Whilst Johann Strauss’ waltz, Tales from the Vienna Woods, isn’t played as you walk along the woods’ trails and through its vineyards, you can imagine how the tune could invoke a liveliness, providing the Wiener a breather from city’s hustle and bustle.
The beautiful Vienna Woods is located on the outskirts of the city and is filled with a lot of hiking paths. It’s located around 30km from the city, extremely popular with locals and hardy tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city alike.
One of our more enjoyable outings was to the Vienna Woods and a heuriger. The heuriger are in the incredible winelands found just on the outskirts of the city – it is a wine garden, generally owned by a family-run winemaker, selling their wine directly to the public, and serving food alongside it.
The term heuriger is not protected so all sorts of bars call themselves a heuriger. Heuriger means “of this year” and refers to the wine made in the year. Traditionally, this term was also used for private bars run by local wine farmers, where they sold their own – and only their own – wine. However, this term has become more common across parts of Austria.
A heuriger is usually filled with local regulars, who come for an hour or two in the evening to drink a bit of wine, have a chat, and listen to, in most cases, live music or singing, and have a simple bite to eat. However, these are becoming more popular among tourists to Vienna, who want a dash of rural culture in their urban stay. Nothing wrong with that – in fact, I would recommend spending some time in a heuriger. Most established guide books will send you straight to the middle of Grinzing. However, there are a number which are established amongst the vineyard but have variable opening hours.
We enjoyed two heuriger during the afternoon, Hueriger Rudolfshof and Zum Martin Sepp, after walking through the vineyards from Kahlenberg. Our walk back to the wine growing community of Grinzing had the most splendid views across the vineyards to Vienna in the distance. Here, we took in some lunch and imbibed in the local wine.
The narrow streets of Grinzing still boast an old-fashioned rural charm, more serene than Vienna, and is only a short bus ride away. It is hard to fathom how a town so close to a major city can still retain much of its village charm. This charm is only enhanced by locals playing traditional oompah music, that so resonates with my childhood memory and contrasts starkly with Strauss’ symphonies.