Austria

Austria is a country with a rich history of winemaking, stretching back to the ancient times. Its winemaking traditions are closely linked to those of neighboring countries like Germany and Hungary, and its unique terroir has created a distinctive wine style. The country is known for producing high-quality white wines, particularly Riesling and Gruner Veltliner, as well as red wines made from the Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent grape varieties.

Winemaking History & Terroir

Austria Wine Map

Austria has been making wine for thousands of years, and its winemaking traditions have been influenced by the country's historical links with Germany, Hungary, and Ukraine. Austria, Hungary & Ukraine have ties that go back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the WWI. This led to a regional sharing of grape varietals. With Germany, the roots go back further to the Holy Roman empire, where winemaking traditions in both regions have influenced each others' styles.

The country's diverse climate and soil conditions, as well as its history, have helped to create a unique wine style. Austrian wines are known for their crisp acidity, bright fruit flavors, and minerality, which is a result of the country's cool growing climate and the rocky soils found in many of its vineyard sites.

Grape Varietals & Wine Styles

Austria is home to a number of international, regional, and local grape varieties, each with its own distinctive profile. The country's most widely grown grape varietals include Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, and St Laurent.

Gruner Veltliner

Gruner Veltliner is a white grape variety that is widely grown in Austria, particularly in the Kamptal and Kremstal regions. The grape variety is known for producing bright, acidic white wines with flavors of green apples and citrus. Gruner Veltliner wines are known for their versatility and can range from light, crisp wines to fuller-bodied, more complex wines.

Riesling

Riesling is a white grape variety that is widely grown in Austria, particularly in the Wachau region. The grape variety is known for producing crisp, aromatic white wines with bright acidity and flavors of green apples and citrus. Riesling wines are known for their mineral character, which is often described as steely or flinty, and their ability to age well over time.

Blaufrankisch

Blaufrankisch is a red grape variety that is widely grown in Austria, particularly in the Burgenland region. It is known for producing medium to full-bodied red wines with spicy and berry flavors, and a firm tannic structure. The grape variety is known for its versatility, and can produce a range of styles, from lighter, fruit-forward wines to more full-bodied, age-worthy wines.

Zweigelt

Zweigelt is a red grape variety that was developed in Austria in the 1920s. It is a crossing of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent and is widely grown in the country. Zweigelt wines are known for their medium-bodied structure, with flavors of cherries and plums, and a firm tannic structure. The grape variety is widely planted in Austria and is known for its adaptability to a range of soils and climates.

St. Laurent

St. Laurent is a red grape variety that is widely grown in Austria, particularly in the Burgenland region. The grape variety is known for producing full-bodied red wines with flavors of cherries and plums, and a firm tannic structure. St. Laurent wines are known for their ability to age well and can develop secondary flavors and aromas over time.

Major Wine Making Regions

Austria Wine Regions

Austria has several major wine making regions, each with its own distinctive style. Some of the country's most prominent regions include the Wachau, Kamptal, and Kremstal, which are known for producing high-quality white wines. The Wachau is located along the Danube River and is known for its Riesling wines, which are known for their crisp acidity and mineral character.

Burgenland

Burgenland is a wine region in eastern Austria, located on the border with Hungary. The region has a long history of wine production, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is known for producing red wines from the Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent grape varieties. The region is characterized by its warm climate and fertile soils, which make it ideal for growing grapes. The rolling hills of Burgenland provide excellent sun exposure for the vines, and the cool winds that blow in from the surrounding lakes help to moderate temperatures and prevent disease. These conditions combine to create a unique terroir that gives Burgenland wines their signature character and complexity.

Wachau

The Wachau is a wine region located in the Danube River valley in Austria. The region has a rich history of wine production, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is known for producing high-quality white wines, particularly Riesling. The Wachau is characterized by its unique microclimate, which is influenced by the warm winds that blow in from the nearby Bohemian Plateau, and by the cooling effect of the river. The vineyards of the Wachau are situated on steep hillsides that provide excellent sun exposure, and the soils are rich in mineral content, which imparts a distinct character to the wines produced in the region.

Kamptal

Kamptal is a wine region located in the Danube River valley in Austria. The region has a long history of wine production, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is known for producing high-quality white wines, particularly Gruner Veltliner. The Kamptal region is known for its warm, sunny climate and its well-drained soils, which are rich in loess and sandstone. These conditions allow the vines to produce grapes with a unique balance of fresh acidity and rich fruit flavors, which are typical of the wines produced in the region.

Kremstal

Kremstal is a wine region located in the Danube River valley in Austria. The region has a long history of wine production, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is known for producing high-quality white and red wines. The Kremstal region is characterized by its diverse soils, which range from loess and sandstone to clay and limestone. This variety of soils allows for a wide range of grape varieties to be grown in the region, each with its own unique character and flavor profile. The warm, sunny climate of the region helps to ripen the grapes fully, while the cooling effect of the nearby river helps to preserve their fresh acidity.

Styria

Styria is a wine region located in southern Austria, near the border with Slovenia. The region has a long history of wine production, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is known for producing high-quality white and red wines. The Styria region is characterized by its warm, sunny climate and its well-drained soils, which are rich in sandstone and loess. The vineyards of Styria are situated on rolling hillsides that provide excellent sun exposure, and the region is known for producing wines with a unique combination of rich fruit flavors and fresh acidity.

Conclusion

Austria has a rich history of winemaking that stretches back thousands of years, and its winemaking traditions have been influenced by its historical links with neighboring countries and its unique terroir. The country is known for producing high-quality white wines, particularly Riesling and Gruner Veltliner, as well as red wines made from the Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent grape varieties.

Austria's wine making regions each have their own distinctive style, and the country is home to a number of prominent winemakers who are dedicated to producing high-quality wines that reflect the unique terroir of their regions. Whether you are a fan of crisp, aromatic white wines or rich, full-bodied red wines, Austria has something to offer, making it a must-visit destination for wine lovers.

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