an equally unique tradition – Vienna Gemischter Satz, or “mixed grape blend”. This ancient technique is still practiced in 50 – 70 hectares with different grapevines (up to as many as twenty) growing in the same vineyard. It is nothing like the cuvée method or normal blending: here the mixing is in the vineyard.
All the grapes are white, but they play different roles: there are basic grapes (such as Pinot Blanc and Grüner Veltiner), grapes providing acidity (such as Rhein Riesling) and others for aromaticity (such as Muskateller and Traminer). Each wine is different but they are all a strong expression of the local area.
Nobody knows the exact origin of this system of cultivation. It is probably associated with the need to keep at least part of the harvest in case of bad weather, frosts or disease.
Until the 1990s the wine was considered of little value, a light wine to be drunk young. The situation has now changed radically: a group of about 20 producers has shown that Vienna Gemischter Satz wines can have great personality.
Leading the way was Fritz Wieninger, who cultivates 35 hectares in the Viennese hills using the biodynamic system and can manage his mixed vineyards with the skill of an orchestral conductor.
Wieninger explains us that it is important to mix late and early varieties, know when is the right moment to harvest the grapes, add the right dose of exotic aromas to freshness and acidity. It is a complex balancing act demanding the experience and sensitivity of a great wine grower.
The Presidium was mainly created to achieve cultural objectives.
In 2009 a producers’ association was born, ruled by strict guidelines. The most important of these relate to the minimum number of grape varieties which have to be present in the same vineyard, the use of sustainable cultivation methods which disallows use of barrique, herbicides are artificial yeasts.
The overall aim of the association is to protect, preserve, record and provide certification for the traditional Viennese methods of viniculture, and to promote the creation of new vineyards in the method of “Vienna Gemischter Satz”.
Municipality of Vienna
Franz Michael Mayer, tel.+43 69912027785, www.fm-vitikultur.at
Fritz Wieninger, Stammersdorfer Str. 80, 1210 Wien, tel.+43 12901012, www.wieninger.at
Stefan Hajszan, Grinzinger Str. 86, 1190 Wien, tel.+43 13707237, www.hajszan.com
Gsöls, Himmelstr. 19, 1190 Wien, tel.+43 13205893, www.zumberger.at
Kierlinger, Kahlenberger Str. 20, 1190 Wien, tel.+43 13702264, www.kierlinger.at
Martin Obermann, Cobenzlg. 102, 1190 Wien, tel.+43 13284341, www.weinbauobermann.at
Michael Edlmoser, Maurer Lange-Gasse 123, 1230 Wien, tel.+43/1/889 86 80, www.edlmoser.at
Norbert Zawodsky, Reinischg. 3, 1190 Wien, tel.+43/1/320 79 78, www.zawodsky.at
Peter Uhler, tel.+43/660/533 75 51, www.weinuhler.at
Rainer Christ, Amtsstr. 10-14, 1210 Wien, tel.+43/1/292 51 52, www.weingut-christ.at
Richard Zahel, Maurer Hauptpl. 9, 1230 Wien, tel.+43/1/889 13 18, www.zahel.at
Weingut Cobenzl, Am Cobenzl 96, 1190 Wien, tel.+43/1/320 58 05, www.weingutcobenzl.at
Weingut Dr. Georg Wailand, email@example.com, www.wailandwein.at
Wolfgang Wagner, tel. +43/664/510 38 13