This past weekend Austrian wine took over a local winery in Santa Barbara’s Buellton, Cold Heaven Cellars, in the regions first-ever, pop-up heuriger held during the annual Wine Blogger’s Conference.
Friday night was all about Austria as Bar Biesl of Los Angeles cooked up some traditional Austrian fare – hello goulash, pretzels, and sausage – and attendees tasted over 45 different bottles of Austrian wine ranging in everything from Zweigelt to Rotgipfler to Neuburger to Riesling to Grüner Veltliner and just about everything in between – including Blaufränkisch and Zierfandler, of course. Wanna talk about sekt? We had three different types! (Check the list below for exact bottling information and SRP.)
Local winemakers, shop owners, restauranteurs, and writers were also invited to attend making it quite the extravaganza! We heard from more than one person it was THE event of the weekend.
You may not know this, but California has been paying a lot of attention to Austrian varieties lately – Santa Barbara has been experimenting with Grüner Veltliner and Riesling for the past few years and further north you will also find Blaufränkisch. Lucky us, a few of the winemakers made an appearance to share their bottles with us in a side-by-side comparison… it was very interesting to taste, but we must say we are, obviously, partial to our own grapes.
The event lasted until the early hours of the morning with the last stragglers sipping what last they could before the disco ball stopped rotating and the lights went on for clean-up. Signs of a good event, indeed.
Good discussion continued throughout the weekend and we’re pleased that we were able to open the eyes of friends, new and old, to the virtues of Gruner Veltliner in many forms from light and crisp to serious and smokey. It was also a first taste for many of the lesser-known grapes such as Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, and Neuburger, but also Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt.
The Szigeti Sparkling Grüner Veltliner Brut had turned many on to Austrian sekt the night before at the opening tasting for the Wine Blogger’s Conference and Friday night’s bubbles were gone before you could even say, “sekt!” (Bloggers know good bubbles when they see them!)
Please enjoy the list of wines below and the pictures from the event. We thank everyone who was able to attend and are excited to have shared these great wines with so many palates. Looking forward to raising a glass with you again soon.