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Forget schnitzel and the opera: This European capital is the world’s biggest urban vineyard

It might come as a surprise that Austria’s capital of Vienna is the biggest wine-producing city in the world.

Home to 700 hectares of vineyards and more than 276 producers, Vienna is the only capital to produce so much wine within the city limits – including famous wine destinations like France’s Bordeaux and Italy’s Tuscany.

Vienna is a treasure trove of wine culture, so why not dive in?

Vienna’s wine heritage

Wine production is a long-standing tradition in Vienna, dating back to the 12th century. One of its most coveted tourist destinations, Schönbrunn Palace, actually has its own vineyard that produces the famous field blend, Wiener Gemischter Satz.

Austria’s signature grape is the Grüner Veltliner, a white wine variety that ripens in mid to late October. It’s appreciated by wine experts all over the world for its signature vein of acidity. The grape accounts for over a quarter of the wine produced in Vienna.

The best place to sample Viennese wines is in taverns known as ‘heurigers’. Heuriger culture – heuriger meaning a cosy tavern where local winemakers serve their produce – is still a big part of Viennese city life. The capital has over 100 of these dotted around the town. Most have buffets piled high with homemade delicacies. A great way to line your stomach ahead of all those wines.

The short distance between the city centre and these taverns makes Vienna’s ‘heurigers’ the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the main drag, Stephansplatz. Since 2019, Viennese heuriger culture has been considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Contemporary wine culture in Vienna

Nowadays, the city’s bars and restaurants are a big part of this lively wine scene as Vienna’s creative young winemakers bring a contemporary twist to its ‘heuriger’ heritage. New bars rub shoulders with the ancient craft and pair the wine with locally produced food.

Vienna’s wine renaissance and the revival of this farm-to-table lifestyle make the city a must visit destination for anyone who enjoys sustainably sourced fresh produce as well as buzzing nightlife and rich cultural history.

Exploring the local vineyards

Those who want to see the wine making process from grape to glass will enjoy Vienna’s Wine Hiking Day in late September, when locals and visitors walk a wine hiking trail. Tickets can be booked online.

The event is designed to showcase some spectacular views of the vineyards, share the history of Viennese wine making and finish the day sampling local specialties. We recommend a refreshing Gespritzter (a local favourite mix of wine with sparkling water) at a rustic, open air buschenschank bar set among the vines.