Today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog! I wasn’t sure whether I’d make it this long when I started, but then Vienna is a huge city, and as I have several fellow Viennese bloggers it’s easy to see that between us all it’s near impossible to cover the whole city in just a few years. And it keeps changing too!! So to celebrate, why not give you some info on our own Viennese champagne factory. 🙂 For New Year’s Eve, and other celebrations a bottle of Schlumberger with gold in it is a popular treat. The cellar is located in the 19th district close to Spittelau, on the D Tramline. And it looks rather impressive as you zoom past on the tram!
The first Austrian producer of sparkling wine was Robert Alwin Schlumberger, who presented his first sparkling wine in 1846 under the name Vöslauer weißer Schaumwein (White sparkling wine of Vöslau). It was produced from Blauer Portugieser grapes growing in vineyards in Bad Vöslau which Schlumberger bought in 1843, and the sparkling wine was an immediate success. Stuttgart-born Schlumberger had worked in the Champagne house Ruinart (Ruinart Père et Fils) before he moved to Vienna in 1842 (Wikipedia). But why did he leave France?
One day in the year 1841, Robert Schlumberger met an enchanting Viennese girl on a Rhine cruise and fell head over heels in love with her: Sophie Kirchner. Another sparkly event that led to a decisive turn in his life as Sophie´s anxious mother did not want to see her daughter move to France (aha!). Consequently, young Robert decided to leave his secure and well paid position behind, bid farewell to “Ruinart” and start a new existence with his young wife in Austria. Shortly before the 1843 grape harvest, Robert Schlumberger and “his Sophie” moved to Vöslau, the only place where he had found ideal conditions for his own champagne.
Only three years later, his successful experiment of producing “mousseux wine in the champagne style“ from Austrian wines was awarded a medal at the Trade Exposition of 1845. In 1862, on the occasion of the World Fair in London, his “Vöslauer Schaumwein“, which he called by this time “Sparkling Vöslauer“, was found appropriate to be included in the wine menu of Queen Victoria of England. Schlumberger had reached courtly status. “Schlumberger Champagner“, as this beverage was called right until the Peace Treaty of Saint-Germain in the year 1919, grew to be the favourite beverage of the Viennese society of the late 19th century. A visible sign of Schlumberger´s ongoing success, the founder of the company ascended to hereditary nobility as “Edler von Goldeck“ (taken from the Schlumberger home page).
If you want to read the whole story, check out the Schlumberger home page. It’s written in English. 😉