A palate cleanser between Chopstick Diaries installments. This last week was the spring holiday for AIS but for obvious reasons (see Singapore, Seoul, Japan; and two more planned trips within the next month) we stay-cated, though we did not deprive ourselves of day outings.

Spring! In Austria, marked not so much by the calendar as by the wine festivals! For four days this last week, the Federal state of Styria holds its annual festival on Rathausplatz (the city hall square), inviting visitors to sample their wines, enjoy regional foods, and collect information to plan for weekend outings, which we merrily did one afternoon. This year’s theme is, “From the Glacier to the Wine!” A perfect theme for us!  Even Anna Grace got in on the fun and sampled a Schilcher. “It tastes like nail polish remover,” I believe were her exact words.

I scrubbed two week’s worth of news feeds from my social media upon my return from Asia, and came up with the Weintour Weinviertel for this past weekend.  The €20 two-day ticket included tastings at all 200 vintners (we managed 11 over two days); and a voucher for one bottle of wine (we purchased 7, and so now I will be planning menus and dinner parties at which to enjoy these local varietals).

One of the vintners knew exactly how to appeal to ex-pat city slickers–offer up their baby goat to snuggle. It worked; we purchased one of their varietals.

It being our Weinviertel ticket was good for two days…we pointed the wagon to the slight northwest of Vienna on the second day, not entirely for the wine (though of course we sampled) but also for a wander around Burgruine Falkenstein, built in the 11th century as a regional fortress, as it sits within sight of the former Kingdom of Moravia in the Czech Republic.

The day began cloudy and brooding, perfect for ruin-wandering (and photos!) Clayton Theodore was so excited in his sensory overload that all he could do at some points was to bay his silly head off like the Foxhound that he is! After lunch, (Schnitzel–why do you ask?) we walked along the pretty Kellergasse, Falkenstein’s street of press houses. Most of these structures were raided in 1945 by Russian forces for both their food stores and, of course, the wine stocks, and many were destroyed. The families, several dating back 500 years have lovingly restored much of the Kellergasse.

As part of the wine festival many of the larger vintners were open, their White Burgandy and Welchriesling varietals on display for us to taste. Not to worry if you missed this weekend’s wine festival, though; one of the press houses offered an honor bar, complete with wine glasses for your own Weintour!

But all good weekends and school holiday weeks must come to an end, and so back across the Weinviertel toward home we returned.