The St. Laurentius church is the main church of Langenlois. Its oldest parts are late Romanic style but most of the church as it appear today was finished in Gothic style. The spire is baroque. In the middle of 20th century the church was renovated and less precious baroque things were removed while the church got back its gothic altar which was hidden in a depot in Amras. So we are lucky to see the church in the same appearance as throughout most time of its existence.
When you enter through the "Golden Gate" the underground show begins. For a short bit you come up again to see a vintner's house from the 1920ies.
There is a lot of high-tech used for it which in its general concept reminds you a lot of Swarowski's Crystal World ("Kristallwelten") in Wattens in Tirol (see VT pages of Wattens for that). In general it is clearly less "kitschy" than the thing in Wattens. And maybe that is one of the reasons why it has far less visitors.
It is easier to promote artificial crystals with a show like that because almost all impressions and memories you may have about crystals are optical ones, you catch all with your eyes and it re-appears in front of your "inner eyes". The optical impression of a wine is of a high relevance as well but far more important is that what you get via your nose, your tongue and your palate. And this is the harder challenge for the Loisium as compared to Swarowski's Crystal World. And I must say at least until to the nose they did a good job there underground.
For the end of the show along a walk of more than a kilometer (which is accompanied by a good Audioguide) a wine tasting is promised and just at the spot where you have to give back the audioguide they are offering you a microscopic quantity of that what is announced to be the "Wine of the Month". Since I know the wines of this area very well (I invite my VT-friends to taste them with me in my home!) I must say that I was rather disappointed. In particular when I arrive at the end of the show back in the visitor's centre with its huge vinotheque. So they should at least be so clever to offer at least 3 small samples of the local wines - one of them always a Grüner Veltliner - to animate the vistors to buy some bottles. Every brewery is better in this aspect of taking care of their actual and prospecrtive customers...
So I can only state that I was disappointed in this particular respect - especially considering that they invested so many millions to promote the local wine....
This interesting "Wine Theme Park" is only a few 100 meters from the Centre right in the wine hills surrounding Langenlois. Above the ground is a sorts of cube with a surface of brushed aluminium which looks at a first glance from the distance like a building which was heavily shaken by an earthquake but still remains standing. Other than in Gaudí's or his Austrian epigone Hundertwasser's architecture you find only straight lines but no angle of 90 degrees. When you enter this thing you find yourself in a vistor centre with a stylish vinotheque. The surface of the walls is here cork. This area is accessible free of charge. For a steep 11,50 EUR you can visit the underground which is - no wonder - consisting of an immense system of wine cellars about 7 - 10 meters below the wineyards. These cellars are said to be up to 900 years old and show you almost all and much more what you may like to know about wine, in particular about the local leading sort "Grüner Veltliner". More about the underground part in the next tip.
Loisium Allee 2, Langenlois, 3550, at
"Ausg'steckt" is of course not the name of any Heuriger but you should nevertheless in every wine town or village in Lower Austria look out for the big boards with this title. They list all the Heurigen around which are open the actual day. You can identify the open ones also by a bush of branches hanging above the entrance door. There are more than 30 Heurige in Langenlois so you will always find enough of them open. The best time for a Heurigen is the late afternoon and early evening.
The Heurige are based on a historical privilege which allows the producers of wine to sell a limited number of days their own wine and food they produced themselves and pay less taxes for it.
In warm weather you sit normally in a nice garden.
If you happen to see a Tourist bus parking outside a Heurigen it is better not to enter. Just look for an other one.
Favorite Dish: "Heuriger" is the name of the youngest wine, from 11 Novmber onwards the wine of the running year. To the wine you get tasty local snacks which are mostly produced at the same farmstead.
This limited but often very nice selection should normally be clearly cheaper than in a restaurant or Gasthaus.
We felt to be hungry at 16:30 and so we looked out for a place with warm kitchen at this quite unusual lunch/dinner time and found this very authentic place just a few steps from the central square. We had our meals in a nice garden and were nicely satisfied in every respect. So we even came back the next day after our visit of the Loisium.
Favorite Dish: We had several typical Austrian dishes like Geröstete Leber (roasted liver) and Schweinsbraten mit Waldviertler Knödeln, a combination of the most popular Czech dish and local potato dumplings. The salads were very nice as well. Since we had an extensive and intense wine tasting after the meal of the first day we were drinking both days Schremser Bier, a beer from the tiny town Schrems very close to the Czech border which probably made this beer also tasting clearly Czech style which is definitely not a mistake!
You can find the menu on their website.
The best way to buy a wine here is to go right to a producer and to buy it there. You can taste it right at the spot and find out your favourites. A Heuriger is not a bad idea for that - but dont forget, the wine you usually are drinking at the Heurigen is the least prestigious sort of the respective producer - check the winelist for the other sorts he has in his cellar.
What to buy: The prices are in a wide range but you should get good wines already from 4 EUR the bottle. A simple but often good Landwein ("Contry wine") with not more than the sort and the producer specified at the label you may already get from 2 EUR a litre. And believe me - often a good wine from a small and rather unknown producer can be as good as a three times and more expensive one from a prominent producer. The leading sort here is the "Grüner Veltliner", of course and white wines dominate in this area.
The Heiligenstein is the most prestigious wine hill in Austria due to both its micro-climate (it is said that it is the hottest spot in Austria) and its excellent soil. At its top is a lookout tower, about 100 years old in the typical style of this time from where you have an excellent view over much of the lower Kamptal valley, Langenlois, the lower end of the Wachau and even the northern Alps. It is easiest to reach from Zöbing near Langenlois. Drive (or walk) up the Heiligensteiner Kellergasse until to a parking in the forest. From there it is a pleasnt walk up through an interesting vegetation where Northern and Southern trees and bushes meet. After 20 minutes from the parking the Kamptalwarte is reached.