Earlier this month I visited Vienna and decided to spend a few days drawing in my favorite neighborhood – Bisamberg, one of several thriving heritage wine-growing areas in Vienna, located close to Stammersdorf in the 21st district. Here some of the vine-planted fields sit 20 feet above the level of the narrow cobbled lanes – the result of millennia of build-up of loess, a wind-blown silt from as far away as China. The earth banks on either side of the lanes create an enclosed corridor shaded from the sun by the overhanging trees. Set into these banks are many old doors leading to wine cellars, each corresponding to one of the individually-owned narrow strips of land above. This was where growers made and stored their wine. Many of the cellars are now disused – too small for the requirements of the larger growers leasing the land – and have fallen into disrepair. The brickwork is crumbling, the wood is rotting, and nature is encroaching. Newcomers walking down one of the lanes would be forgiven for thinking that they had stumbled upon a forgotten burial place with tombs set into earthen walls.
Drawings: 17” x 13”. Watercolor, Ink and Pencil Crayon on Lenox paper.