Austrian Wine Growing Regions

Austria has three major wine growing regions: Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Burgenland and Steiermark (Styria). In addition, it has 16 smaller wine regions, including Wien (Vienna). Austrian wines can be classified as DAC (= Districtur Austriae Controllatus; Latin for Controlled District of Austria) which is the legal abbreviation for special region-typical quality wines.

 

Niederoesterreich (27,128 ha)

Niederoesterreich is the largest wine growing area in Austria and it consists of eight wine growing regions. It has three major climatic zones: the Weinviertel in the north, the region along the river Danube, and the warmer Pannonian part in the south-east of Niederoesterreich. In addition to the flagship wines Gruener Veltliner, which makes up 44 % of the wine production, and Riesling, Niederoesterreich also offers a wide range of different wine varieties, including fresh, aromatic white wines and fruit-driven red wines as well as dessert wines.

Wachau (1,350 ha)

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Homberger

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Homberger

- it is a UNESCO world heritage site
- geography and geological aspects: located in the Danube valley, between the towns of Melk and Krems; very steep-inclined terraces; gneiss, weathered primary granite rock soils, layers of loess
- climate: two major climatic influences – western Atlantic and eastern Pannonian
- the Vinea Wachau (codex) divides the dry white wines into three categories, based on their natural alcohol content by volume: Steinfeder (aromatic, light-bodied; up to 11.5%), Federspiel (11.5% to 12.5%), Smaragd (late-harvest, rich, powerful)
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Riesling
- other varieties: Neuburger, Gelber Muskateller (Muscat blanc), Sauvignon blanc 

Kremstal (2,243 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: rocky soils, deep loess soils
- climate: cool, humid northern breezes colliding with warm, dry eastern winds from the Pannonian plain
- Kremstal DAC (Gruener Veltliner, Riesling) was introduced in 2007
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Riesling
- other varieties: Weißburgunder

Kamptal (3,802 ha)

© Niederösterreich-Werbung/Roman Seidl

© Niederösterreich-Werbung/Roman Seidl

- Austria’s largest wine-producing town Langenlois
- geography and geological aspects: steep terraces, loess, loam, gravel, primary rock and volcanic elements
- climate: influences of the hot, Pannonian plain heat from the east and the cooler Waldviertel from the north west
- Kamptal DAC (Gruener Veltliner, Riesling) was introduced in 2008
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Riesling
- other varieties: red and white Pinot varieties, Zweigelt

Traisental (790 ha)

- youngest wine region in Austria
- geography and geological aspects: one the smallest wine growing regions; narrow terraces; arid, calcareous gravel soils
- climate: Pannonian plain influences meet cool breezes from the Alps
- Traisental DAC (Gruener Veltliner, Riesling) was introduced in 2006
- tradition of Buschenschanken wine taverns is found in the wine villages, “Heuriger” villages
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Riesling

Wagram (2,451 ha)

- previously called Donauland, received its new name in 2007
- geography and geological aspects: two zones: north and south of the Danube; deep layers of loess
- climate: Pannonian climate
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Riesling, Roter Veltliner
- other varieties: Zweigelt, Pinot Noir varieties, Eiswein (ice wines)
- Stift Klosterneuburg: Austria’s largest privately owned winery
- Bundeslehranstalt für Wein und Obstbau (Federal institute for viticulture and pomology): the world’s first viticultural and oenology school (founded in 1860)

Weinviertel (13,356 ha)

- Largest Austrian wine region
- geography and geological aspects: from the Danube in the south to the Czech border in the north, from Manhartsberg in the west to the border of Slovakia in the east, is divided into three sub-regions (based on the geological and climatic conditions), limestone cliffs
- climate: dry micro-climate, warm Pannonian climate
- Weinviertel DAC (Gruener Veltliner)
- principle grape varieties: Gruener Veltliner
- other varieties: Riesling, Welschriesling, Traminer, Zweigelt, Blauer Portugieser, Burgundweine, Pinot varieties

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Diejun

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Diejun

Carnuntum (910 ha)

- Roman ancient cultural remains can be found
- geography and geological aspects: from Vienna in the west to the border of the Slovak Republic in the east, south of the Danube, Leithagebirge (Leitha mountain ridge), Arbesthaler Huegelland (hillside around Arbesthal), hainburger Berge (mountain range around Hainburg); stony, dense loam and loess or sand and gravel
- climate: Pannonian, continental-like climate
- „Rubin Carnuntum“ (with the image of the Roman Heidentor (Heathen’s Gate) imprinted on the label, as recognition of the region’s cultural history)
- principle grape varieties: Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch
- other varieties: Gruener Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Thermenregion (2,196 ha)

