Domaene Wachau: a winery near Vienna

A few weeks ago, my research group decided to research a winery near Vienna.  We went to Domaene Wachau for a tour and tasting.

Austrian mushrooms

A forkful of Eierschwammerl

We started by going to lunch at  Wachaurstuben, per recommendation of the winery.  Olga, Daniel, and I had eierschwammerl (yellow mushrooms) and it was delicious!  Filip and Morten had a half of a duck each I believe.  Others had schnitzel or spinatknödel.

After lunch, we walked over to the winery.  The landscape is beautiful, with vineyards everywhere you looked!  The winery tour was also great.  They took us into the castle, and we saw beautiful hand drawings (some hundreds of years old) and ornate ceilings.  Unfortunately, my camera ran out of memory at this point, so I wasn’t able to take as many photos as I would have liked to.  I went through to delete some quickly, and took photos sparingly after this point.

playing with the dirt

Then, we went down into the 300 year old baroque cellar.  There, we saw very large oak casks, most with amazing carvings on the front.  We also had fun playing with the dirt that was cleaned off of the grapes.  It comes off on this giant wheel like a sheet of cloth.  Next, we saw the stainless steel casks.  One was filled with a rose, and we could see the pink indicator running to the top of the giant tank.

The final part of the winery tour was the tasting.  There, we tasted 9 different wines.   I asked her for two more at the end, and she complied.  This allowed us to taste two Grüners at the same time.  Daniel tried to get us two Rieslings more, but the tour guide cut us off.

At this winery, there are three qualities of wine: Steinfeder (translates to stonefeather, a type of grass), Federspiel (flacon), Smaragd (emerald).  Steinfeder is made from the earliest picked grapes.  It is the lightest of the three qualities of wine.  Smaragd is the sweetest (although still a dry wine), and also considered the best quality.  The grapes for the Smaragd are picked last.  Federspiel is the in-between wine, and the most popular of the three.

walking through vineyards

In addition to the three qualities of the wines, the label often says which winery the grapes come from.  Domaene Wachau operates as a co-op, so most of the vineyards are owned and run by private families.  If the family produces enough grapes, the family name can appear on the label.  If not, the grapes from different families are mixed with the grapes from the terrace to produce Terrassen wines.

After the tour, I bought a few things from the winery: some schnapps, apricot jam for David, a bottle of smagard Grüner, and a bottle of sparkling wine for Diana & Lisa to share with me.

More photos can be found in my Picasa album.


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