Janes Walk Vienna Grinzing

Janes Walk Vienna Grinzing

Vienna and Vineyards from Krapfenwaldgasse Wien 1019

Vienna and Vineyards from Krapfenwaldgasse – Grinzing

I’m leading a walking tour from Cobenzl to Grinzing on May 2, 2014, as part of the worldwide Jane’s Walk weekend. Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is required reading for anyone interested in city planning and how cities work.

Sign showing proclamation by Kaiser Joseph II allowing grape farmers to sell their own wine (1784) "Buschenschank".

Sign showing proclamation by Kaiser Joseph II allowing grape farmers to sell their own wine (1784) “Buschenschank”.

The walk will start at Wiener Linien bus 38A stop in the Cobenzl parking lot. We’ll walk down the Oberer Reisenbergweg into the centre of Grinzing, head up to the Krapfenwaldgasse (see the view above). Along the way we’ll talk about history, wine in Vienna and Grinzing.

Der Wiener Heurige sign Grinzing Vienna

Der Wiener Heurige sign Grinzing Vienna

At the end of the walk we’ll stop for a glass of wine and some Heurigen food at Jutta Ambrositsch’s Buschenschank in Residence. Here’s a link to the detailed information about my tour Grinzing, Wein in Wien in case you’d like to take the walk by yourself. Contact me and I can send you my notes for the tour.

Vienna – Glacis Beisl

Vienna – Glacis Beisl

Glacis Beisl Vienna - entrance on a winter night.

Glacis Beisl Vienna – entrance on a winter night.

The Glacis Beisl is one of my favorite restaurants in Vienna. Located in the MuseumsQuartier, it’s a very comfortable place with a great garden in the summertime.

The room is large and comfortable. It’s no smoking (inside) and the noise levels are fairly low.

They give you the option of having linen tablecloth and napkins, bread and a spread (Gedeck, cover charge in English) or not. This is really a nice feature and makes the restaurant good for both formal and informal dining. You should specify which you want when you make a reservation (or come into the restaurant).

The service has been very good every time I have visited. The staff are nice, speak English and are helpful with menu choices. The menu itself has an English translation on the last page.

The food is excellent. Whether you want traditional dishes like Wiener Schnitzel or Tafelspitz, or more creative cooking. Their food comes from good sources, local and often organic. The bread is from Joseph Brot (a local bakery) and is fantastic. They have a changing menu and standards. Like many Viennese restaurants they have a daily lunch special including a main course and soup.

The wine list features many very good Austrian wines by the glass and bottle. This is a nice place to experience Austrian wines. They feature a rotating winery of the month. The beer is good (Eggenberger and Budweiser from Czech Republic).

We love to take visitors to the Glacis Beisl to taste excellent Austrian food at a reasonable price.

Vienna – 1500 Foodmakers

Vienna – 1500 Foodmakers

Table reservation card at 1500 Foodmakers in Vienna.

Table reservation card at 1500 Foodmakers in Vienna.

On New Years Day we tried the restaurant 1500 Foodmakers located in the 25 Hours Hotel in Vienna. We reserved and found the sign in the photo waiting for us on a nice table.

The restaurant is very comfortable. Tables are big and well spaced. The music is good, you can hear it but it’s not disturbingly loud. It’s possible to have a nice conversation. It’s no smoking!

The staff were excellent. Very friendly and accommodating.

The food was very good. Generally simple dishes, but with a hint of complexity. We had 4 pizzas and a salad. All were very good. The menu also featured some pastas and interesting dishes. There was a nice basket of “pizza bread” with olive oil and salt waiting on the table (no charge). Much of the food seems to be sourced locally or at least with quality in mind.

The wine list is very nice with lots of good Austrian and international wines. We had a very nice Merlot for 25 Euro a bottle.

In the summer they have a converted Airstream Trailer outside where they cook hamburgers with picnic tables. We’ll certainly be back!

Burgenland Austria bike tour

Burgenland Austria bike tour

Frauenkirchen Church in Frauenkirchen, Burgenland Austria, August 2013.

Frauenkirchen Church in Frauenkirchen, Burgenland Austria, August 2013.

On Saturday I took my bike on the train to Gols in Burgenland (Austria). My goal was to combine a visit to Judith Beck Vineyards with some exercise on a beautiful end of summer day.

Saturday was Pannobile Day 2013 (German) in Gols. It’s organized by a group of 11 (opps!) 9 winemakers around Gols to celebrate the new year of Pannobile wine (they make a single red and/or white wine that they call Pannobile from a blend of grapes). The winemakers then work together on marketing etc. The name Pannobile comes from the Roman name for the area.

On Pannobile Day all the wineries are open for tasting and there is a big dinner party in the evening. Since I was on my bike I decided it would be best to only taste one and not stay for dinner (maybe next year I’ll stay overnight and go!).

I tasted three wines from Judith Beck Winery just on the outskirts of Gols. I chose her wine because I’d enjoyed it before and it’s organic. She has a beautiful winery building and tasting room. The people were quite friendly and there was nice food to nibble on. I tried a white, the Pannobile 2011 and the Pinot Noir. They were all very nice, but since I was on my bike I only took one bottle (the Pannobile naturally!).

