A friend of mine generously invited me to a tasting of various Austrian wines tomorrow, so I was drawn back to Ilsa Barea’s fine 1966 book about Vienna in search of little wine nuggets. Wine was always a part of the Viennese tradition, she writes, and I’m talking about centuries. Quoth Ms. Barea:
The plain economic fact is that the vineyards in the lee of the Wienerwald were of the greatest importance for Vienna’s everyday life, from the earliest beginnings — modern scholarship has established that vines were grown there even before the Roman legionaries introduced their more refined stock — up to the transformation of Older Vienna into Old Vienna in the course of the eighteenth century. In 1524, a charter of Archduke Ferdinand called wine “the principal nourishment of the city of Vienna” … (Ilsa Barea, Vienna, p. 27)
I’ll drink to that.