Due to more favourable climatic conditions most winegrowing regions are located in the eastern part of the country, with a few smaller ones scattered all over the rest of Austria as well.
The key larger generic winegrowing regions are Niederösterreich (27,074 ha), Burgenland (11,772 ha) and Steiermark (5,086 ha), which together contain 18 specific winegrowing regions (including Wien).
Niederösterreich (Lower Austria)Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) is Austria’s largest winegrowing region for Qualitätswein, with a huge variety of wine cultures prevalent. There are eight specific winegrowing regions located in Niederösterreich (such as Wachau in the west and Carnuntum to the east), which can be roughly divided into three climate zones:
1. The Weinviertel
Located in the north, the flagship DAC wine here is an aromatic, peppery & refreshing Grüner Veltliner. However, they now have a diverse range of varietals, including refreshing white wines, fruity reds and even a selection of sweet wines, which are labelled with Niederösterreich as their designation of origin.
2. The Danube River Region
West of Vienna, we have a collection of wine villages dotted along the Danude, with its side valleys (Traisen, Kamp and Krems). Here, Riesling has established itself as a flagship variety alongside Grüner Veltliner. These two varieties express their typical regional characteristics under the designations Wachau DAC, Kremstal DAC , Kamptal DAC, Traisental DAC and Wagram DAC.
3. Pannonian Niederösterreich
Located to the southeast of Vienna, this is home to some of Austria’s most outstanding red wines, with Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch in Carnuntum forming the basis for this region’s distinctive DAC wines. Regionally typical white wines are produced here too, centred on Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Grüner Veltliner.
The OTW Quality Stamp
A few DAC regions in Niederösterreich actually have a further quality stamp at the top of the Pyramid (Riedenwein) – currently these are Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental and Carnuntum, with Wagram & Wien being under discussion. This has been based on the conditions in the vineyard sites and have been labelled ÖTW Erste Lage (1 ÖTW) & Grosse Lage (G ÖTW).
Wines with these labels really will display outstanding quality. See what we have to offer here.
Burgenland, the easternmost of Austria’s federal states, is influenced by the hot, continental Pannonian climate and produces the most opulent and authoritative red wines in Austria, along with complex whites and extraordinarily fine sweet wines. In terms of natural conditions, the regional particularities of Burgenland should not be underestimated.
The heavy loam soils of Mittelburgenland and the Rosalia region impart a particular depth of fruit and length on the palate to their reds, while the hilly areas of Lake Neusiedl display distinct mineral notes and perceptible tannins.
With its limestone and slate soils, the Leitha Range provide a unique terroir for complex white wines as well as for Blaufränkisch-dominant reds.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the wine industry in Burgenland has been the pioneering approach of the winegrowers, which has also enabled wines produced from international varieties (such a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) as well as powerful red cuvée blends, to achieve the highest level of recognition in recent years.
Renowned for their fresh, structured and elegant white wines, there are now three wine-growing regions with DAC status: Südsteiermark DAC, Vulkanland Steiermark DAC, and Weststeiermark DAC.
The most planted Styrian grape is Welschriesling, with Sauvignon Blanc and Muskateller also being dominant in South Styria. Across the region, there is a notable fullness to the wines made from the Pinot family. Chardonnay (also known here as Morillon) can produce remarkably dense, full-bodied wines which, despite their freshness, also improve with age. Schilcher (a piquant rose) is the flagship of the West, while Vulkanland is known for its unique Traminer (as well as other whites).
Styrian winegrowers are increasingly insisting on a slower and more meticulous élevage so that the true Steiermark quality is recognised as an international benchmark. Therefore, here we see an additional layer of specifications around release dates and max. residual sugar with the three categories (Gebietswein, Ortswein & Riedenwein). In addition, Styrian wines given more time to mature can also be labelled as “Reserve”.
Styria’s best vineyard sites...Twelve wineries in Südsteiermark and Vulkanland Steiermark have joined together to create a further classification of the best vineyard sites at the top of the pyramid (Riedenwein). Yields are limited and wines must have the potential for ageing.
Erste STK Ried (STK Premier Cru) These single-vineyard wines are made from late-harvest grapes from outstanding STK Rieds and vines must be at least twelve years old.
Grosse STK Ried (STK Grand Cru) These are exquisite single-vineyard wines from the most exceptional STK Rieds. Deemed to have extraordinary terroir and harvested late, vines must be at least 15 years old.