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Cheers. Viticulture in Lower Austria

In Lower Austria, the vines were planted on fruitful soil: from the time when the Romans planted vines on the favoured sites in this northern province of their Empire, wine has been prized here as a pleasurable cultural heritage and elevated to cult status by committed wine-growers.

 © Österreich Werbung/Himsl

Carnuntum
The area around the 2,000 year old Roman settlement Carnuntum, the biggest archaeological site in Austria, developed into the first extended area of vineyards. This small and pristine region, with Göttlesbrunn as the centre, impresses with brilliant cuvée red wines. There's an open invitation to sample their special products with a breath of the ancient world from the vintners of the Rubin Carnuntum, as part of the Carnuntum Experience.

Kamptal
The Kamptal valley is famous for its Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The pride of this region comes from vineyards such as Jurtschitsch or Bründlmayer. Just as these wine-makers – together with 700 other wine-growers from Langenlois – were ground-breakers in the new self-appreciation of (Lower) Austrian wine, they have found their avant-garde match in the Loisium World of Wine Experience: surrounded by vineyards, it is a futuristic cube in brushed aluminium. As a visitor centre, with a representative vinotheque, it is the starting-point for a subterranean journey into the soul of the wine, offering a full sensory experience. The cellars are particularly celebrated in March for Loisiarte, the literature and music festival in the Loisium, as wine and fine cuisine enjoy an atmospheric staging.

Wachau
High elevations, quickly falling away over narrow rock terraces down towards the Danube – that is the landscape of the Wachau region, rich in monasteries, attractive churches and old town centres, extending from Melk to Krems. Also here Riesling and Grüner Veltliner dominate. Multiple award-winning estates such as Jamek, Hirtzberger and Domäne Wachau maintain the noble reputation, and their vineyards welcome visitors. In addition to outstanding gastronomes (there are starred chefs at the Landhaus Bacher and Donauwirt), you can equally delight in simple, friendly bars known as “Heuriger”.

Weinviertel
Tracing a wine route, you cross the Wagram region and are led up to the Weinviertel, the largest wine-growing region in Austria. The vineyards nestle down between the sand-heavy hills of, for instance, Retz, Poysdorf and Bad Pirawarth. The roads leading to the villages are known as the ‘Kellergassen’ (‘cellar roads’). The most dominant wine in this region is the Grüner Veltliner, generally producing a fruity-fresh wine with low alcohol content. It is characterised by typical hints of “Pfefferl”, a piquant spice reminiscent of pepper. From the international perspective, “Grü Ve” is Austria’s house wine, and its richly-varying forms found here make it unique.

Thermenregion
In the Vienna Basin, at the south-eastern run-off of the Wienerwald, lies the “Thermenregion”. The aspect that fascinates wine-lovers is the variety in such a small area: native types of vines such as ‘Zierfandler’, also known as ‘Spätrot’, and ‘Rotgipfler’ flourish and grow only here. Especially the Spätrot-Rotgipfler cuvée is well-regarded. Also the vines of the Burgundy family thrive here very well: Pinot blanc and Pinot noir (also known as ‘Blauburgunder’ in Austria) are harvested by hand – delighting those who truly know their wines. The proximity to the capital has seen the development of a culture of ‘Heuriger’, combining rural tradition with urban elegance. In Perchtoldsdorf, right on the outskirts of Vienna, the wine-makers’ houses run along the mediaeval city wall. Every year, albeit only for a short time, the ‘Hauer’ (as the wine-makers call themselves here) open their tidy courtyards to visitors and serve their own wines as well as food. The highlight of the year is the “Hiata-Einzug”, the harvest festival celebration of the Perchtoldsdorf ‘Hauer’, where a young wine-maker’s son carries the “Pritsche” – a crown weighing 70 kilos, tall as a man, made by the wine-makers – up to the church and dances with it. After the church service, the mood generally turns to generous celebration.

