Types of Wine
Austria is not among the most well-known wine countries in the world. In fact, many people aren’t even aware that there is such a thing as Austrian wine! This alone would make them special, but they are so unique and delicious that we are ready to let the world know all about them.
Austria has a long history of winemaking, in fact, its traditions date back as far as when it was a part of the Roman Empire; the landscape of this amazing country are not just defined by snowy mountains, but vineyards too. Having this thorough experience of viticulture has resulted in making wine an integral and significant aspect of Austrian culture and daily life. Every wine region has numerous annual wine festivals drawing thousands of visitors and it is a particular pleasure to explore the ancient wine cellars can be found in the most unexpected places. And finally, Austria is home to the world-famous “Heuriger”, where people flock to enjoy local wines and delicacies directly at many of the wineries themselves.
Cool Climate Wines
If you look at a map, you may be surprised to find that Austria is positioned at the same parallel as Northern France and Canada. This means grapes here grow in what is called a ‘cool climate’ environment.
Lower temperatures produce white wines that are wonderfully crisp, and red wines that are fruity, sure, but also elegantly acidic. Grape varieties such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and even Pinot Noir do very well here. And the number of more traditional wines that have been popular here have recently been joined by a variety of internationally inspired white wines that are opulent and dense, as well as full-bodied red wines that have tremendous potential for storage.
And then, as if that weren’t enough already, Austria also offers award-winning sweet wines (“Eiswein” being a great example of sweet wines that come from a cool-climate wine country). There really is something for everyone.
Austria has no fewer than 16 separate wine regions, all located on the eastern side of the country, and most within one hour’s drive from Vienna, the capital city. (We offer daytrips exploring several regions and wines at a time, a must for anyone who wants an up-close and personal look into Austria’s wine culture).
Each region specializes in wine varieties that grow best in the area’s specific terroir and climate (read more about DAC wines here). For example, Carnuntum and the Burgenland, which shares a border with Hungary, specialize in certain red wine varieties, whereas the regions around the Danube as well as Styria to the south, on the border to Slovenia, specialize in white wine varieties.
We have already mentioned Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir as grape varieties that grow well in Austria’s cool climate. But they aren’t the only ones! There are actually 36 grape varieties, 22 white and 14 red, that have been officially approved to produce Austrian ‘Qualitätswein’. There are even some that are mainly, perhaps only, produced in Austria: The Grüner Veltliner, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Welschriesling. Click on the links or the pictures below for more information about each grape variety.
And it continues! We have gems such as the St. Laurent, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Furmint and Neuburger. These ‘forgotten grapes’, that were in some cases close to extinction, are produced on a small scale by passionate winemakers (Craftwines salutes Hannes Hofer, Johannes Gebeshuber and Gottfried Lamprecht!) who want to make sure that Austria’s wine tradition continues. Find out more about these grape varietals in our blogs!
All in all, Austria has many exciting wine varieties to offer, and all of them are available at Craftwines!