What major city in the world is also a commercially significant wine region?
Someone in Rome must have a vine or two planted next to the tomatoes, but Vienna is the only major city in the world that is a commercially significant wine region. Within the city limits there are 1,600 acres (640 hectares) of grapes, all of which fall under a government protection program lest real estate developers be tempted.
Vienna’s traditional simple wine called gemischter satz—“mixed planting”—makes up about a third of all Viennese wine today. And while it’s never complex, it is fascinating. Just try to imagine the flavor of a wine made from riesling, pinot blanc, grüner veltliner, and gewürztraminer. Better vineyards in Vienna today are planted with a single varieties. In the western part of the city, the mineral-rich limestone soils lead to very good riesling, chardonnay, and pinot blanc. In the southern part of the city, darker, heavier soils lead to fuller-bodied whites and red varieties including zweigelt.