Wine lovers are in for a treat in Salzburg – the city that gave the world Mozart is also home to a wide variety of bars and bistros, ranging from traditional taverns to glitzy high-end bars. Local sommelier Gerald Freinbichler guides Culture Trip through the best wine spots in town. “Salzburg’s wine scene has flourished in recent years, allowing wine lovers to choose from a much wider range,” award-winning sommelier Gerald Freinbichler says. A second-generation wine aficionado – for three decades, his father worked for Austria’s largest wine import business – Gerald discovered his passion at a young age and became a certified master sommelier. After working at Kitzbühel’s society hotspot Stanglwirt, he moved to Burgenland in eastern Austria where he now co-owns, alongside partner Dominik Goberthe, the successful winery Gober & Freinbichler. Specialising in in red wines, the duo were named newcomers of the year by restaurant guide Gault & Millau in 2019.
Freinbichler also works as a trainer for up-and-coming sommeliers in Salzburg, and is well-attuned to the city’s best wine offerings. “A well-selected range of wines and sommeliers, as well as a knowledgeable, passionate host are key to a great wine bar,” he explains, and the following are some of his favourites in the city.
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“The Katterbauer family has been a fixture in Salzburg’s wine scene for decades, offering a mix of Austrian and international wines in their restaurant as well as their bar just opposite,” says Freinbichler. Guests at Magazin can choose from more than 600 different wines, including well-known vintages in addition to rarer bottles, carefully selected by the owners themselves while travelling the globe. Not sure which wine to go for? Just ask the knowledgeable staff for their favourites.
Sommelier couple Rafael and Nina Peil met in London while exploring the local wine scene, falling in love not only with each other but also with organic wines. In 2013, they opened their own bar, bringing their favourite chemical-free flavours to the heart of Salzburg. “This little shop is full of passion and knowledge,” praises Freinbichler, praising in particular the extensive selection of wines and sommeliers represented at Natural Wine Dealers. Besides fine wines, guests can enjoy cheese plates and a Brettljause, a traditional Austrian plate that contains a hearty mix of bread, bacon, cheese, onions and pickles.
Located between the Salzach River and famous Getreidegasse, this courtyard bar makes a great daytime stop for wine lovers exploring Salzburg. “Seppo is beloved for its extensive range of sparkling wines as well as its coffee,” explains Freinbichler. As the name suggests, this little place, run by local wine lover Bastian Rust, focuses on Italian treats, but they also have a small selection of Austrian bottles as well as champagne. Stretch your legs on the patio and sample the wines over some antipasti for an Italian feast.
If you pop into Glüxfall by day, you’ll see groups of friends and families enjoying brunch or business folks reading their newspaper over coffee. After dark, however, the courtyard bistro turns into a fancy wine and cocktail bar, attracting Salzburg’s in-crowd. The managers, Stefanie Fleischhaker and Dominik Standl, are well known in the gastro scene. “Stefanie’s parents used to run Pfefferschiff, one of the most popular restaurants in Salzburg – and these days, they manage two hotels,” says Freinbichler, who especially appreciates their “selection of Austrian wines away from the mainstream”.
Fridrich, in Steingasse, is a small, intimate vault bar that easily makes you feel like you sip your favourite glass of wine in your own living room – plus it has excellent bar service. “Eduardo, the owner, has been around for more than three decades and even if his appearances are quite rare nowadays, the bar is still an institution among wine lovers in Salzburg,” says Freinbichler. Fridrich has wines from Austria’s best wineries, plus a small menu of late-night snacks such as cheese plates, Parma ham and Italian salamis, an ongoing crowd-pleaser with the city’s night owls.
“The Sporer family is known well beyond Salzburg for their liqueurs – and their orange punch at Christmas time is absolutely legendary,” says Freinbichler. However, Sporer, on Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s most famous street, is also popular with fans of wine. “The bar is a great spot to meet friends for a chat over a glass of wine. They have an extensive collection of Austrian wines and you can sample all of them.” What’s more, having been around since 1905, Sporer is a Salzburg institution – so think of it as a sightseeing experience with the added bonus of a great glass of wine.
Located in a vaulted cellar and run by local hoteliers Andreas Felleis and Patrick Knittelfelder, Die geheime Specerey doubles as a restaurant and a popular bar. “Their wine offer is a mix of classics as well as specialities by smaller sommeliers. Plus, there’s a small, daily-changing menu of Mediterranean dishes,” says Freinbichler. If you fall in love with the wine you just tried, you can grab another bottle at the shop and take it home to enjoy later.
Weinstöckl, about a 15-minute walk from Mirabell Palace, opened in 1904 and is officially Salzburg’s oldest heuriger (wine tavern). A little way from the tourist centre, this is where Salzburg’s residents congregate, spending the night chatting over their favourite wines. “Weinstöckl offers a wide range of Austrian wines as well as delicious regional food,” says Freinbichler. “This is where you can spend a cosy night out in a rustic atmosphere, away from the tourist crowds.” The tavern is run by Hans Fritzenwallner, an award-winning sommelier who is happy to share his extensive knowledge with his guests.
Just below Hohensalzburg Fortress, this cellar bar is a hotspot for every wine lover in the city. “Marc’s has a mix of regional and international wines, with the menu stating every bottle’s optimal drinking maturity,” says Freinbichler. Hungry? The small – yet ever-changing – menu has you covered. They also hold regular tasting events, so call ahead to book your place.
Founded in the early 1990s, Wein & Co has been Austria’s most popular wine bar chain for more than 25 years and its stylish Salzburg branch at Platzl, just around the corner from Mozart’s birthplace, lives up the hype. “Wein & Co has more than 2,000 wines from all over the world,” says Freinbichler. “You choose your bottle of wine in the shop and get it served at your table.” The wine is accompanied by a plentiful menu of bar snacks and sweets; in warm weather, head to the outdoor patio to soak up the sun with your glass.
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