You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

Spicy Grüner Veltliner and finesse-rich Riesling wines are produced in the famous single vineyard sites of Lower Austria's Krems Valley. The landscape with its cultural treasures, ancient traditions and mighty loess terraces is well worth a visit.

About 70 kilometres west of Vienna, in Lower Austria, lies the town of Krems on the Danube. It bears the same name as the river after which the Kremstal wine-growing region is named. The river rises in the Waldviertel and after a good 80 kilometres flows into the Danube together with the Kamp near Altenwörth.

The wine-growing region lies on the lower reaches of the Krems and borders the Wachau in the west, the Kamptal in the northeast and the Traisental in the south. It is divided into three parts: The city of Krems with its western hinterland, the countryside east of the city and a part south of the Danube. In total, the area covers about 2,250 hectares of vineyards.


Soil types divide the area

Climatically, the Krems Valley is characterised by the Pannonian influence from the east, which gives the vineyards hot, dry summers. Cool influences from the north, however, ensure sufficiently large differences between day and night temperatures, giving the grapes a differentiated aroma and pleasantly fresh acidity. At the same time, the vines are protected from overly cold northern winds, and in addition, the Danube has a balancing effect on the temperatures.

The soil structure is the reason for the threefold division of the area. In Krems and to the northwest of the city, primary rock weathering soils predominate, mainly based on different types of gneiss. Here, Riesling vines predominantly take root in steep terraced sites. In the eastern Kremstal, the soils consist mainly of loess - a loose sediment that can form layers over 20 metres thick. In these mighty formations grows predominantly Grüner Veltliner. South of the Danube, the soils are much more diverse: quartz, lime and loess can be found here as well as black earth, gravel and marl.

The Senftenberg ruin with the top vineyards Ehrenfels and Hochäcker


Grüner Veltliner and Riesling play the leading roles

More than 80 percent of the Kremstal vineyards are planted with white wine vines. More than half of the total vineyard area is devoted to Grüner Veltliner, and a good tenth to Riesling. In addition, white varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc as well as Traminer and Roter Veltliner are cultivated. The most important red grape variety is Zweigelt with about 13 percent of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sankt Laurent.

Only Grüner Veltliner or Riesling are permitted for wines bearing the specific protected designation of origin "Kremstal DAC" (Districtus Austriae Controllatus); all other wines bear the generic designation of origin "Niederösterreich". The latter also applies to wines from the first-mentioned varieties if they do not meet the DAC regulations.

Quality requirements for the protection of origin

The DAC status, which is linked to strict quality guidelines, has been held by the Krems Valley since the 2007 vintage. The specifications range from the harvest quantity to the analysis values to the taste profile and specify three levels (in ascending order):

  • Area wine with the designation "Kremstal DAC".
  • Local wine with the designation "Kremstal DAC" as well as a place name (e.g. Senftenberg)
  • Riedenwein (single vineyard) with the designation "Kremstal DAC" as well as a place and a location (e.g. Kremser Sandgrube).

All Kremstal DAC wines must be dry. Regional wines and local wines must have at least 12 percent alcohol by volume, single vineyard wines at least 12.5 percent by volume. The additional category "Reserve" includes wines that have at least 13 percent alcohol by volume and have matured longer in the cellar. Local designations are provided for the municipalities of Krems, Stein, Rohrendorf, Gedersdorf, Stratzing, Senftenberg, Furth, Höbenbach and Krustetten. Well-known single vineyard sites for single vineyard wines include Pfaffenberg, Kögl, Wachtberg, Sandgrube, Pellingen, Gebling, Spiegel or Steinbühel.

Art, culture and enjoyment in a beautiful wine landscape

As culinary accompaniments, the wines of the Krems Valley are extremely versatile: they combine just as well with fish, poultry or roast pork as they do with salads, mushroom dishes or spring rolls. You can taste them, for example, in one of the three regional vinotheques. The gastronomic offer of the region ranges from gourmet restaurants to traditional wine taverns, and guests can stay overnight in an exclusive hotel or in a comfortable flat directly on the winery.

Göttweig Abbey can be seen from afar and is well worth a visit.

ÖWM Egon Mark

The Krems Valley has a lot to offer tourists - for example, the Wine Route with its idyllic vineyards, picturesque wine villages and cultural and architectural sights. The area can be explored on foot or by bicycle: Impressive cellar alleys, spectacular wine terraces, romantic villages and picturesque vantage points are waiting to be discovered.

Wineries entice visitors with open cellar door days, cellar alley festivals, vineyard hikes, picnics in the vineyard or concerts. The city of Krems, which is a UN World Heritage Site, delights wine and culture enthusiasts with its local mountains Pfaffenberg and Kreuzberg as well as its historic old town and several museums on the Art Mile and beyond. Also worth seeing are the wine villages of Rohrendorf and Gedersdorf in the eastern Krems Valley and the castle ruins of Senftenberg northwest of Krems. South of the Danube lie the communities of Furth, Palt, Krustetten, Hollenburg, Oberfucha and Tiefenfucha - but above all, visible from afar on a hill, the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, founded in 1072, which looks like a magnificent castle complex and should not be missed on any visit to the Kremstal.

More on this topic

Related Magazine Articles

View All