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With 640 hectares of vineyards, Western Styria is the smallest wine-growing region in Styria. This is where Schilcher is at home: The refreshing, berry-fruity rosé wine characterises the region - and is the focus of culinary and tourist attention.

Western Styria is the smallest wine-growing region in Styria and covers only 640 hectares of vineyards. At an altitude of 420 to 600 metres, the vineyards extend in a narrow, long band along the foothills of the Koralpe and the Reinisch-Kogel to the Slovenian border.

From Ligist in the north via St. Stefan ob Stainz to Deutschlandsberg and Eibiswald in the south, steep slopes and deep valleys characterise the landscape. The topography is particularly favourable for viticulture: the so-called Illyrian climate with southern European-Mediterranean influences ensures hot summers with relatively high precipitation and mild winters. This means that the grapes have enough warmth and water during the ripening phase, and the wind from the mountains dries them quickly after rainfall so that they remain healthy. At the same time, the vines are protected from excessively harsh gusts. The soils in Western Styria consist mainly of crystalline solid rocks such as old gneisses and mica schists. This creates a unique terroir that produces fresh, fruity wines.

Western Styria DAC


The protected designation of origin Weststeiermark DAC ("Districtus Austriae Controllatus") guarantees that the wines of the area meet precisely defined quality standards and are produced according to specific rules. It was introduced in 2018.

The main grape varieties for growths with the Weststeiermark DAC designation are the native Blaue Wildbacher - which is processed into the rosé speciality Schilcher - as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Weißburgunder, Welschriesling, Morillon (Chardonnay), Grauburgunder, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller and Traminer. Cuvées may also be produced from white grape varieties.

As a regionally typical rosé wine, Schilcher is the main protagonist of Western Styria. It is characterised by a refreshing, animating acidity as well as aromas of red berries and has gained a large following through continuous quality improvements over the past two decades. There are also rare red variants as well as sparkling and sweet wines from the Blauer Wildbacher variety.

The Weststeiermark DAC wines must be dry, i.e. as a rule they may not have more than 4 g/l residual sugar. They can be marketed as regional wine (with DAC indication) as well as local wine (with indication of location) or as Riedenwein (with indication of Rieden, i.e. location). Wines with the additional designation Reserve are aged in the cellar for at least 18 months (the Schilcher twelve months) longer before they are allowed to be sold. Wines that do not meet the DAC requirements bear the generic designation of origin Styria.

Local wine regions with the two leading grape varieties Blauer Wildbacher (for rosé wine) and Sauvignon Blanc (for white wine) are the municipalities of Ligist, Stainz, Deutschlandsberg and Eibiswald.

Schilcher Tastes with local and oriental cuisine

Regional wines to go with regional cuisine: This also applies to Western Styria. For example, Schilcher and the white wines typical of the region accompany the traditional Styrian Brettljause, a snack with ham, bacon, cheese and spread. The Schilcher is also an excellent accompaniment to fried chicken - chicken that has been removed from the meat, breaded and baked (deep-fried).

But Schilcher can also be combined with dishes from other cultures, such as Indian rice dishes with lamb, oriental spices or Far Eastern specialities like sushi.

Castles, flowers and wine taverns

The landmark of Stainz is the castle

OEWM / Anna Stoecher

Thanks to the Schilcher tradition, Western Styria is considered the most important rosé wine region in Central Europe. And the Schilcher Wine Route is an excellent way to explore it.

It runs through the entire region from north to south and begins in the municipality of Ligist, which has already been named the most beautiful flower market in Styria several times. From there, the route leads via Gundersdorf and St. Stefan ob Stainz to Langegg and Greisdorf and on to the Archduke Johann market town of Stainz. Worth seeing here, for example, is the former Augustinian canons' monastery on the Schlossberg, where the brother of Austrian Emperor Franz I resided as mayor in the mid-19th century.

After Stainz, further attractive stops follow on the wine route in a southerly direction: Deutschlandsberg with its castle, then Aichegg, Bad Schwanberg, Wies and finally Eibiswald. Along the route, travellers can expect incomparable vantage points with views of the gently rolling wine landscape as well as a great variety of gastronomy: from wineries and Buschenschanken - wine taverns with in-house wines and typical regional dishes - to traditional inns and top restaurants.

Hike, cycle, relax and enjoy

Deutschlandsberg Castle is also a wine tourism destination


Western Styria can be excellently explored on foot or by bicycle. In the south alone, near the Slovenian border, wine, alpine pasture and literary hiking trails as well as cycling and mountain bike routes await curious, active and pleasure-loving visitors.

The Kirchen-Linden trail in St. Lorenzen, for example, promises a "borderless" hiking experience between the two neighbouring countries, while the Koralm-Kristall trail, the Grenzpanoramaweg or the Mariazellerweg invite you to take challenging tours. A total of 20 themed hiking trails are available to get to know the south of the Schilcherland.

Borderless" tours between Eibiswald on the Austrian side and Radlje on the Slovenian side are also possible by bike: visitors can choose from 18 panorama tours starting in Eibiswald and 20 other tours starting in Radlje-Podvelka. They all combine movement, landscape, culture and culinary delights. On the other hand, the "Genussradel" tours with the e-bike are more leisurely.

Many traditional festivals from spring to autumn provide convivial experiences. They celebrate wine and pumpkin, for example - because the famous Styrian pumpkin seed oil also enjoys protection of origin.

And also in winter, the landscape of western Styria attracts tourists: Skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoe hiking, ice skating or curling. Then it's off to the cosy inns and excellent restaurants to enjoy regional wines and delicacies.

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