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St. Laurent grapes

The St. Laurent grape is a unique grape variety grown in the not-so-wine-growing countries of Central Europe.

As we already know about the vine varieties grown in Europe, almost 90% of these are grown in two of the most famous wine producers that are France and Italy.

The rest of the grape varieties can be attributed to Spanish origins as well as Portugal but very few varieties, mostly locally found, are grown in countries of northern and central Europe.

Since that is the case, many might think of what grape varieties are grown in these non-wine producing nations.

However, some grape varieties once locally grown here are fast becoming popular because of their quality and of course, efforts made by several winemakers to export their produce and make them available to the rest of the world.

See also Saint Laurent Grapes

Wine grape varieties

In such a scenario, a variety like the St. Laurent shares much importance because of its swiftly developing market base not just in central Europe, but in Canada, New Zealand as well as some vineyards of Australia.

Once being a purely local vine of Austria, it has spread double time to neighboring countries of Germany and Czech Republic.

We discuss some of its origins in this section as well as its viticulture characteristics and how it has rapidly developed all these years owing to its excellent flexibility and adaptability towards other climates and topographies.

Origins of St. Laurent

Origins of St. Laurent remain somewhat foggy in spite of it gaining rapid popularity among central European masses.

A lot of its characteristics are very similar to Pinot Noir; in fact, DNA analysis has provided some evidence that it might be an offspring of Pinot Noir, although researchers are yet to establish clear facts.

It is certain, however, that St. Laurent is a direct descendant of the Zweigelt grape, another popular Austrian variety.

Setting aside the genetic crosses, its exact origins remain unclear. Many believe it to be having French origins since some vague records do indicate that Austrians got it from French lands, most probably in the 19th century when France saw several political conflicts with the then Imperial Austria.

However, this too requires concrete citations. Other records suggest that the grape entered Czech lands sometime in the 1940’s, most probably by the invading German armies who might have brought it after their occupation of France.

Whatever be its exact origins, the grape remained a local Austrian and Czech variety until the last two or three decades, when several efforts by Austrian winemakers to popularize the variety has seen much success, besides it’s gaining land overseas especially in Canada, New Zealand and some parts of Australia.

The grape has been named after Saint Lawrence, an important archdeacon of Rome in the 3rd century CE.

His martyrdom with other early Christian saints on the 10th of August (celebrated as a St. Lawrence day) marks the point when the grape changes its color.


The grape ripens mid to early season. Usually cultivated with deep clay soils, it produces blackish grapes with cylindrical structures.

The berries are compactly set and might even pose problems when picking and harvesting.

Its compact setup also gives an advantage to pests and bacterial infections, so harvesters need to use caution.

It’s sensitive during the flowing period and might result in a bad yield if harvest gets delayed.

Also sensitive to frost since that severely affects the tannin and acid content, making it extremely bitter and undesirable for producing wine.

The reason of its popularity in Canada and overseas is because of availability of suitable soil types.

However, it is also tolerant to less fertile soils. The vine gets a unique leaf structure that is wavy and five lobed.

Usually produces dark cherry flavored wines with notes of blackberries, spices and smoke.

Complementary pairing up

St. Laurent wines are usually used as celebration wines.

Pair it up with a Sauerbraten mixed with nutmeg and berries and you get a nice appetizer with a fruity beverage.

This should also go very well with Mediterranean cuisine from Italy and Greece since they make very mild dishes.

For vegetarians, pair this up with sautéed mushrooms and a hearty breakfast!

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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