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But Vienna’s heritage products are not the only ones that can be experienced firsthand. In the southern 10th district, the Gegenbauer vinegar brewery offers hour-long  tours of its highly eccentric premises. Company owner Erwin Gegenbauer, who sold his family’s sauerkraut and pickle business to start it up, said it is the smallest professional vinegar brewery in the world.

The brewery is a curious mix of low and high tech. The bottling is done by hand in what looks like a simple shed, and because of space, the vinegar is stored in barrels on the roof. But inside, computers monitor the temperature and conditions so that the specially selected bacteria used to ferment the vinegar stay active.

At random intervals during the tour, Gegenbauer stops for a tasting, dropping tiny samples of the balsamic and fruit vinegars onto the tongues of his guests using a pipette. The taste explosion is extraordinary – the flavours are so sharp, yet each one bears the characteristics of the fruit it was made from.  

“Eating and drinking is very complex,” he said. “And [in] every meal, every ingredient has its own story.”

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