Austria: A land of stunning mountains, divine skiing, a dizzy Julie Andrews, and the insatiable Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh, but wait, let’s not forget the country’s fine, fine wine.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an Austrian Wine event hosted by the charming Jamie Drummond, who has been a proponent of said wines since his days at the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. Held within an intimate Dundas West gallery space The Department guests were provided ample opportunity to sample over two dozen offerings. Mingling voices reached high decibels as the evening progressed, bouncing off the current display of CONTACT photography, while hosts scurried about topping up glasses and describing flavour details of the newest pour.

Austrian wines offer great value, I learned, and possess all the elements of an ideal summer wine. This season, if you want to stay within budget but indulge in a more sophisticated taste, head to the Austrian section and grab a bottle of Grüner Veltliner! This white wine variety is Austria’s most significant – encompassing a spicy mixture of fruit (mostly apple), pepper, and lively integrated acidity. Also noteworthy are Austria’s Rieslings, Chardonnays, and Pinots.

These are refreshing wines that you can enjoy at your next garden party, barbeque, or while relining comfortably at the end of your dock. And you’ll sound oh so sophisticated when you relay to guests that you have become suddenly smitten with the vineyards of Austria.

~ Jessie Olivier

Have we whet your appetite? See our comprehensive Vienna tour guide.