Regional train from Burgenland at Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main train station), August 2013.

Regional train from Burgenland at Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main train station), August 2013.

The bike ride was great too. Although it’s a little hard to get to the Vienna Hauptbahnhof railway station by bike (there are very few direct routes with good bike paths right now). However the station is just being completed so hopefully this will change. The Austrian National Railways (OBB) has a nice feature on its travel planning software that allows you to select only trains where you can take your bike on board. You can take a bike on most of the local and regional trains. However, there was not very much space on this beautiful day for bikes, so my advice would be to get their early. You don’t need to pay extra to take a bike on these trains either, nice!

I took the train to Gols. There I followed Burgenland bike route B-23 (the Culture Bikeway). It goes through the vineyards to a small city called Frauenkirchen (named after a large baroque church in the town). The church was a pilgrimage church in the middle ages and there are several historic buildings around it including what looks like an old cloister across the street. The cloister is also a historic landmark and houses a restaurant called Paprikawirt – “Paprika Restaurant” in English – that looked excellent.

After a short break I headed back along the path through more vineyards and agricultural fields, then the towns of Halbturn and Mönchhof, before reaching Gols and the Judith Beck Winery tasting room. The path is quite well marked with signs and markings on the pavement, although I did get a little lost on the stretch between Halbturn and Mönchhof. After my tasting I rode around in the town of Gols since I had time before my train. There was at least one more Pannobile winery I passed and I also noticed the Pannobile Taxi, presumably to take people between wineries on Pannobile Day (another tip for next year!). The bike ride was about 24 km and the landscape was pretty much totally flat.

The trip to Gols from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) takes about one hour. The OBB has a group fare called Einfach Raus that lets up to five people travel on regional trips for about 30 euros, it’s a really good deal for visitors.

Picking Gemischten Satz Grapes in Vienna

Picking Gemischten Satz Grapes in Vienna

On Saturday I finally did something I have always wanted to do: pick grapes for wine! It started with an e-mail from Slow Foods Vienna asking for volunteers to help winemaker Jutta Ambrositsch harvest her “Sommeregg” vineyard (one of several she has) for Gemischter Satz wine.

Vienna produces the most wine of any city in the world; the main reason is that the city has a huge land area and over 50% is open space (forest, hills and agriculture). Many of the hills surrounding Vienna produce excellent wine. The city even owns a winery called Cobenzl. Cobenzl has a wonderful view overlooking the city, a restaurant and an adjoining mini farm for children.

A big plus for public transport fans in Vienna is that you can take the city bus to the vineyards! The 38-A bus (direction Kahlenberg) takes you from the U-Bahn (U4) terminal station Heiligenstadt to Cobenzl and on to Kahlenberg (another great view with a nice hotel and restaurant). On the way the bus goes through the Grinzing neighbourhood where there are many Heurigen (local wine restaurants).

Anyway, back to the picking. Unfortunately Saturday was grey and cool – but at least it did not rain! – so I dressed warmly. After a brief description of what grapes to harvest (no mouldy grapes, no dried out grapes, no grapes damaged by hail or wasps – when the skin of the grape is open it gives a chance for vinegar bacteria to get in – and, very important, no lady bugs – they make the wine stink) we were on our way up the hill with our collection bins.

There were about 30 people helping harvest about a half-hectare area of grapes. The volunteers consisted of friends of Jutta’s and Slow Food members. It was a fun group with lots of talking during the work. I was lucky enough to work with someone studying agriculture and wine making, so I learned a lot and could always ask her if the particular grapes were OK or not before throwing them in the bin. Many hands make light work and we finished the field by about 3 pm (and even had time for a one-hour lunch break).

Lunch was cold salads, cheese, bread, ham and some of Jutta’s 2007 Gemischter Satz (from the same vineyard we were picking) and a 2008 Riesling which was really excellent. When we were finished we had a piping hot goulash soup – nice since when standing around (as opposed to picking) you became quite cold quickly. A little more wine and then back to the bus stop in Grinzing for the trip home.

You may be asking yourself what is “Gemischter Satz”? Translated literally it means “mixed batch”. It is typical to Vienna and is made from vineyards that have many different grape varieties planted together. In Jutta’s half-hectare Sonnenegg vinyard there are about 20 different sorts of grapes including Grüner Veltliner, Weißburgunder, Neuburger, Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Gelber traminer, Gewürztraminer, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Roter Veltliner, … and several traditional Austrian grapes that are unique). The Sonnenegg vineyard was planted in 1955 but has probably been used for grapes for centuries.

Later this week we will attend the Slow Foods Terra Madre Austria congress at the Vienna City Hall. The congress highlights traditional foods from Austria and Gemischter Satz will be one of the foods that are officially recognised by Slow Foods at the event. We will go to a class on Gemischter Satz and learn lots more about it, so expect to hear more later. In the meantime, when you visit Vienna look for Gemischter Satz and give it a try – it’s not for everyone, but fun to experience.

All photos from my flickr site, here’s a link to all the photos from picking Gemischter Satz at Sonnenegg 2009.

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