Wijngaard in tuin Schönbrunn Palace in Wenen

De vier wijnmakers van de WienWien groep – foto Helene Waldner

Vier Weense wijnmakers, verenigd in de WienWien groep, hebben een wijngaard van 0,1 ha aangelegd in de paleistuin van het Schönbrunn Palace in Wenen.

De eerste oogst wordt verwacht in 2011. De opbrengst zal maximaal 500 flessen opleveren, die niet op de markt komen, maar een bijzondere, nog te bepalen bestemming zullen krijgen.

Het persbericht van communicatiebureau Wine & Partners:

The WienWein group of winemakers revives a baroque tradition
Viennese Wine from Schönbrunn Palace

Anyone who knows wine also knows Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. The former imperial residence of the Habsburgs, including Empress Maria Theresia, Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi, is amongst the most outstanding cultural monuments of old Europe.

And soon, the name of this baroque jewel with the soft ochre façade will stand also for a wine produced completely in the “Altwiener”, or old Viennese, tradition. The WienWein group of winemakers has planted new vines on 1, 000 square meters of land in the magnificent baroque palace gardens.

Beginning in 2011, grapes for a very special wine will be harvested here. Centuries ago, when the Austrian emperors and their court still lived in Schönbrunn, wine was regularly made from grapes grown in the palace’s vineyard, called “Liesenpfennig”. But in the mid-18th century, the emporer decided to eliminate the vines in order to provide more space for the palace leisure grounds. Today, once again, the vineyard tradition is being restored.

Viennese wine and Viennese winemakers

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is the only world capital in which there is a significant wine-growing sector. Viennese wine has a long tradition and, for several years now, wines of the highest quality – including those produced in the characteristically Viennese style – come from the Nussberg and Bisamberg in the north of the city, as well as from Maurerberg in the city’s southern area. This renaissance of Viennese wine-growing is indebted especially to WienWein, an association comprised of winemakers Rainer Christ, Michael Edlmoser, Fritz Wieninger and Richard Zahel.

The long-traditional wine speciality of Vienna is the “Viennese Gemischter Satz”. This is made from varieties such as Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Welschriesling, Neuburger, Zierfandler and Rotgipfler, which are planted together in one vineyard, and whose grapes are harvested and vinified together. At the time of harvest, the grapes usually have varying levels of ripeness – and this is what lends to such a distinctively crisp, multi-layered wine full of spice and fruit flavours.

Also the wine from Schönbrunn Palace will be a “Viennese Gemischter Satz”.

Cultural heritage and visitor attraction

The wine from Schönbrunn will be produced for more than drinking pleasure. It will also contribute to the care of the heritage of the palace and its park, as an old tradition is being revived through the new vineyard.

“We see the grapevines as important building blocks for an unlimited range of services,” says Dr. Wolfgang Kippes, a managing director of Schönbrunn Palace. “We present the cultural history of this imperial house, and wine-growing is a part of it – just like daily bread.”

But above all, the grounds are an additional attraction for the millions of visitors who come every year to see them – especially the gorgeous baroque gardens. The grapevines have been planted radially, according to the historical design of Schönbrunn Park, and thus reflect distinctive optical beauty. Especially during the summer, when the vines are lush with leaves, and during the autumn, when the leaves are in yellow and reddish colours just prior to the harvest, the vineyard will undoubtedly provide fabulous photographic views.

Says WienWein producer Richard Zahel: “A dream is now coming true. With our vineyard in Schönbrunn, we can bring culturally rich Vienna and its wine closer to vast numbers of people who perhaps are not often in touch with this subject.”

Annual harvest celebration at Schönbrunn

The first harvest is expected in 2011. And from then on, each harvest will be marked with a great celebration. When it’s time for the “Viennese Gemischter Satz” to be harvested, prominent wine lovers will be invited to help pick the grapes. The grapes will be vinified in the nearby winery of Richard Zahel, in Vienna’s Mauer district. Then the only disadvantage of the Cru Schönbrunn will be revealed: no more than approximately 500 bottles will be produced. Recipients of these special bouteilles have not yet been established.

“The bottles will most likely be auctioned off for a special purpose,” says WienWein winemaker Rainer Christ. “Or they will be given to certain individuals who strongly promote and support Viennese wine. We have many ideas, but nothing has been decided yet.”

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