These three shops in Vienna offer excellent wine accessories
By Catherine Hooker & Leopold Winkler
Even if it’s not included in the Mercer Quality-of-Life rankings, a well-paired glass of wine with dinner is an Austrian hallmark of making the most out of everyday life. With the temperatures down and the allure of a vineyard stroll less than appealing, we stopped by three shops in Vienna and discovered what are the best accessories that help serve, present and store your wines. Don’t get too wrapped up in the overwhelming array gadgets and gizmos–save your money for that next Blaufränkisch or Welschriesling instead.
Take a Breather
Some tannic reds benefit from taking a breather, as well as older wines, which may have sediments that need to be separated before serving. At all three shops we visited, Vinophilia & Cetera, Vinothek St. Stefan, and Wein & Co on the Getreidemarkt, the staff can gladly explain which wines benefit from decanting, and sell decanters of every size and shape imaginable. Buy one that suits your aesthetic fancy, but bear in mind it should have a wider body for better oxidation, but a smaller opening for easier pouring.
Keep dinner glassy
For beginning oenophiles, a universal red wine and white wine glass will make most wines look, smell and taste their best. Reds need more oxidation than whites, which is why the bowl is larger: to let the wine “breathe,” letting more aromas into the bouquet. Glasses come in all price ranges, but higher quality also lasts longer, with a lower risk of chipping and breaking. At Vinophilia & Cetera they recommended a classic Riesling glass to present most white wines, and a Bordeaux glass for your reds.
Teach your nose
Smell plays a huge role when enjoying wine, but it is common to have that on-the-tip-of-your-tongue feeling when trying to describe one. At Vinothek St. Stephan, Claudia Schett explained that this is so hard for a layperson because recognizing aromas and describing them take place in different parts of the brain. This skill can be improved with practice, and for more ambitious oenophiles she recommended Jean Lenoir’s Le Nez du Vin (the nose of wine) which is a set of separated aromas, so that you learn how to recognize each smell individually before you open your next Riesling or Bordeaux. Also sold at Vinophilia & Cetera.
Let’s twist again
Many contemporary bottles have twist-off caps; less romantic, but actually better for taste, producing a tighter seal and therefore more consistency in the flavor. But a good corkscrew is still essential, as many winemakers still swear by the traditional method. The advice we heard: stick to the classics, such as the waiter’s corks crew, which comes with a foil cutter and double-hinged arm to leverage any stubborn cork out of its bottle.
Keep your cool
In summer, keeping your whites cool takes priority, and at Vinothek St. Stefan they offer sandstone wine coolers, made from the same material as the Cathedral across the street. Soak them in water first, Schett recommended, and the evaporation will keep your wine chilled even when placed on a sunny table.
An ounce of prevention
Pouring red wine over a white tablecloth without spilling can be a delicate maneuver, challenging even the steadiest hands. Fortunately, DropStop is an uncomplicated remedy: a foldable round disc fitting snugly inside the bottle, it prevents drips when pouring. Inexpensive and an excellent hostess gift, they take a load off your mind, leaving the club soda for the Spritzers.
After small-scale celebrations, leftover Sekt is inevitable, but how you store it is not. Contrary to popular legend, storing bubbly in the fridge with a spoon in the bottleneck will not keep it fresh – this myth required a silver spoon to work its magic. What actually matters is creating an airtight seal that keeps the bubbles where they belong. A simple, hinged champagne stopper will do, and good old-fashioned physics will keep your Sekt fresh. But if you get distracted by the really shiny champagne sabers for sale at Vinothek St. Stefan or Wein & Co on the Getreidemarkt, be ready to drink the entire bottle.
Accessories mentioned are sold here:
Vinophilia & Cetera
18., Währinger Straße 145
Mon–Fri 9:30–19:00, Sat 9:00–13:00
(01) 470 01 11 0
Vinothek St. Stefan
1., Stephansplatz 6
Mon–Fri 9:30–18:30 . Sa 9:30–17:00
(01) 512 68 58
Wein & Co
6., Getreidemarkt 1
050 706 3102
Sun, Holidays: 11:00–24:00