Viticulture was practiced by burghers, by nobility, and in monasteries until the 16th century. Farmers only rarely got involved. Wine eventually lost ground to beer as a popular drink, and sinking sale prices were no longer lucrative enough for conventional producers. But by the 18th century, wine was increasingly being seen as a business opportunity by the rural lower classes, and almost every Weinviertel farmer had his or her own vineyard.
During the reign of Joseph II, farmers were allowed to sell wine, and thus the time of the wine cellar alleys appeared, in addition to the expansion of vineyards. The miracle grape variety ‘Grüner Veltliner’ became especially preferred, brought from Italy by the Weinviertel vintner Michael Much. It soon came to be thought of as a native variety known as the ‘green Manharts grape’. The prospects of increased sales subsequently required more storage space. Outside of the town centres, new villages began to form starting in 1848. These consisted of simple clay brick houses without chimneys, allowing space for wine presses and accessories. The close proximity to neighbours encouraged cooperation and convivial drinking. Nowadays people go to the Galgenberg (gallows hill) on Easter Monday, to be in nature (German: in die ‘Grean’), drink young wine, and share food in convivial company – as the vintners and their harvest helpers once did.