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Austria as a Wine Region

Taking Austria’s Viticulture to all the Wine Lovers

Austria, a country with a mountainous landscape, is one of the major wine producing nations in the European Continent.

Although this country faced some controversies in the past decades, it was able to emerge as a forerunner in the quality wine production today.

Yes, the Austrian winemaking industry didn’t fail to balance the tradition although being innovative in its wine production.

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With its winemaking history dating back to 700 B.C., the country is contributing around 1% of the world wine production today. Now, I’m taking Austria’s viticulture to all the wine lovers here….

Looking at Austria as a Viticultural Zone

Austria is located at the center of the European continent to the south of Germany.

When we observe the climatic conditions, we can understand that the country is slightly hotter than Germany and this can be felt in the Austrian wine styles.

Not only latitudes but topography also plays a key role in the wine production here.

A majority of the country’s wine regions are located in the northeastern part of the country especially in the state of Niederosterreich.

The country is found to experience a continental type of climate with some marked temperature shifts between days and nights, and also between the summers and the winters.

In addition, the country is having an array of mesoclimates which are found to be moderated by the water bodies like the ‘Danube River’ and the Lake Neusidl.

Wine Production and Wine Regions in Austria

As a whole, the country has almost 113,000 acres of land under vine cultivation with these vineyards being managed by around 23,000 vine growers.

At present, the major export markets for Austrian wines are Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.

The country has four major winegrowing regions. Of these, the biggest wine region is found to be the lower Austria with almost 60% of the country’s vineyards.

This region is a home to some of the world-famous white wines. The second biggest wine region of the country is located in the ‘Burgenland’ which is well-known for its full-bodied red wines.

The third of the biggest Austria wine regions is located in the ‘Styria’ with around 10% of the country’s vineyards.

Here comes the well-known Vienna as the fourth biggest wine region of Austria with 1,600 acres under vine cultivation. Vienna is the only capital on the planet to have this much area under vine cultivation.

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A Quick Note on the Austrian Appellation System

It has been found that the wine laws of Austria have strong influences from Germany and hence, the wines are classified based on the sugar content of the grapes used.

This is locally known by the term ‘must weight’ which is measured on the scale called Klosterneuburger Mostwaage.

As such, there are three fundamental quality levels in Austrian wines and they are:

  • Tafelwein
  • Qualitätswein
  • Prädikatswein

In addition to this, there is another system in action that is found to be similar to the France’s AOC appellation.

This was created in the year 2003 and is called as Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC) appellation system.

This appellation law puts restrictions on the following parameters in order to ensure the quality of wines produced:

  • Grape varieties
  • Alcohol levels
  • Oak aging regimes

Major Grape Varieties in Austrian Wines:

For the production of quality wines, the country’s appellation system is letting the use of 35 grape varieties in total. Of these, some are found to be dominating the wine industry at present. They are:

  • Blauer Portugieser
  • Blauer Wildbacher
  • Blaufränkisch
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Frühroter Veltliner
  • Furmint
  • Gelber Muskateller
  • Grüner Veltliner
  • Merlot
  • Neuburger
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Roter Traminer
  • Rotgipfler
  • Sankt Laurent
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Savagnin
  • Scheurebe
  • Syrah
  • Welschriesling
  • Zierfandler

Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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