Stops on a Wine Geek Road Trip:
Wine Road Trip Mile 1,707: Austria
This was my fifth and final day. When I pulled up at Nikolaihof, in Austria’s Wachau region, I’d driven more than 1,700 miles and spent nearly 35 hours behind the wheel.
Nikolaihof is ancient. The oldest winery in Austria, it was a Celtic holy place, then a Roman fortress until 511 AD. Then the Romans left and, as Nikolaus Saahs, whose family now owns it, told me, “after that, the history is unknown until 777 AD, when a monastery was founded here.”
- The Ultimate Wine Geek Road Trip
- Austrian Emperors | Grüner Veltliner
- Best Pairings for Austrian Wines
- Learning to Love Austrian Food
- Wineries and Tasting Rooms in Vienna
Hearing the story of Nikolaihof brought something home to me. Every single region I’d hit on my five-day journey shared one specific thing, which was that Romans had been the first to cultivate wine grapes there. (After 1,700 miles of driving, it also struck me as amazing that the Romans held together their empire with no mode of travel other than foot or horse.) All different countries, all different cultures, but a single unifying thread: wine. It was heartening, somehow.