This is the last of my three posts about what all we did last Friday. Long day, believe me, but a good one.
After we left Klosterneuberg, we cut across the outskirts of Vienna on our way to Traunfeld, a small town in Lower Austria, where we got a tour of a vineyard and winery. This is apparently a traditional trip for the Linfield group, but this year was a bit different – the nice married couple, owners of the vineyard and winery we were touring, were out at a wedding, so their son would be giving the tour instead.1
We started up in the vineyard, on the hills over the town. As one of our professors pointed out, it’s a somewhat ‘homey’ feeling for us – Linfield is in the middle of wine country.
A nice touch, in the vineyard – every row of vines has a rose planted at the end. There’s apparently no ‘farming’ reason for it, it’s just to look nice.2
From there, we headed back down into the town to see some of the wine-making process. This is an old wine press – these days, they use big stainless steel machines, which are a bit more sanitary than “open-air wood.”
And then it was down into the cellars, of which there were quite a few – the town used to be host to quite a few different wine-making families, but now it’s down to three.3
The cellars varied in size and age – this was one of the younger ones, only a couple hundred years old or so, and rather small.
This one was a good deal bigger, but still not the oldest of the cellars we visited. Interestingly, quite a few of the cellars were linked by tunnels, something that I assume was added after they were brought into the ownership of a single family.
Here’s where the title of the post really kicks in – part of the tour was a bit of a wine tasting. The mood for this was set by going into a dark wine cellar, with candles providing the only lighting for a table with bread, for cleansing the palate,4 and wine.
Friendly reminder that it’s really hard to take good pictures in the dark.
We ended up in the oldest of the wine cellars – this one dates back something like 700 years – and also the largest. It’s in active use today – those are the stainless steel chambers in which the wine is allowed to ferment, developing the alcohol and the unique flavors that make wine… wine.
- Several different people all described him as “their handsome son,” which is part of why this post got the title it has. ↩
- Though we did get a bit of explanation about some of the farming – apparently there was a sort of blight on the wine crops of Europe a while back, so the majority of wine grapes grown in Europe are now grafts – European vines growing from American-breed stems, or something like that. I don’t know all the terminology – nobody should ever cite me as a source for anything, folks. ↩
- Which is still a lot, I maintain, in a town of 450 people. ↩
- And, y’know, making sure we weren’t all tasting wine on an empty stomach. ↩