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Wine from Austria's South

Take a trip to the southern province of Styria and discover countless wine makers with traditional taverns and tasting rooms. Sauvignon Blanc, the region's signature grape, is often harvested on impossibly steep slopes of slippery schist and shale soils.

Southern Styria gets a lot of compliments - and rightfully so. Friendly hosts at the wine taverns, stunning sun-soaked vineyards, and fresh-fruity wines are just some of the region's best assets. The "klapotetz," a wooden windmill used to scare birds away from the grapevines, is South Styria's unofficial mascot. It emits a steady klonk klonk klonk sound that sets the rhythm for the region's slow, easy-going culture.

Austria's Oldest Wine Road

The entire region is connected by Austria's oldest wine road. It links idyllic hamlets Ehrenhausen, Straß, Arnfels, Oberhaag, and Leutschach, which all offer undulating vineyards. Parts of the route even run along the border to Slovenia, another unique characteristic of Styrias wine country. You can easily reach the region from Graz, Austria's second largest city. The drive is approximately 30 miles (50 km) long and takes 45 minutes - perfect for a weekend or day trip!

  • Southern Styria © Österreich Werbung /  Homberger Southern Styria © Österreich Werbung / Homberger
  • Vineyards in Styria © Österreich Werbung / Hans Wiesenhofer Vineyards in Styria © Österreich Werbung / Hans Wiesenhofer
  • Vineyards in the south of styria © Österreich Werbung /  Herzberger Vineyards in the south of styria © Österreich Werbung / Herzberger

Styrian wine is pure passion

Anybody who travels the southernmost wine trail in Austria will not only get to know outstanding wines, but also exceptional individuals – like young winegrowers Tamara Kögl and Katharina Tinnacher.

‘You can already see the seeds inside of the grapes!’ It is quite an experience, to stroll through Tamara Kögl's vineyards with the woman herself – and not just because you learn a great deal about viticulture (like how to tell that the clusters are finally ripening). Visitors also get an extra portion of passion. And that's before the hearty snack known here as a ‘Jause’ is served in the lovingly restored 300-year-old tavern room. What pairs well with the Kögls' Styrian cooking? A glass of the estate’s own Sauvignon Blanc, of course.
 

Taste the region in the wine

One thing is particularly important for the winegrower: that one can taste the identity of the region in the wine. ‘Every hillside tastes different’, Tamara says with a grin, and goes on to explain that the vines here on the Stermetzberg enjoy ideal conditions. The ventilation here is so generous and the site’s exposure to the east gives it a great deal of morning sunlight, so the vines can dry out rather speedily when the rains come. At the same time, here in Southern Styria the extreme temperature swings of up to 68°F (20°C) make for cool nights, which impart freshness and aroma to the wines. Southern Styria offers quite an extreme patch of land – and a very attractive one. The landscape is grand, with steeply rising vineyards, little houses on the crests of hills, and narrow winding roads that disappear into the vines.

A winegrower since early childhood

Katharina Tinnacher also dedicated herself to wine completely. She grew up in the winegrowing profession; her father, a grower just like his father, gave her five vines as a child. These were hers to care for and maintain herself, in order for her to appreciate exactly what this means. As a reward she could trade the ripened grapes for chewing gum. Today it’s all about wine for Katharina. She took over the family wine estate at the age of only twentyseven, and has managed it successfully, as well as sustainably since.

Like her colleague Tamara, Katharina converted to organic production in 2016. Everything from the leaf-canopy management, to removal by hand of damaged grapes, to the work in the cellar ‘is only an accompanist to the evolving wine, because quality is made in the vineyard’. A point of view that she – like many others – shares with Tamara Kögl.

As a rule, cooperation among winegrowers in South Styria runs extremely high. Vintners exchange information readily and help one another, instead of making life difficult with petty competitions. All to the benefit of the visitors, who can enjoy the best possible wines.

Tamara Kögl, Buschenschank mit veganem Angebot in der Steiermark © Steiermark Tourismus / Harry Schiffer Tamara Kögl, Buschenschank mit veganem Angebot in der Steiermark © Steiermark Tourismus / Harry Schiffer

Empfehlenswerte Weingüter mit Buschenschänken

Meet Family Vineyard Kögl

Wine- and cellarmaster Tamara Kögl is quite proud that there are no facile imitations created in her cellar, just originals. She has been vinifying three series of wines since 2010: The ‘Klassikweine Südsteiermark’ (Southern Styrian classic wines), full of vitality and freshness, fruity and elegant. The ‘Ortsweine Ratsch’ (‘village’ wines from Ratsch) from specifically defined sites, which reflect the hillsides’ unique flavours. And then, the single-vineyard wines named ’Stermetzberg’, with the most distinctive flavour and structure – these wines will happily mature for a decade or two in your cellar.

Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj

A Vineyard with a Restaurant and Guest Rooms

Because of the steep incline (legal minimum is 26%) of the hillsides where the wines are cultivated, they are designated as ‘mountain wines’. Here the demands of organic viticulture render care of the vineyards very labour-intensive, with all work done by hand. Since 2016 both the Welschriesling ‘Alte Reben’ (old vines) and the Weissburgunder ‘Südsteiermark’ (South Styria) are offered in organic quality.

Tamara Kögl and her family have renovated a 300 year-old house with a great deal of appreciation and attention to detail, creating a lovely ‘Buschenschank’ (traditional, rural wine tavern) with a panorama view of the vineyards. And anybody who does not wish to drive after enjoying the outstanding wines can spend the night in one of their four guest rooms - or the rustic barrel-room right next to the vineyards.

Family Vineyard Kögl
  • Südsteiermark_Weine_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj Südsteiermark_Weine_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj
  • Südsteiermark_Trauben_Weingut Kögl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj Südsteiermark_Trauben_Weingut Kögl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj
  • Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj
  • Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj Südsteiermark_Tamara Koegl_Weingut Koegl © Weingut Koegl / Marija Kanizaj

Vineyard Lackner-Tinnacher, family business since 1770

With the 2013 vintage, Katharine Tinnacher converted the estate’s vineyards to organic viticulture. In order to foster the vitality of the vines, ‘natural’ fertilisers such as grape pomace or composted greenery are applied to the vineyards exclusively. Between the rows, a variety of plants flourish: grasses and clover, marigolds, yarrow and field poppies provide a welcoming environment for beneficial organisms.

The old and deeply rooted grapevines are cultivated on six demanding, steeply-sloped vineyard sites in southern Styria that brim with potential. They are perfectly situated in terms of soil and climate. Thanks to the valuable nurturing of many generations, you can transmit the particular character of the soil – soils of plain earth, stone, fossil limestone, gravel, calcareous marl and loam – through the grapes into the wine. Here the clusters are selected and harvested by hand, the grapes gently pressed and the musts fermented in large oak casks with yeasts from the vineyard.

Südsteiermark_Katharina Tinnacher_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley Südsteiermark_Katharina Tinnacher_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley

Family Business Since 1770

The single-vineyard wines of the Lackner-Tinnacher Estate are exclusive in character: each vine yields but a single bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Morillion (Chardonnay), Weissburgunder, Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir), Gelber Muskateller or Roter Traminer – this guarantees complex wines each year, and the best possible ripening conditions for the clusters.

The modern architecture and the tasteful interior of the main winery building and the tasting room, supervised and managed by Katharina Tinnacher’s sister, is in itself worth a visit.

In addition to a wine shop, the estate offers tastings and guided tours, by appointment

Weingut LacknerTinnacher
  • Südsteiermark_Verkostungsraum_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / no  name Südsteiermark_Verkostungsraum_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / no name
  • Südsteiermark_Weinfaesser_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Lupi Spuma Südsteiermark_Weinfaesser_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Lupi Spuma
  • Südsteiermark_Steinbach_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf Südsteiermark_Steinbach_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf
  • Südsteiermark_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Lupi Spuma Südsteiermark_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Lupi Spuma
  • Südsteiermark_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley Südsteiermark_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley
  • Südsteiermark_Weinkeller_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley Südsteiermark_Weinkeller_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley
  • Südsteiermark_Weinlandschaft_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf Südsteiermark_Weinlandschaft_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf
  • Südsteiermark_Fasskeller_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / no  name Südsteiermark_Fasskeller_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / no name
  • Weingut Lackner Tinnacher im Herbst in der Südsteiermark © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Marion Luttenberger Weingut Lackner Tinnacher im Herbst in der Südsteiermark © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Marion Luttenberger
  • Weingut Lackner Tinnacher in der Südsteiermark im Herbst © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf Weingut Lackner Tinnacher in der Südsteiermark im Herbst © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf
  • Südsteiermark_Katharina Tinnacher_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley Südsteiermark_Katharina Tinnacher_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / moodley
  • Südsteiermark_Steinbach_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf Südsteiermark_Steinbach_Grauburgunder_Weingut_Lackner Tinnacher © Weingut Lackner Tinnacher / Gery Wolf

Südsteirische Weinstraße

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