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Weinviertel means diversity - in terms of terroirs and grape varieties. But the dedication and protection of origin in this large Lower Austrian region is focussed on Grüner Veltliner. Discover the wine landscape between the Danube, the Czech Republic and Slovakia!

Bordered by the four wine-growing regions of Kamptal, Wagram, Vienna and Carnuntum in the west and south, as well as the Czech Republic in the far north and Slovakia in the east, the Weinviertel stretches over a wide area and is also home to the largest vineyard area in Austria. Almost 1,470 wineries cultivate their grapes here on around 14,000 hectares and their flavourful wines not only show how good the conditions are for winegrowing here - but above all that not all Weinviertel regions are the same. Thanks to the climatic and geological differences, versatility is one of the characteristics of the region. However, one variety is far ahead of the rest: Grüner Veltliner, which thrives on the predominant loess soils and shows its potential - depending on the terroir - in a changeable and at the same time unique way: with a fine spicy note, the typical "Pfefferl".

Variety of terroirs and grape varieties


The Weinviertel represents a geological link in Central Europe, as it lies at the transition between the Alps and the Carpathians. In addition to loess - the cold-age sedimentary rock - there is also clay, marl, granite, sand, silt and limestone, which form the subsoil depending on the area and location. Added to this is the Weinviertel's "cool climate" with its significant temperature differences. It is characterised by warm and dry summers and cold winters with little snow. Cooling winds from the north meet the influences of the Pannonian climate from the east. These favourable conditions have allowed many grape varieties to grow here.

To take a closer look at this spectrum, the Weinviertel can be divided into three sub-regions. In the west, there are islands of red wine in the Pulka Valley around the villages of Haugsdorf and Jetzelsdorf, as well as in the extensive Kessel area around Mailberg. Zweigelt - the second strongest grape variety in the Weinviertel - and Blauer Portugieser shine here. Concentrated, full-bodied red wines are also produced in Retzer Land, where the sunshine duration is the longest in all of Austria and the summers are very hot, long and dry. But white wine lovers will also find what they are looking for in the western Weinviertel, as the granite around Röschitz brings its own finesse to the Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines.

The cellar lane in Wildendürnbach is just one of many in the Weinviertel region


Every variety can shine

In the north-eastern part of the Weinviertel, near Poysdorf, lies the region's most important Burgundy variety zone. Spicy Grüner Veltliners, fresh Welschrieslings - most of which are used for sparkling wine production - as well as full-bodied Chardonnays and Pinot Blancs also ripen here. North of Poysdorf, around the villages of Schrattenberg and Herrnbaumgarten, there is another important red wine island. Towards Moravia in the north, the limestone cliffs of Staatz and Falkenstein rise up and form an excellent base for mineral wines with pronounced fruit.

If you move further south-east, however, the influence of the Pannonian climate at the transition to the Marchfeld is clearly evident. The symbiosis with the microclimate created by the river of the same name, the March, provides the best conditions for Rieslings, Roter Veltliner, Pinot varieties, as well as aromatic varieties such as Traminer.

Protection of origin for Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is a variety that can be found in all regions, wine villages and soil types. In fact, every third Grüner Veltliner vine in the world grows in the Weinviertel. In the region itself, it alone occupies half of the vineyard area, and if you look at Austria as a whole, its almost 7,000 hectares of vineyards in the Weinviertel also make up half of the entire Austrian vine population.

This dominance and its multifaceted expression gave the region's winegrowers an idea: they realised back in the early 2000s that their Grüner Veltliners were a benchmark. They also realised that origin on the label of a bottle is an important quality feature in the world. They therefore became pioneers: Since 2002, they have been shaping consumer awareness by focussing on their flagship grape variety with the protected designation of origin Weinviertel DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus). In doing so, the Weinviertel team defined Austria's first wine designation of origin. Seven years later, in 2009, the Weinviertel DAC Reserve designation strengthened the Veltliner classification, followed by Weinviertel DAC Große Reserve in 2020.

Pioneers of the DAC system

It goes without saying that 100 per cent of the grapes for all three typical regional varieties must come from the Weinviertel. This is one of the criteria on which the DAC status is based. The wines are awarded their status on the basis of these criteria and after a blind tasting by an independent wine commission:

Retz with its extensive cellars is the centre of the western Weinviertel region

OEWM Herbert Lehmann
  • Weinviertel DAC:
    Grüner Veltliner may be submitted for tasting from 1 January of the following year after the harvest. It must have a minimum alcohol content of 12% and a maximum residual sugar content of 6 g/litre. It must not have any wood or botrytis notes. The wine must show the typical varietal colour nuances from light yellow to yellow-green as well as the typical varietal aroma and taste (fruity, spicy, peppery).
  • Weinviertel DAC Reserve:
    The wine may be submitted for tasting from 15 March of the following year after the harvest, must have a minimum alcohol content of 13% and be vinified dry. It may have delicate wood or botrytis tones. The reserve wines are spicy and full-bodied.
  • Weinviertel DAC Große Reserve:
    The same requirements apply to Große Reserven as to Reserve wines. However, they may only be submitted for tasting from 1 November of the following year after the harvest.

Versatility in wine tourism

The Weinviertel also has a lot to offer its visitors in terms of tourism and cuisine. The green, wide and sunny plains and hills invite you to hike, cycle and linger. Historically and culturally, the museum village of Niedersulz, Hof Castle east of Vienna and the old windmills in Retzer Land are well worth a visit. Special attention should be paid to the former press houses - the cellar lanes, which are among the most beautiful in the country. Today, the grapes are usually pressed in the wineries themselves, but in many places the cellar lanes are maintained and filled with new life, often with events and gastronomic offerings. Many a wine tavern is also located within the historic walls: there are many traditional taverns in the Weinviertel that are open for a limited time and charmingly combine typical enjoyment with the kaleidoscope of regional wines.

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