Sturmzeit!

I’ve previously written about wine production in Vienna (view that post here) and mentioned Sturm, a partially fermented wine that is available late summer/early fall. The Gelbmanns Gaststube at the Rathaus film fest was selling Sturm last week, and a stand at the Neustifter Kirtag was also selling Sturm. I guess this means it’s almost Sturmzeit for the city, which means Sturm in every café and Sturm stands downtown.

White and red sturm for sale

White and red sturm for sale

You can see in the picture that the bottles are topped with foil rather than capped or stopped. What you can’t see is that the liquid in the bottle is bubbling like crazy because it’s still actively fermenting. We bought a bottle of the white Sturm (it’s also available in red), and it tasted better than I remember it tasting. We also discovered that Sturm comes in non-grape varieties:

Bottles of raspberry and apricot sturm

Bottles of raspberry and apricot sturm

We did not try the non-grape ones because we were running out of arms to carry things, but if we come across these varieties again we might try them. I’ve never seen this in the States before and so I don’t know whether we’ll still be able to enjoy these once we’re home. This an argument for drinking as much of it as we can, while we can.

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Heurigen

I am making Austrian dinners using new recipes tomorrow and Saturday, and hopefully they will turn out well so I can share the recipes. In the meantime, enjoy a couple pictures.

We live in the 19th district of Vienna, Döbling, which borders the Vienna woods and has a large number of vineyards and heurigen. There are paths through the vineyards on which all “wine friends” are invited to take a stroll, and a heuriger at the foot of the path so you can fortify yourself for a hike or relax after a walk through the vineyards (or both).

The vineyards behind my children's Kindergarten.

The vineyards behind my children’s Kindergarten.

A heuriger is a tavern that serves wines produced in the region, in many cases from grapes grown in the vineyard behind the building. Most heurigen have outside gardens where you can enjoy a glass of wine, food, and if you’re lucky, live accordion music. Not sure how to tell if a restaurant is a heuriger?  Look for the buschen (a bunch of fir branches) hung out front.

Open for business.

Open for business.

There are two seasonal highlights: Neustifter Kirtag and Sturmzeit. The Kirtag is a harvest celebration in August. The main street through Neustift am Walde is closed off and a street carnival is set up, complete with rides and bouncy castles for the kids and stalls selling all manner of handmade goods and food. The heurigen set up additional seating and serving stations on the street. Austrians flock in wearing their dirndls and lederhosen and spend the day drinking, dancing, and listening to music.

A heuriger during the Kirtag.

A heuriger during the Kirtag.

Sturmzeit begins in mid-September and lasts until about November. Sturm is partially fermented wine: it’s somewhere between grape juice and wine and is available in red and white. You can buy it by the plastic two-liter bottle in the grocery stores, but it’s capped with a piece of aluminum foil because it’s still actively fermenting. There are also booths set up throughout the city where you can buy fresh sturm by the glass, and some of the cafes sell it as well. It’s not unique to Austria but since this is where I first learned of it, it’ll be “Austrian” to me.

That is all that I have to say about wine in Vienna for today. Thirsty?