- formed in 1985
- Vines have been cultivated for over 2,000 years
- geography and geological aspects: relatively heavy, dense clay, sandy loam, brown earths with a high shell limestone content; stony, barren gravel soils
- climate: Pannonian climate
- principle grape varieties: Zierfandler (or Spaetrot), Rotgipfler varieties, Sankt Laurent, Pinot Noir
- other varieties: Blauer Portugieser (or Voeslauer), Zweigelt, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Neuburger

 

Burgenland (13,840 ha)

Burgenland’s wine growing area, which is dominated by the hot, continental Pannonian climate, is divided into four regions. It is specifically known for its Blaufraenkisch and Blauer Zweigelt red wines but also for the Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese dessert wines, including the legendary Ruster Ausbruch.

© Burgenland Tourismus / Christian Teske

© Burgenland Tourismus / Christian Teske

Neusiedlersee (7,649 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: loess, black earth, gravel and sandy sediment
- climate: Pannonian climate
- Neusiedler DAC (Zweigelt) was introduced in 2012
- Dessert wines: Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese (made from the white wine variety Welschriesling)
- principle grape varieties: Welschriesling, Zweigelt
- other varieties: Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Blaufraenkisch, St. Laurent, Pinot Noir

Leithaberg/Neusiedlersee-Huegelland (3,576 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: layers of granite primary rock, layers of chalk and lime
- climate: Pannonian climate
- Leithaberg DAC (Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, Gruener Veltliner, Neuburger, Blaufraenkisch)
- Dessert wines
- principle grape varieties: Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Chardonnay, Blaufraenkisch
- other varieties: Neuburger, Gruener Veltliner, Zweigelt, St. Laurent, Pinot Noir

Mittelburgenland (2,117 ha)

- production of red wines began during the end of the 1970s and early 1980s
- geography and geological aspects: heavy, dense and deep loamy layers
- climate: Pannonian climate
- Effective from the 2005 vintage, Mittelburgenland DAC (first wine in Burgenland to be given DAC status; Blaufraenkisch)
- principle grape varieties: Blaufraenkisch
- other varieties: Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Eisenberg/Suedburgenland (498 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: dense, iron-rich soils
- climate: Pannonian climate, climatic influences from the neighbouring Styria
- Eisenberg DAC (Blaufraenkisch) was introduced in 2009
- Known for: Uhudler (made from hybrid vines, aroma of wild strawberries)
- principle grape varieties: Blaufraenkisch
- other varieties: Welschriesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)

 

Steiermark (4,240 ha)

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Homberger

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Homberger

Steiermark is known for the fresh and elegant style of region-typical wines and its most abundant wine Welschriesling. All three Styrian wine growing regions offer their own local specialty. In the west, the Schilcher Rosé dominates while Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller are typical for the south and the south-east traditionally produces Traminer. „Junker“ wines are young wines that debut during the first week of November. In spring, following the harvest, “Klassik” wines are produced that are traditionally dry. Wine lovers have to be patient for the “Lagen” wines which are dry, full-bodied and produced from very ripe grapes from established single-vineyards.

Südoststeiermark (1,400 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: warm volcanic, basalt, sand, loam and weathered primary rock soils
- climate: illyirc, continental effects of the hot and dry Pannonian climate meet the warm and humid Mediterranean influences
- principle grape varieties: Traminer, Weissburgunder, Morillon (Chardonnay)
- other varieties: Welschriesling, Grauburgunder (Pinot Blanc, Gris), Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Zweigelt

Südsteiermark (2,340 ha)

- geography and geological aspects: ranging from sandstone and slate, to marl and shell limestone
- climate: Mediterranean climate
- specialties: “Junker” young wines (first wine of the new vintage), aromatic “Klassik” wines, very-ripe, rich and opulent “Lagen” or reserve style of wines
- principle grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Gelber Muskateller
- other varieties: Welschriesling, Morillon (Chardonnay), Traminer

Weststeiermark (500 ha)

- smallest wine growing region in Styria
- geography and geological aspects: consists of gneiss, schist, layers of sedimentary rock
- climate: llyric, with warm and humid Mediterranean and southeastern European influences, high rainfall
- home of the Schilcher (correct name: Blauer Wildbacher) – wide range of styles
- principle grape varieties: Blauer Wildbacher


Vienna (612 ha)

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Diejun

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Diejun

- geography and geological aspects: mineral-rich shell limestone soils, black earth soils
- climate: Pannonian climate
- Known for the traditional Viennese “Heuriger” wine taverns
- principle grape varieties: Gemischter Satz („Wiener Gemischte Satz“ – internationally acknowledged as Austrian wine)
- other varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)

For more detailed information click: Austrian Wine Marketing