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October 6, 2006


unlike Czechs and Hungarians, Austrians put signs everywhere... Sturm (schterm) in German, burcak (boor-chock) in Czech, no English equivalent I can think of, it's the midway point between pressing and full maturity, when the wine is yellow-green, kind of fizzy, and packs a punch, causing a storm in your stomach. The readiness of the sturm coincides with the slide into autumn and is celebrated in Czech Republic and Austria with festivals large and small, with people selling homebrew bottled burcak like lemonade at roadside stands all over the place. After Bad Blumau we took the train to the Vienna suburb Wolkersdorf where we joined some of Dan's greenway colleagues for a ceremonial end-of-summer group ride to a giant sturm fest. We were loaned bikes through the town's exemplary DweiRad ZweiRad (Two Wheels, Free Wheels) program, a no-fee bicycle "rental" service. We rode a section of the Praha-Wien Greenway between fields and arrays of wind turbines to a famed winecellar row within city limits where tens of thousands of people clogged the narrow street. Not exactly our thing, so we soon rode back to Wolkersdorf where we continued our own sturmfest at the mayor's wine restaurant. By local accounts, his was the perfect sturm.