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Viticulture in southern Styria is literally outstanding, with altitudes of up to 700 metres. Characterised by steep slopes in a picturesque hilly landscape, there is great diversity here. For Sauvignon Blanc the region is one of the best and most important in the world.

Sauvignon Blanc accounts for around one fifth of the almost 2,800 hectares of vineyards in southern Styria. As the name rightly suggests, this largest wine-growing region in Styria is located in the south of the Austrian province on the border with Slovenia.

The picturesque, wildly romantic landscape is characterised by hills. The highest sites are in the Sausal - the name of the low mountain range between the rivers Sulm and Laßnitz; its highest elevation is the Demmerkogel at 671 metres. Many of the vines are on extremely steep slopes - three quarters of the vineyards have a slope of more than 26 percent. They can only be worked manually and the grapes harvested exclusively by hand.


Character growths thanks to Mediterranean climate and soil diversity

The mild, so-called Illyrian climate of southern Styria is influenced by the Mediterranean: warm summer and autumn days are followed by cool nights, so that the grapes can fully ripen during the long vegetation period and at the same time develop enough acidity. This guarantees aromatic, fresh and finesse-rich white wines.

The soil structure in southern Styria ranges from sand, marl and limestone in the sites near the Slovenian border to slate in the Sausal. For the most part, the vines are rooted in coarse-grained gravel soils deposited by rivers, which are partly consolidated into conglomerates.

Besides the regional "king of grape varieties" Sauvignon Blanc, the most important white grapes are Welschriesling, Weißburgunder, Gelber Muskateller and Morillon (the Styrian Chardonnay) as well as Grauburgunder, Riesling and Traminer. Red grapes grow in only about 13 percent of the South Styrian vineyards, mainly Zweigelt.

The well-known Ried Zieregg is partly located in Slovenia.


Great wines from great sites

The Sauvignon Blancs of southern Styria are among the highest-quality representatives of the variety worldwide. Their aroma spectrum ranges from elderflowers, nettles and peppers to grapefruit and passion fruit to gooseberries, blackcurrants and herbs. In addition to this richness of facets, the best wines are characterised by depth, complexity, minerality and longevity.

The most important wine-growing villages in southern Styria are Gamlitz, Ratsch, Berghausen, Spielfeld and Leutschach, as well as Sankt Nikolai and Kitzeck, the highest wine-growing community in Europe. The best-known and best vineyards (single vineyards) in the area include Czamillonberg, Grassnitzberg, Kittenberg, Nussberg, Obegg, Sernauberg, Kranachberg and Zieregg.

Morillon (Chardonnay) is mainly found in the vineyards around Ehrenhausen, Gelber Muskateller mainly in the areas around Eichberg, Leutschach and Gamlitz. Kitzeck is a stronghold of Riesling, which thrives here in some of the steepest and highest vineyards.

DAC wines with several levels

Since 2018, the protected designation of origin Südsteiermark DAC - DAC stands for "Districtus Austriae Controllatus" - has stood for particularly regionally typical growths that must meet strict quality regulations. The grape varieties Welschriesling, Pinot Blanc, Morillon, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gelber Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer and cuvées thereof are permitted. All grapes for DAC wines must be harvested by hand.

According to the narrowness of their origin, there are three quality levels for Gewächse with DAC status (named in ascending order below):

With the exception of Riesling and Traminer, all wines may have a maximum residual sugar content of four grams per litre. The additional designation Reserve is reserved for DAC wines that have matured in the cellar for at least 18 months longer than prescribed for their respective quality level. Wines that do not meet the DAC specifications bear the generic designation of origin Styria.

The Lubekogel is a popular excursion destination


The region of pleasure invites to the table

The wines of southern Styria naturally go very well with regional dishes: The palette ranges from salads, Geselchtem (cured, smoked and boiled, cold-cut pork) and Verhackert (spread of smoked bacon) to Backhendl (breaded and deep-fried roasted chicken parts), Wurzelkarpfen mit Kren (carp with root vegetables and horseradish), classic roast pork and Sulmtal roast chicken.

The characterful DAC local and single vineyards wines can also be found on the wine lists of many top restaurants around the world and are also excellent accompaniments to nouvelle cuisine and culinary creations with fish, vegetables or even dark meat.

Indulgence plays an essential role in Southern Styria - not least in view of the regional core oil, ham and cheese specialities. Wine cellars, vinotheques, Buschenschanken (where the region's own wine is served), inns and highly decorated restaurants invite visitors to the area to stop in. In addition, wine tastings, enjoyable excursion destinations and wine festivals - or a picnic in the midst of the vines!

Experience nature and culture on two legs or wheels

Vineyards, orchards, forests and flower fields alternate along the South Styrian Wine Route, which leads from Ehrenhausen and Straß via Berghausen, Spielfeld, Ratsch and Sulztal to Leutschach. For a few kilometres it also forms the national border with Slovenia. Equally impressive is the Sausal Wine Road, which begins in Leibnitz and on whose path lie both Kitzeck and the Demmerkogel.

Over 2,300 kilometres of hiking trails, five of which are designed for long hikes, as well as more than 380 suggestions for hiking tours await holiday guests in Southern Styria. The idyllic landscape enchants with charming alpine pastures, hilly vineyards and a wide view of the tranquil surrounding countryside. For example, the tour "From Glacier to Wine" leads through the Südsteiermark Nature Park in 25 stages. Own enjoyment hikes, mainly circular tours, offer numerous sights and refreshment stops along the routes. Pilgrimage and animal walks bring nature close in a special way.

Southern Styria can also be explored by bike in a way that is both sporty and enjoyable. Mountain bike tours, bike parks and pump tracks promise exercise and fun; more leisurely is the pleasure of cycling or using e-bikes. Always in view: the beautiful landscape, culinary and cultural stops - and a good glass of wine at the end of the tour.

There is a wide range of art and culture on offer anyway. Palaces and castles, museums, galleries and exhibitions as well as music, literature and theatre events provide varied attractions, where the South Styrian wine is always part of the party.

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