On Tuesday we packed our bags and said goodbye to the little part of Vienna which had been our home.
Our first stop was north of the city to the town of Sachsendorf where we visited the beautiful winery of Waldschütz. We have been importing Waldschütz wine for a few years and they keep getting better and winning multiple gold medals whenever entered into competitions. Ralph has the special touch and creates some amazing wines. He is also very involved in marketing his wines and has come across to the UK a number of times to help us at wine dinners and trade shows. It seemed the right thing to go and visit him for a change!
We arrived on yet another gloriously sunny day and Ralph gave us a tour of the winery. I was fascinated by them having eight large stainless steel tanks which are kept purely for excess yield! Comparing this to the ancient corking machine (now only used for magnums) and we could see the generations spanning the lifetime of the winery. Following the tour, we sat in the sun and enjoyed tasting the very lowest level of their wines which they sell locally in one-litre bottles. These are usually drunk as spritzers and that is exactly what we did. Very refreshing, especially the red, and something that we might consider bringing across. The quality of the wines seemed almost too good to water down!
After our short tasting, we drove to see part of the Waldschütz vineyards. It is always interesting to see vines where different winemakers are side by side and using slightly different styles of training, maintaining and cultivating their vines, as well as the differences between the older and younger vines themselves.
We bade farewell to Ralph and Robb drove us out of the city and further south until we reached the little village of Jois where we spent the next two days. Our lodging was a couple of beautiful guest rooms in a house owned by a retired winemaker. We were greeted and given the usual wonderful Austrian hospitality. We were in Jois to allow us to visit Rudi and Verena Kiss, whose wines we recently started to import. They are a lovely couple who have a very healthy attitude to life and we were made royally welcome by them that evening with a barbeque and an interesting selection of wines. We had to beg to have some of their own wines as they were taking the rare opportunity of tasting wines from other countries that had built up, having been collected at events over the last few months!
Just to prove that Austria was not always sunny, there was a terrific storm, accompanied by a lot of lightening! Fortunately there was shelter in their garden but, eventually, we decamped into the house to continue the arduous task of enjoying wine! Rudi is a collector of oddities and there were plenty to see, including a couple of unidentified tools dating from the 18th century at least.
The following day we set off for a trip around Lake Neusiedl. This is a very beautiful area with much protected wildlife. It also helps to create the ideal conditions for botrytis and the town of Rust is justifiably famous for their sweet wines as a consequence of this. The Ruster Ausbruch is a sweet wine to look out for! When you drive around this lake, you are obliged to take your passport with you as the bottom end is in Hungary. Despite taking them, they were not needed on this occasion and we drove through Hungary, without being stopped, until we returned to Austria on the west side of the lake. We went through Rust so that we could see the locations of Heidi Schrock and Gunter and Regina Triebaumer and then continued around the lake until we were back at out lodging. We re-Jois-ed! (Sorry!)
Sadly for Wendy and I, we were taken to Vienna airport the next morning (at a socially reasonable hour!) and returned to England, weary but very happy and thoroughly impressed by the fantastic hospitality of the Austrians. VieVinum happens biennially so we hope to be back in 2020.