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Gumpoldskirchen Guide to Wines & Heurigers

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A Little Gem between Baden and Mödling

If there is one thing certain about Gumpoldskirchen is that this medieval gem is not shy of itself. The town proudly declares to be the most famous wine town in Austria. Sounds outrageous, though, not without some solid background behind the statement.

Gumpoldskirchen is located on the so-called thermal line, which produces unique climatic conditions for viticulture. As a matter of fact – like no other part of the world. To unravel the distinctiveness of Gumpoldskirchen, we must take a deeper understanding of its geographical location and the history of the long-standing traditions of wine cultivation in the region.

John of Nepomuk is the saint of Bohemia, where according to the legend he was drowned in VItava River by the orders of Wenceslaus IV. His statues could be found across Central Europe near bridges as a protector from floods and drowning. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Gumpoldskirchen Details

Map of Gumpoldskirchen

Every September Thermenregion organize Weinherbst to celebrate the fine wines of the region. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

History and Origins of Gumpoldskirchen

With all respect to the narrow beautiful valleys of Gumpoldskirchen, the town could be easily called one street village. All the important buildings could be found along by it. 

Rathaus (town hall) is the second most prominent building in Gumpoldskirchen. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

The Wiener Strasse (Vienna st.) leads slowly uphill, where at Shrannenplatz by the town hall, the street continues as Kirchengasse (Church st.). The latter one finishes the job to the very heart of the town – Kirchenplatz. This square is surrounded by most of the main attractions of Gumpoldskirchen, including the Castle of Teutonic Order, Parish Church of St. Michael, the Bergerhaus with Wine Tree Museum, and the old home of the local judges.

I imagine that the layout of town probably never changed that much, and the top of the hill always was the most important part of the settlement. This is the place where the castle stands after all, but it hasn’t been like that all the time. Though the name of the town is linked with Gumpold of Passau (10th century), the settlement out-ages its current name and even the Castle, which was built by the Teutonic Order somewhere in the 11th or 12th century.

The Castle now serves as a convent for Teutonic Order and as a hotel for seminars. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Prior to the order, the Romans inhabited the place, before them – the Celtic people and even they are out-dated by even more ancient culture, dating as far as to 6.500 BC. All of them had one thing in common – they all cultivated wine on the slopes of Eichkogel and the neighboring area.

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Gumpoldskirchen Geography

The town is located to the east of Vienna Woods and to the south of Eichkogel. The location describes the beautiful landscape surrounding Gumpoldskirchen but it doesn’t explain why the town was built here in the first place. The dominant features of the local topography are directly linked to that reason.

It might not look like it, but there is a lot of happening beneath this peaceful landscape of Thermenregion. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Gumpoldskirchen is located on the Thermal Line, which is the rupture zone between the Vienna basin and Eastern Alps. To put it simply – this is where the Alps begin. Thanks to the shift of landscape, two different climate zones intersect directly, where Gumpoldskirchen and Eichkogel are located.

This geographical location has another very important feature affecting the taste of wine and that is due to the exceptional mineral richness of the soil. This is the Thermal line after all, with numerous natural hot mineral-rich hot baths throughout it.

EIchkogel is only 367m/ 1204ft above the sea level but throughout the history it had big implications. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

All of this creates a basis for unique conditions to cultivate wine. Wines of fruit, acidity, and maturity grow in these lands like nowhere else. The people, who inhabited the area before understood this and to some extend – much more than most of us.

With rich viticulture, it is no surprise that Gumpoldskirchen established itself as a market town. Wandering around the narrow medieval streets of Gumpoldskirchen, one could almost hear merchants’ shouting echoes from the past. The whole rich scenery of the area could be best observed from the Calvary to the northwest of the town.

The Calvary of Gumpoldskirchen was built by its citizens in the 19th century after the town was spared by the cholera epidemic in 1856. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Fine Wines of Gumpoldskirchen

There are two things everybody must know before coming to Gumpoldskirchen – Zierfandler, and Rotgipfler. Both are white wines and are, almost, endemic to Gumpoldskirchen. Don’t even bother with other wines until you tasted these two – it is a total must for any vinophile.

Zierfandler

This one is also referred to as “the late red”, though has not much in common with the red wines. It is because the grapes turn red on the sunny side at the very end of the season, when they are fully ripe. Supposedly, Zierfandler reaches its highest quality as an old wine but I assure that the rich taste of this fine white wine, with a pleasant acidity and a delicate bouquet, will leave nobody disappointed.

Zierfandler wine grapes turn red at the very end of the season. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Rotgipfler

It is easy to mistake this wine with a red one because even its name suggests it, but just as Zierfandler – Rotgipfler is a white wine. It has a similar rich taste to Zierfandler, mixed between acidity, fruitness and even honey, but Rotgipfler goes easier down your throat than its counterpart.

Spätrot-Rotgipfler

Another unique taste of Gumpoldskirchen is Spätrot-Rotgipfler, which is a Cuvee made out of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler. Even though the origins of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler are not proven, Spätrot-Rotgipfler is in fact a unique product of Gumpoldskirchen.

Königswein

Also, look out for wines names as “Königswein”, which is an Oscar-winning wine, given out in the late season for meeting the highest quality standards. In 2019 the winner was Spätrot-Rotgipfler variety wine made by Weinbau Proisl. For now, this fine wine could be tasted at Kirchenplatz.

Whoever wins the title of Königswein – gets to sell their wine in Kirchenplatz for the next year. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wine Festivals

Austrians know how to produce and appreciate their wine. It is even more so in the areas famous for viticulture like Thermenregion. From generation to generation winemakers have passed down the knowledge of the production of fine wines – endemic to this exceptional region. Throughout the year the citizens of Thermenregion organize various festivities, celebrating the cycle of their wine production.

The biggest concentration of those events is during the fifth Austrian season – the Lower Austrian Wine Autumn, from August to November, but it doesn’t apply only to that period. You can check the current cuisine and wine in events in the Lower Austria here.

Kirchenplatz during Weinherbst in early September. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wine Tours

If you want to learn more about the fine wines produced along the thermal line and the history of viticulture in the region, I suggest getting a tour with a professional guide. The best one, who offers a tour including a visit to Gumpoldskirchen is listed below.

Out of all Gumpoldskirchen heurigers, Krug is probably the most famous and the most awarded one. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Heurigers in Gumpoldskirchen

A true heuriger might work only a couple of weeks during the production season but they can be open as much as they want during the off-season, selling the previous year’s wine. If you want to experience an authentic heuriger experience – do it during the autumn or at least try wines, which are younger than a year old. Find more details on Gumpoldskirchen heuriger calendar. Some notable heurigers of Gumpoldskirchen:

Freigut Thallern is a winery of Heiligenkreuz Abbey next to Gumpoldskirchen. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Best Hotels in Gumpoldskirchen

 

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