Get To Know Austrian Wine: A 10-Point Crash Course

Get acquainted with Austrian wine grapes, regions and styles in no time with this quick 10-point guide. For more detail, I highly recommend Sarah Knowles MW's Austria wine guide.

Austrian Wine: Where, What and Why?


Map of Austria

1. Austria's wine regions are based along the eastern borders of the county. The largest region, Niederösterreich, is known for high-quality whites, especially that great Austrian USP grüner veltliner, and fine riesling, grown along the banks of the Danube.

2. Burgenland produces mineral-driven reds from vines are around Lake Neusiedl.

3. Steiermark (Styria) is developing a reputation for its fresh aromatic whites. Many of the best wines are unfortunately made in such small quantities that they are seldom exported.


The painting at the Jurtschitsch winery endeavours to express the grape's flavours

4. Grüner veltliner (pron GROO-ner velt-leaner) is Austria's signature grape and can produce a huge range of styles, from fresh and simple to oak-aged and sparkling. Its characteristic notes are fresh orchard fruit and white pepper. The painting (right) at the Jurtschitsch winery endeavours to express the grape's flavours - we suggest you just try a bottle, though!

5. Riesling only accounts for around 5% of production, but its quality is often sublime, and well worth exploring.

6. Scheurebe, another German variety, is responsible for some delightful wines in Steiermark which work well with spicy foods.

7. Chardonnay (aka morillon) and sauvignon blanc have their parts to play too; The Society tends to focus more on indigenous white grapes.

8. Zweigelt (pronounced SVYE-gelt) has only been in existence since the 1920s, but it makes up nearly 15% of Austria's vineyard plantings, and makes lighter reds with an appetising sour tang and spice notes.

9. Blaufränkisch (pronounced blaou-FREN-kish) is a late-ripening red grape that in top vintages can achieve great complexity and depth.

10. St Laurent produces reds similar to pinot noir, and is often used to add elegance to blends.


Try the results and see for yourself!

Where to go next?

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Members' Comments (3)

"Really interesting and useful articles. I have just started to drink GV and I like to know something about the geography and source of any wine . Enjoyed the map and the narrative."

Mr Chris Howard (15-Apr-2016)

"This is an interesting overview of Austrian wine and wine regions and full marks for that. I know that it is of relatively minor importance but you wouldn't get full marks for the phonetic pronunciation,when ordering a bottle of Grüner Veltliner and pronouncing it as your suggested Grooner. The umlaut on the u changes the sound to something like the French U,so that with the mouth pursed to as if to say O, you then say EE. Zweigelt should have a... Read more > T before the S in your phonetic rendering, which appears correctly in another part of the feature on Austria."

Mr O R Le Maistre (15-Apr-2016)

"Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on this, Mr Le Maistre. Personally I agree with your improvements. We wanted to keep this guide as simple and as understandable as possible, and may have been guilty of glossing over some nuance in this area as a result (the pronunciation of ‘zweigelt’ was a cause of some debate during the preparation of this piece!), so I’m very grateful to you for adding this useful information."

Mr Martin Brown (20-Apr-2016)

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