After visiting the city of Graz, I spent the remainder of my time in Austria exploring Südsteiermark (South Styria). Two hours from Vienna, South Styria is home to green rolling hills, small villages and a variety of wines and vineyards. From wine tastings to tasty delicacies and traditional Austrian food, here are three unique South Styrian food and wine experiences you must try.
Mouthwatering Food and Wine Experiences
(Even If You Don’t Eat Meat)
Wine Tasting at Winery Kästenburg
Meet the wine growers and tour the historic wine cellar of Winery Kästenburg. Here you’ll learn about the wine-making process while sampling some of the best varieties found on the South Styrian Wine Route. Nestled on top of the hill, take some time to enjoy the landscape.
While there are plenty of meat options to choose from like pork belly and ham, if you do not eat meat, enjoy homegrown vegetables with radish, spreads and cheese (vegan is also available).
I loved the homemade bread with sunflower seeds paired with pumpkin seed oil and tomatoes. For desert, I savored every scoop of the vanilla ice cream with seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil is very popular in South Styria and locals drizzle it on everything.
If you want to spend more time on the vineyard, spend the night in one of Kästenburg’s apartments. On-site there’s a small playground for children and sun loungers for relaxation and shade.
Read Next: What to Eat in Vienna
Exhibition at Vinofaktur Genussregal
Vinofaktur Genussregal is a wine shop and culinary exhibition dedicated to the Austrian products found in South Styria. Here you can purchase over 1,000 wines from top winemakers in Southern Styria, Eastern Styria and beyond. You can also find regional products from 250+ local producers like tender smoked ham, spicy cheese, mustard, juices, fine
The exhibition is fun and interactive. With audio stations, films, display boards and 40 sampling stations, you learn about the production process, how people in South Styria live and what they eat.
Some of my favorite immersive exhibits included the Look Hive where you can taste natural honey produced by more than 10,000 bees and the Cyber Moped, a virtual ride through the Styrian vineyards.
Also, don’t miss the pumpkin seed oil station where you can taste pumpkin seed oil and different types of chutneys (pumkin, pesto and pickled). Also known as “black gold”, not only is pumpkin seed oil delicious but it also has lots of health benefits. To really taste the flavor (which I think is pretty nutty), I recommend trying it alone without any bread.
Helpful Tip: Plan 1-2 hours for the exhibition. I recommend spending the extra 3 € to book a guided tour with one of the trained staff for additional information.
- Adults: 7 €
- Children (6-16 years old): 3,50 €
- Children under 6: Free
Hours of Operation:
- Monday-Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Friday-Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Sundays and Holidays: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Buschenschank Winery Tinnauer
Dine at Winery Tinnauer, a traditional Buschenschank which serves homemade and locally sourced cold Styrian dishes including fine ham, spicy sausages, creamy spreads, salads, hard and soft cheeses, vegetables, freshly baked bread and wine. By law, Buschenschanks only serve cold dishes. No hot meals, coffee or beer is served.
From the gorgeous view overlooking the terrace to the farm-to-table cuisine, the dinning experience at Winery Tinnauer was top-notch. I felt cared for throughout my meal and Martin (the owner) answered all of my questions and made sure I sampled enough typical Austrian dishes to get a sense of the region.
My favorite bites included the creamy goat cheese, sunflower seed oil simmered over a salad and the chocolate cake dessert. The charging stations with lock-and-key inside the restaurant also came in handy when my phone almost died!
Helpful Tip: I recommend grabbing a seat on the terrace to enjoy the lovely view of the vineyard. The Tinnauer vineyard has been in the family for hundreds of years.
Hours of Operation
- Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. to close
- Wednesday: Closed
- Thursday: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
From South Styria’s lush vineyards to Graz’s unique architectural designs, Austria blew me away and exceeded my expectations. South Styria is absolutely gorgeous and it’s a lot less touristy than you might think. If you love good food, fine wine and enjoy learning about the local culture, visit South Styria and discover all that there is to see and do. And the best part? If you don’t eat meat, you’ll have no problem maintaining your diet. Prost (Cheers)!
Where are your favorite places to dine in South Styria?
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 4x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here which has over 80,000 podcast downloads.