Late Summer becomes official in Vienna with the first appearance of Sturm, the young wine that is like pressed, fermented grape juice. Sturm is of low alcohol content, served ice cold and in short mugs, and for those reasons can easily be consumed in great quantities if one is not careful.

But consuming great quantities of Sturm misses the point; its true beauty lies in what it signifies, the start of the autumn and harvest festivals. It’s time to dust off one’s Dirndls and Lederhosen, gather friends, and spend weekends eating, drinking, and making merry in moderation (and often preceded by a hike through neighboring vineyards to whet the appetite).  And that’s what we did on Sunday, except for the Trachten part (no way were we putting on leather shorts and aproned-skirts on a 33°C day. Perhaps next weekend.)

At the northern edge of Vienna and across the Danube lie several wine villages now incorporated into the city’s 21st district. One of them, Stammersdorf, was holding its annual wine festival along the main Kellergasse, the wine cellar lane this weekend.

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The heurigers were open for business, and vendors lined the street offering traditional, and not-so-traditional street fare.

Caught up in having a lovely time, I forgot to take a photo of our traditional heuriger board before we devoured it, but this Internet photo comes close. Typically the Brettljause consists of a variety of smoked meats, Liptauer (paprika-spiced cream cheese); Schmaltz (rendered duck or goose fat laced with fried fat cracklings); a copious amount of fresh grated horseradish; and an assortment of condiments. A basket of brown bread accompanies this heart-healthy dish.

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Along the street, more smoked temptation.

Not sure that doughnuts, even original American donuts belong at a wine festival. Dunkin’ Donuts tried to break into the Viennese Krapfen scene and failed, their stores closing within a couple of years. Perhaps this vendor will have better luck.

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Prost! To Sturm and the autumn festivals. May the eating, drinking, and merrymaking commence!

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