 

USEFUL LINKS:

Carnuntum Experience Wine Festival
Every year, the “Carnuntum Experience” – a festival about wine, pleasure, nature and culture, serves up a diverse and packed programme for the whole family.
Date: August 2012
www.carnuntum-experience.com

Rubin Carnuntum vineyards
Information about the Rubin Carnuntum vineyards
www.carnuntum.com

Loisium World of Wine Experience
Langenlois is home to the “Weinwelt Loisium”, where visitors can dip into the depths of the cellarer’s art, including a tasting, guided adventure tour, etc.
www.loisium.at

Loisiarte Literature and Music Festival
An annual event in March, enchanting visitors with musical harmonies and epicurean delights.
Date: 22.-25.3.2012
www.loisiarte.at

Sandgrube 13 and Winzerkrems
Winzer Krems, Sandgrube 13, is one of the most well-known addresses for wine in Austria. Sandgrube 13 wein.sinn takes visitors through 8 stations of the vine, on the trail of the noble juice of the grape, offering behind-the-scenes insights.
www.sandgrube13.at, www.winzerkrems.at

“Literatur & Wein”
High-quality literary festival in the Stift Göttweig monastery, with the best wines being served to partner the events.
Date: early April 2012
www.literaturundwein.at

Wachau Gourmet Festival
A festival dedicated to the culinary things in life.
Date: End March to mid-April 2012
www.wachau-gourmet-festival.at

Domäne Wachau
Cellar tours, wine-tastings and a boat ride on the Danube – experience it all at the Domäne Wachau.
www.domaene-wachau.at

Hiataeinzug Perchtoldsdorf
The biggest harvest festival in Austria
Date: November
www.perchtoldsdorf.at

WAGRAM WERITAS
Regional vinotheque in Kirchberg am Wagram. Top wines, enjoyed in an exceptional architectural setting. A treat.
www.weritas.at

Wein & Co online wine merchants
www.weinco.at

 

ESTATES AND RESTAURANTS

Gastwirtschaft Floh
Take the very freshest of regional products, add the best wines, and serve the whole in a wonderfully local ambience: using this secret recipe, Josef Floh – head chef and owner of the “Gastwirtschaft Floh” in Langenlebarn on the Danube – has cooked his way into the league of top Austrian dining establishments.
www.derfloh.at

Landhaus Bacher
Lisl Wagner-Bacher’s ultra-award winning cuisine (2 Michelin stars, 5 Stars/98 Points A la Carte; 3 chef's hats/18 points Gault Millau), composed from superior ingredients and tinged with regional and Mediterranean accents is as unmistakeable as the Wachau region itself.
www.landhaus-bacher.at

Weingut Holzapfel
Award-winning wines, home-distilled schnapps, a small fine dining restaurant and guest rooms, together with “apricot treats”: in the Prandtauerhof in Joching on the Danube, a building with over 700 years of history, the Holzapfel family celebrate Wachau hospitality – and the best that the cellars and kitchens of the region have to offer.
www.holzapfel.at

Loibnerhof
The Loibnerhof is the classic venue for Wachau gastronomy, and for decades it has been the cult destination for excellent regional cuisine.
www.loibnerhof.at

“bittermann” Vinarium
The “bittermann” Vinarium is a modern-style country guest-house, behind ancient walls, and a true paradise of adventure for all who like fine wining and dining.
www.bittermann-vinarium.at

Heurigenhof Bründlmayer
The Heurigenhof Bründlmayer is not ordinary ‘Heurige’ bar. In the wonderfully attractive, historic set of buildings the cuisine is of the finest, and Bründlmayer wines rank amongst the best in Austrian wines.
www.heurigenhof.at

Weinhaus Nigl
The estate, comprising a vineyard, hotel and restaurant set amongst vineyards, seems a thing of fantasy – and not just because of the long history of these historic walls.
www.weingutnigl.at