Visiting the Vienna Wine Gardens
Visiting the Vienna wine gardens, located in the Vienna Woods, can seem daunting to first-time visitors, as the Vienna Woods aren’t exactly central to the tourist path. Thus, many newbies tend to skip them. This is a huge mistake! Much like beer plays an integral part in Munich’s culture, wine plays a major role in Vienna’s culture. In fact, Vienna is the only major metropolitan city in the world to boast 1,700 acres of vineyards within the city proper.
On your next trip to Vienna, do yourself a solid and explore the Vienna wine gardens. Visiting the Vienna wine gardens is a great way to experience Vienna beyond the beaten tourist path. This easy to use guide to the Vienna wine gardens will get you started on a taste journey of authentic Vienna.
The Famous Vienna Heuriger
A wine garden is actually called a heuriger. The heuriger tradition was born in the 18th century when Emperor Joseph II allowed the country’s vintners to sell newly fermented wine tax-free. Soon after, winemakers were setting up tables in their gardens and vineyards, inviting Viennese to partake in the new tradition.
The heuriger has since evolved into permanent wine gardens, most of which now serve food. In fact, some food historians argue that the heuriger is the first farm-to-table food movement. Many of the vineyard owners also grow vegetables, raise cattle and chicken, etc. Thus, the food they serve is right from the farm.
Don’t expect fancy, though. Heurigers fall towards the rustic side which lends to the charm of the experience. Expect offer buffets stuffed with hearty offerings of both cold and hot selections.
A heuriger only serves wine directly from its vineyard. The wines are young so they tend to be sweeter and a little rough around the edges. Sturm, the red, adds a level of heartiness not found in most wines. Locals toast “Eat up!” when consuming it. If you prefer a dry wine, look for the word “trocken” on the menu.
Plan a Trip to Vienna!
We stayed at the Le Meridien on our last trip to Vienna and loved it. It’s super hip, and its location across from the Vienna Opera House can’t be beat. More on the budget-friendly side is Hotel Saint Shermin. It’s clean and comfortable and located only blocks from the Karlsplatz Underground Station. There are also plenty of hotels near the wine gardens that would make for a romantic couple of days.
Where to Find A Heuriger
There are several wine-garden suburbs in the Vienna woods. Grinzing is the most famous and thus the most touristy. Nussdorf tends to be more popular with the locals and provides more of an authentic experience. Heiligenstadt is famous for its musical heritage and even boasts a wine garden, Beethovenhaus, where Beethoven lived when he was composing his Ninth Symphony.
The heurigers don’t keep the same convenient schedules as restaurants and most aren’t open during the winter. If there’s a particular heuriger you want to visit, be sure to check their website for operating days and hours. The Vienna tourism website has a great directory of heurigers for your research and reference.
While I recommend exploring the Vienna Wine Gardens on your own, Get Your Guide offers a relaxing bike and boat tour that is worth consideration.
In season, catch the metro to the wine suburb of your choice, walk around until you find a board with the words “ausg’steckt” written on it, and get ready for a traditional Vienna experience. If you prefer a more guided experience, I highly recommend a bike tour of the gardens with Viator.
Check Out My Other Posts on Vienna to Make the Most of Your Trip!