The most important wine fair in Austria, Vievinum is a wine summit for wine lovers and gastronomes. And the buzz surrounding it is a clear reflection of the vibrant market for wine that Austria has become. As Austria’s biggest wine festival, it provided the opportunity to taste 3000 wines from more than 500 winemakers. Reva Singh of Sommelier India WINE magazine reports from Vienna.
Knowing that Vievinum presents an ideal opportunity to gather information and exchange experiences, top winemakers – established vintners as well as newcomers – from around the world were in Vienna in the last week of May to network and conduct business. International guests of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board alone must have numbered about 850.
Held every alternate year, VieVinum took place between 28 and 31 May this year at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Apart from the impressive display of Austrian wines, there were a number of educational and very enjoyable side events and seminars through the day and in the evenings.
The introductory dinner party at the Meierei am Stadtpark restaurant on Thursday night gave international guests of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, comprising journalists, importers, restaurant owners, wine retailers and wine lovers, an opportunity to mix and mingle informally over an excellent Austrian dinner accompanied by a varied range of Austria’s extraordinary wines.
Willi Klinger, managing diretor of the Marketing Board, was the genial host and his oft expressed assertion that in Austria people love to party was no over-statement. The “Big Austrian Wine Party” at the grand Auersperg Palace with its immense chandeliers and gold leaf embellishments showcased Austrian wine, gastronomy and music with great flair. The evening started as a garden party with a buffet table of appetizers and salads accompanied with wine, of course, which was served from the bottle so you could choose your favourite style and producer. A talented string quartet entertained guests, moving with equal ease from an exquisite rendering of the Blue Danube Waltz to Stevie Wonder numbers. Pictured is Willi Kinger who regaled guests with a superb rendering of Beatles numbers
Later in the evening the tempo picked up with a jazz band whose members were all wine producers. “Not only do our winemakers make the best of wine, they can also make good music,” declared Klinger, who himself displayed considerable virtuosity with songs by the Beatles.
Pictured here, Reva Singh and a delegate from China at the Riesling Master Class held by the Institute of Masters of Wine, in which there was great interest
Seven food stations were laid out in the beautiful reception rooms of the palace comprising traditional Austrian specialities as well as international and Asian cuisine demonstrating “Food Friendly Austria”. Indeed, Austrian wines are among the most food friendly in the world, pairing perfectly with different cuisines.
Vievinum Gala Dinner: Austrians love to party!
Austria has several splendid palaces and castles like the imposing Hofburg Palace with its domed ceilings and ornate sculptures, which was the venue of Vievinum, and the Palais Niederösterreich where the Master Class seminars opened a day before the Fair, not forgetting the Palais Auersperg, the venue of the splendid “Big Austrian Wine Party”.
In the evenings, we were exposed to the Vienna’s most attractive face as a truly unique cultural and culinary metropolis with a varied programme of activities so that participants, exhibitors and international visitors, alike, were able to combine business and fun late into the night if they so wished. Whether it’s business or pleasure, Vienna, with its numerous attractions, is a great place to visit.