The vineyards in the hills surrounding Vienna are a reminder that Austria is not to be forgotten in the world of wine. Often overlooked for neighbouring Italy, Austrian wine tends to be underappreciated. However, those wishing to sample the delights of a regional tipple – as well as countless international wines – will find no place better than the sophisticated Meinl’s Weinbar.
Established in 1862, and currently run by the fifth generation of the family, Meinl’s has developed a strong reputation for great food and drink, served in a relaxed and elegant atmosphere. Starting out as one of the first companies to sell roasted coffee, Meinl’s evolved over time to become one of Austria’s favourite gourmet food markets. More than 1,000 stores operate today around Austria and Europe, making it a well-established name.
The flagship store, located in Vienna’s bustling 1st district, is set over three floors, generously stocked with luxury goods from around the world – imagine an Austrian version of London’s Harrods. The basement is stocked with an impressive selection of around 2,000 wines, with local and international varieties. Bottles cover every inch of the walls, making this a great place to get to know the country’s wine culture.
Manager Gordon Bukovcan and his knowledgeable team are on standby to give their expert opinion. Andreas, staff member at Meinl’s, said, ‘We listen to our customers’ wishes. And with the experience and know-how from our wine department in the store and our specialised purchasing department, we can find the right wine for every occasion and taste.’
The wine list at the bar comprises more than 30 varieties to sample by the glass, and customers are free to scour the shelves for themselves and hand-pick a bottle to take home. Austrian wine is, of course, a popular choice. ‘The Gruner Veltliner is typically very popular,’ said Andreas, ‘It’s certainly a must-try wine when you travel through Austria.’
Options of food alongside your glass of wine include a selection of cheeses and a daily lunch menu (served between 11.30am and 2.30pm), with a variety of soups, salads and antipasto. From Monday to Friday, a special lunch menu is available, with the offer of two courses for €10.50 or three courses for €13.50. The price includes your choice of a glass of red or white wine or mineral water.
Wine tastings are held every month, giving guests a chance to select their own subject to learn about, as well as the process behind winemaking, first hand from local winemakers. Sommeliers (wine stewards) will guide you through the tasting, remaining on hand to answer any queries you may have.
This exclusive service also offers the addition of a six-course menu, and it’s advisable to book early, due to the high demand. Wine experts and budding connoisseurs should be sure to pay a visit.