Heuriger or Buschenschank - what is what?

Enjoyment travel - cold plates and our own wine in the wine tavern

Heuriger or Buschenschank?


Not so easy to be familiar with the terminology of Austrian gastronomy. We have that on ours Austria Travel to the wine regions Lower Austria, Im Burgenland and in the Styria experienced in recent years. Well, we were familiar with the term “Heuriger”. I associated it with the idea that it is a wine restaurant in Vienna and the surrounding area. I heard the term "Buschenschank" in our Visit to the South Styrian Wine Route a few years ago for the first time. What exactly is the difference between the two inns, I had to research first.

Heuriger or Buschenschank
Heuriger or Buschenschank

Where does the wine shop come from?

The custom of serving wine to strangers probably dates back to Franconia and Bavaria under Charlemagne. Since the Middle Ages, every Austrian winemaker had the right to serve his wine to strangers. There was talk of dispensing justice.

 

Wine bar in the tavern
Wine bar in the tavern

 

But as is often the case, envy and resentment contributed to this changing. Count Görz insisted that only his own wine should be served in his county. This did not suit some winegrowers of this region and the dispute ended before Emperor Franz Josef II. This 1784 issued a circular ordinance, which allowed each winegrower, auszuschchenken his own agricultural products and wines to strangers.

 

Cold plates and house wine in the tavern
Cold plates and house wine in the tavern

 

The Buschenschank was now subject to certain rules. These were changed several times in the following decades, until the bar became notifiable in 1883. The rights of the Buschenschanken are still regulated today: only own wines and own products may be sold. Ie what comes on the table comes from the vineyards of the owner of the Buschenschank, just like the sausages and meats that are served to the guests on appetizing plates. The Buschenschanken are not open all year round, but "stick out". That means they hang a bush - a branch - in front of the door, which indicates that it has opened.

 

Self-smoked meat is served in the tavern
Self-smoked meat is served in the tavern

 

Heurige's in the wider region around Vienna

The term Heuriger is used a little further than I thought. We met wine taverns in Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria. Literally speaking, these are inns where the storm, the young wine or the “Heurige” are served. Unlike the Buschenschanken, the concept of the Heuriger as an inn is not protected. Every wine bar can call itself a Heuriger. It is up to you to decide whether you only open seasonally or all year round.

 

Old wine press at Thermenheurigen Loipersdorf
Old wine press at Thermenheurigen Loipersdorf

 

There is a difference in the choice of dishes: in contrast to the Buschenschank, warm dishes can be served in the Heurigen. In the latter there are only cold plates. You can see that in Petar's video about the Thermenheurigen in Loipersdorf in Styria. There is bread with spreads for starters. A hearty meat plate with bread dumplings and warm Kaiserschmarrn Recipe for main and dessert:

 

 

Especially in Vienna and the surrounding area, the Heurigen are often inns that have become true tourist magnets. Who does not know the wine taverns of Grinzing, where in addition to the young wines and good food often typical Viennese songs accompany the event. However, we like the traditional wine taverns better, in which homemade food comes on the table as the hearty spreads to home-made bread as a starter and luscious meat dish with bread dumplings and mixed salad as a main course. For dessert, there are often regional specialties such as Kaiserschmarrn or apricot dumplings - depending on the season.

 

Hearty sausage and meat dishes in the Heuriger
Hearty sausage and meat dishes in the Heuriger

 

Heuriger or Buschenschank - which is better?

We can only answer honestly in one word: no one! The home cooking, which is served in both - no matter whether it is the cold plates of the taverns or the hearty cuisine of the wine taverns - is always good. The same goes for the wines. Anyone looking for contact with the producer of food and wine, of course, is better kept in the tavern. There you can combine a visit with a small wine tasting and then take a few bottles of the house's own wine home with you. In the wine tavern, on the other hand, you try the young wines of the year in the restaurant. We have not met a wine tavern so far, in which one could take wine.

Good to know: on these two pages the top wine taverns of Austria and the taverns that are currently open are listed. The answer to the question, Heuriger or Buschenschank, thus also depends on the opening times.

The Heurigen.at
Top Heuriger

 

Further enjoyment tips

 

Source: own research on site.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Heuriger or Buschenschank - what is what?

6 thoughts too "Heuriger or Buschenschank - what is what?"

  1. In the Swabian region, the Buschenschanken are called "brooms" (read Besa). We love to stop in such quaint pubs. In Austria we absolutely have to do that at the next opportunity!

    1. I can only recommend that to you. Especially if you make a hike during the day, such Buschenschanken offer for a break. But even in the evening you can have a good snack there.

  2. Quite well explained, the differences. Nevertheless, there are some cases still (especially from the Vienna area) who want to order a beer or a coffee in a tavern ...

  3. That is really an entertaining conceptual clarification! I have already met both of them and always wanted to read about them. It was completely confusing for me to meet a “Grinzinger Heuriger” in Carinthia. Thanks for this readable info!

    1. Hello Sabine, Sometimes it is not so easy to understand the differences, especially if the Heurigen not only in the Vienna area appear :). Best regards, Monika

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