Wine and winemaking in Austria is a fairly developed and profitable business. For many tourists and visitors, Austria is more likely to be associated with beer and Vienna schnitzel. But Austria has a long history of wine production and therefore its culture of consumption. Good Austrian wine is not only a great gift for loved ones, but also a good souvenir to commemorate a visit to this country.
A Brief History of Winemaking in Austria
According to some archaeological finds, grapes were grown in the territory of modern Austria already 4000 years ago. Ancient wine vessels found near Salzburg date back to the 5th century BC. Winemaking actively developed under the Roman Empire, but constantly suffered from raids by barbarians. Starting from the 8th-9th centuries AD, monasteries and churches were engaged in the cultivation and development of wine production.
Wine and winemaking really bloomed in Austria in the 16-18 centuries. Despite a significant number of military conflicts, a number of alcohol taxes were introduced, so active financial injections into this industry began. And in 1784 the concept of the Heuringers was created (Heuriger – “this year”). Heuringer is a special name not only for Austrian young wine, but also for unique wine establishments. In these winemakers serve guests their own wine, as well as often offer excursions around the winery. Examples of such establishments are Weingut Cobenzl and Wieninger in Vienna. Please note that they are not open all year.
In the 19th century, the industry was hit hard by a number of biological diseases and insect pests. The 20th century brought both military disruption and many investments. However, they were not always positively reflected in the quality of the final product. Now Austria can offer wine for every taste, color and pocket.
Varieties of wines in Austria
In Austria there are more than 50 00 ha of vineyards. Most of them are located in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) and in Burgenland, which form Weinland Österreich. There are four main wine regions in the country – Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria and Burgenland. Most of the vineyards are reserved for white grape varieties.
The dominant, typical and most important for the Austrian land is the Grüner Veltliner variety. From it you can get light wine of various types, with invariable pleasant notes of fruit and spices.
Another important variety is Welschriesling, which is also used for the production of white wines. Wine from this variety is light, with a characteristic acidity and berry aftertaste.
Mueller-Thurgau is another popular white grape variety in Austria. It was created in Switzerland through a combination of two other varieties – Riesling and Madeleine Royale. Because the variety ripens early, it is often used for the production of young wine and has a light nutmeg flavor.
We will talk about red varieties too. It is worth noting the varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Blauer Portugieser.
Zweigelt is the most common red wine variety in Austria. It was created by combining the varieties Blaufrankisch and Saint Laurent. The wines from it have a bright taste of cherries and a bit of raspberries.
Blaufrankish – ripens late, has a strong connection with the varieties Weißer Heunisch and Blauer Zimmettraube. The wines get a rich color and flavor of wild berries.
Blauer Portugieser – also distributed in Germany and Slovenia. Grapes require careful care, the wine gets a light red color, light fruit tones and, often, not a high alcohol content.
Of course, many other varieties common throughout the globe are also grown in Austria. For example, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay and many others.
Also read our article about antique cars festival in Vienna.