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Wien is a wine city, so don’t be tempted by a pint of beer and try one of the fabulous local grapes
While Austria holds the infamous second place in beer consumption per capita, you’ll see an almost equal number of wine glasses in Vienna’s restaurants and bars. One might conclude that we do appreciate a drink or two, but at least there is a wide array of sophisticated options to choose from. Austrians love their home-grown wine, with 22 white and 14 red varieties to choose from. The best known international success is Grüner Veltliner, which is served in restaurants all over the world.
What better place to come across Austria’s many labels than in the exclusive wine cellar of Vienna’s gourmet supermarket Meinl am Graben. Thirty wines are available by the glass and more than 2,000 bottles are on sale, featuring a who-is-who of Austrian winemakers like Hirtzberger, Bründlmayer (try their sparkling wine) or Jurschitsch next to a vast selection of foreign vineyards. If you’d like to meet the vintners, they invite Austrian winegrowers once a month for tastings, accompanied by an exclusive six-course menu.
Don’t let the down to earth decor fool you – this pub has gained a reputation as one of the best wine bars in town. Many producers and sommeliers are among their regulars, and the cosy bar and intimate atmosphere makes it easy to join in conversation with fellow wine aficionados. If you want to stock up, just walk across the street where their store sells more than 3,000 different wines.
To get the full local experience, spending an evening at a Heuriger is mandatory. These Viennese establishments specialize in un-aged wine grown and produced on site (Vienna is the only metropolis in the world that grows wine of noteworthy quantity), and Mayer am Pfarrplatz is one of the best. Besides the local celebrities who you might spot here, Ludwig van Beethoven used to live on their romantic premises, his rooms overlooking an inner courtyard overgrown with wild vines. Don’t miss out on the homemade spreads and desserts, which go well with their annual wine selection.
When two leading sommeliers team up with a top chef, something good is bound to happen. MAST’s cutting-edge food menu boasts dishes like lamb neck with eggplant, tartar or rainbow trout ceviche – all as tasty as it sounds. But their star attractions are the liquid kinds. Following the motto “organic will soon be the new standard,” the focus in this non-elitist bistro lies on natural wines. And if you like their dinnerware, it’s on sale next to their self-produced MAST beer, white wine and sparkling wine.