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Austrian Wine 101

Austria produces only one percent of the world’s wines – but this percent has reached international reputation in the last two decades. Austrian wine is a synonym for quality, diversity and local varieties of wine grapes, such as the Grüner Veltliner or Zweigelt.

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Small vineries producing big wines

Wine production in Austria still takes place in small segments. Most wine growing activity in Austria takes place in farms with tillage and animal breeding. Approximately half of them have vineyards with an area of less than 12 acres and are only producing small amounts. This leads to a huge variety and individuality in the wine scene. Every bottle of wine from Austria has the designation of the individual wine grower attached to it.

Still, wine production in Austria is thriving as never before. Economic upswing, international tasting success and impressive contemporary wine architecture, such as the “Loisium World of Wine”, are some of the results of this boom.

Growing gorgeous grapes

Austria is fundamentally a land of white wines; about two thirds of wine growing areas are covered with white grape vines. Unquestionably, the most prominent of these grapes is the Grüner Veltliner of very modest origins but now assuming a highly respected role in Austrian wine production. No other grape reflects the identity of the wine country Austria better.

The province of Styria is distinguished by its Sauvignon Blanc. This internationally known variety of grape is especially aromatic and fruity with typical highlights of black currents. Equally popular is the Gelbe Muskateller, drunk as an aperitif and the Traminer, reminiscent of rose buds.

While Austrian white wines have an established tradition, the local red wine tradition is relatively new. Nevertheless the local grape varieties of Blauer Zweigelt, the Blaufränkische and the St. Laurent have attained such a level of excellence that many winegrowers sell out their production of top wines in short time.

Any discussion of the wide variety of Austrian wines would not be complete without a mention of sparkling wines – from the fruity frizzante made from the west Styrian Schilcher grape to the elegant, hand shaken vintage sparkling wine.

Austria – wine country out-and-out

The climate for wine growing is ideal: Clear seasons and considerable differences between day and night temperatures promote a palpable aroma maturity. This makes for fresh, fruit flavored and delicate wines that are not only a joy to drink but are excellent companions to good food.

With the various wine regions – from Vienna, to Styria, Lower Austria and Burgenland – there is hardly any kind of wine not produced in Austria. And all of this at a level of quality that inspires no matter how unpatriotic the connoisseur might be. Whereby Austrians are not at all unpatriotic in regard to wines - almost three-fourths of all of the wine produced in Austria is consumed by the Austrians themselves. This is not really surprising since Austrian wines have a characteristic that distinguishes them from others: they stir the spirit and go down easily.