A new generation of vintners are continuing the Wachau tradition of the Heuriger tavern while adding their own twists. What do they have in common? The joy of hosting guests. And the joy of success.
A Heuriger means giving 120%. From 7am until late at night. After Nikolaus Rehrl finally closes down his Heuriger – after his scheduled 10-week turn of entertaining guests – it takes a while until he is back to feeling his old self. Why does he do it? “Because it’s fun. Kidding around with guests is something our family has always enjoyed. That’s the kind of warm-hearted hospitality people treasure.”
Having a fun job is one thing. But for this burgeoning vintner it also provides reliable income. “We sell 95% of our wines directly at the winery. That’s another reason our Heuriger is a solid source of income,” Nikolaus Rehrl explains. Spoiling regular guests with hospitality more than pays off: “Some of our guests call to tell us they WON’T be coming just this one time,” the 29 year old says with a grin.
Günther Kendl’s experience is similar. When he took over the business from his parents, he decided to start a Heuriger. “I wanted to sell all of my wines directly and not be dependent on retailers. The Heuriger is the perfect way to get there. Lots of guests take a carton of wine with them after enjoying a meal. Muscatel is our bestseller,” the vintner from the village of Rührsdorf reports.
Whether your name is Günther Kendl or Nikolaus Rehrl, a Heuriger is a good business. Especially in this unique summer season, visitors to the Wachau are seeking out attractive spots outdoors. Open spaces and breathtaking views of the Danube and the Wachau’s terraced vineyards guarantee a sense of pure leisure.
A feeling Georg Pöchlinger’s visitors enjoy as well, relaxing on the spacious sunny terrace. The choice of fare includes traditional, hearty Heuriger snacks, as well as novelties from time to time. The vintner from Mitterarnsdorf sees his Heuriger as a sort of playground, where the rules can be often bent to allow new dishes. “We always think about what we can serve besides the choices on the menu. Like now in summer, grandma’s homemade meat aspic, for instance. That’s a dish with lots of creative potential,” Georg says.