On St. Martin’s Day in Austria, the new wine is blessed by the priest. The blessing of the new wine usually takes place in the church, as in Weißenkirchen in der Wachau valley. The local people come to this wine blessing in their traditional costumes the women with golden caps and the men with hats with stone feathers.
Weißenkirchen is the main wine-growing village in the Wachau valley. The Wachau is a valley through which the Danube flows, around 90 kilometres west of Vienna, that is known for its excellent wines.
We start the St. Martin’s Day tour by driving from Vienna to the Wachau valley. Before we go to the medieval fortified parish church of Weißenkirchen where the blessing of the new wine takes place we stop at a typical local restaurant in the Wachau valley to honour another custom of St. Martin’s Day, namely to have a roast goose dinner.
In the raised, 3-bay late Gothic choir of the parish church of Weißenkirchen there is a Baroque alter under a parallel ribbed vault in the form of a double-pillar reredos with a partially blasted segmental arch pediment and the statues of St. Joseph, St. Joachim, St. Anne and St. John the Baptist. The altarpiece shows the Assumption of Mary and the oval centrepiece depicts the Coronation of Mary.
On St. Martin’s Day local people bring their new wine and leave it in front of the People’s altar to be blessed by the priest. The Weißenkirchen men’s choir, D’WACHAUER, dressed in kalmuks with mother-of-pearl buttons, performs the music for the mass.
Following the blessing of the new wine a ceremony with tasting of the new wine follows in the Teisenhoferhof, an extensive, castle-like four-winged complex around a wide, irregular courtyard with two-storey arcades with a monopitch roof. On the ground floor there are deep round-arched niches on massive console pillars, on the upper floor a circumferential arcade with round-arched openings and groined vaults on chamfered pillars, roofed on the east side like a green roof.
The Teisenhoferhof houses the Wachau Museum, where you can see exhibits of traditional Wachau costume. However, during the festivities on the evening of St. Martin’s Day one can see local people wearing their traditional Wachau costumes with the stone feathered hats most outstanding. Steinfeder, a feathery grass that grows on the slopes of the Wachau Valley is used to decorate men’s hats.
Steinfeder is also the name given to light, fragrant wines from the Wachau wine-growing region with a maximum alcohol content of 11.5% by volume, which are served on the evening of St. Martin’s Day at the Teisenhoferhof in Weißenkirchen.
This special tour is only available once a year on St. Martin’s Day on the 11th of November
Duration: approximately 6 – 7 hours
The driving distance from Vienna to Weißenkirchen in the Wachau valley is approximately: 91 km
This St. Martin’s Day offer is a private tour for 2 travelers
Hotel pickup and drop-off in Vienna
Transportation by car to the Wachau Valley
Goose dinner at a typical local Wachau valley restaurant
Wine blessing in the parish church of Weißenkirchen
Ceremony at the Teisenhoferhof in Weißenkirchen
Tasting of the new Wachau Valley wine
Return transportation by car to Vienna
Accompaniment by 2 well educated local guides
On this tour on St Martin’s Day you will get to know the custom in the Wachau valley. The Wachau is a Danube valley 100 kilometres west of Vienna that is famous for its wines. On St Martin’s Day, the new wine of the year is blessed in the parish church of Weißenkirchen. This is followed by a ceremony at the Teisenhoferhof, where the new wine can be tasted. St Martin’s custom also includes the consumption of a roast goose. On this tour you will also have the opportunity to see Wachau people in their traditional costumes, with the women’s gold bonnets and the stone feathers on the men’s hats being particularly special.
The private St. Martin’s Day Wachau Valley Tour for 2 travelers is € 926,20