What is it that makes Austrian wines so special?
Even though Austria is known as the “Alpine Republic”, its diverse climates and soils provide ideal conditions to produce the world’s finest wines. Austria has been producing wine for centuries with first findings of wine dating back to the Celts and Romans (700 BC). Another historical example, the flagship wine “Gruener Veltliner”, covering 37 % of Austria’s vineyards today, was created in the 10th century. Austria produces 1 % of the global wine production and 30 % of this production is exported. After Germany and Switzerland, the U.S. is the third biggest export market for Austrian wine.
As the western part of Austria is covered by mountainous terrain, wine growing is found on the eastern flank of the country. The biggest of the four wine growing regions is Lower Austria covering 60 % of the total vineyards. This is also home for Austria’s top notch white wines, above all the Gruener Veltliner but also fruity Rieslings and some more ancient varieties like the Zierfandler or Rotgipfler.
The second biggest wine growing region is found in Burgenland, which offers ideal conditions for full bodied red wines like Blaufraenkisch, Zweigelt, and St. Laurent, but also delicious dessert wines like the Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslese. The third biggest wine growing region is found in the south, that is in Styria. With around 10 % of Austria’s vineyards, Styria makes fantastic Sauvignon Blanc, Welschriesling, Gelber Muskateller, and Weissburgunder. Last but not least, the fourth wine growing region is Vienna. No other capital in the world can compete with the 1,600 acres of vineyards. The Danube River going through Vienna provides ideal conditions for the Riesling and other white wine varieties.
The wine growing area in Austria totals 113,000 acres and is managed by 23,000 wine growers. Virtually all of Austria’s fine wines are produced by small family wineries, which have been doing so for centuries. There are 35 grape varieties authorized for the production of quality wine in Austria. White wines are still dominant with 63 % of the vineyard area, but the reds are catching up. After Austria’s flagship wine, the Gruener Veltliner (37 %), it is already the red wine variety Zweigelt, which is second most important (15 %). In comparison to the Gruener Veltliner, Zweigelt is still a young variety, dating back to the 20s of the last century. Other important varieties in Austria are the white wine variety Welschriesling and the red wine variety Blaufraenkisch (each 8 % of the vineyards).
Austrian wine is one of the most interesting phenomena happening in the world right now. The wines are found on every good wine list, are appreciated by wine experts and highly acclaimed by journalists. What wine critics across the globe appreciate the most is that Austrian wines are exceptionally delicious and pair wonderfully with food, making Austrian wine sheer drinking pleasure.
There are many reasons for the exceptionality of Austrian wine and the sum of all these factors has paved the path for the sensational quality boom over the past couple of decades. The Austrian vintners have all comprehended how important it is to successfully combine traditional viticulture with modern vinification processes. The motto is quality without compromise and the result was success without exception.
For more detailed information click: Austrian Wine Marketing