I never really considered Austria as a renowned wine producer – or beer producer to be honest, though it does both excellently.
The major wine producing region is Sausal, in the south of the province of Styria and near the border with Slovenia. Look across the rolling green hillsides with vineyards as far as the eye could see, and you could in fact be in Italy. We stayed a couple of days in the area with our friends, which afforded a fantastic opportunity to explore. And drink wine. In fact, it’s hard to escape wine there, should you be stupid enough to want to.
It’s not all about the wine, though. There’s a wine museum, for instance… which, um, is about wine. And a big feature of the area is buschenshanks, simple but homely eateries that serve cold food, their own… you’ve guessed it, wine, and little else.
So maybe it is all about the wine round there.
If I can try to drag myself away from the subject of wine briefly, one of Sausal’s other curious and notable attractions is the world’s biggest klapotetz. I’d never heard of a klapotetz, and the word sounds like a very Germanic term of abuse or something.
In fact it is an old-fashioned bird scarer used in agriculture, a large wooden structure that spins round and round making a big, loud noise. This world-beating example of the technology wasn’t in operation at the time, which we were assured was a good thing as the noise is deafening and can be heard throughout the valleys.
Effectively, a klapotetz is a cross between a wind turbine, scarecrow and football rattle, and I’m sure it does a very effective job of keeping the birds off the vineyards. From which you make… yup, wine.
Rounding off a day of exploring a wine-producing area inevitably involved a couple of glasses on the balcony, the sun slowly setting in the mountains to the west overlooking Graz. And was a pretty good way to enjoy the local produce.
The next day there was more wine to come, though. A lot more…
Here are all the other photos from Sausal.