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With its mighty loess soils, the Wagram offers the best conditions for Veltliner - especially, but not only, for the green variety. The protected designation of origin Wagram DAC has been in effect since the 2021 vintage. Anja Hanke introduces the area and its characteristics.

Northwest of the gates of Vienna in Lower Austria lies the uniquely modelled landscape of the Wagram, which until 2007 still bore the name Donauland. The original name suggests it directly: The Danube, on whose banks the small but noteworthy wine-growing region stretches over a length of about 30 kilometres, sets the tone in the gently hilly landscape - and the river certainly comes into play in today's name as well: after all, Wagram is composed of the two Old High German words "wac" for moving water, river and "rain" for meadow, slope.

It is the special combination of the two natural location factors, the Danube and the up to 40-metre high, imposing and undulating mountain range, that lays the foundation for viticulture in the region. Divided into two distinct zones - north of the Danube and east of the Kamptal - the Wagram with its mighty terrain of ice-age loess and the terraced slopes where the vineyards are located offers ideal conditions for the cultivation of wine. Especially Austria's parade variety, the Grüner Veltliner, appreciates this.

Terraced vineyards on loess soil characterise viticulture on the Wagram

OeWM Herbert Lehmann

Marked by history

The Wagram is part of an impressive journey through time: As early as 20 million years ago, the foundation stone for the area's present-day conditions was laid. For the rock that dominates here - loess - formed from deposits carried here by the wind over the many millennia. It encloses the subsoil of silty-clayey marine sediments of the molasse zone and glacial terrace gravel. In the northern, higher-lying vineyards, these meet the sandy-gravelly soils of the so-called Hollabrunn-Mistelbach Formation. These geological conditions together give the Wagram its characteristic fertile, easily warmed and at the same time well-drained soil structure, which promotes root growth and optimally feeds the vines of the approximately 2,500 hectare cultivation area.

White grape varieties set the tone

As part of the Danube valley, surrounded by the foothills of the Alps in the west and those of the Vienna Woods in the east, the Wagram is also optimally protected from strong winds. The Danube - the steady flowing engine of the region - also acts as a reliable heat reservoir that supports the continental climate. The prevailing microclimate allows for a multifaceted range of vines and high-quality grapes. The triumvirate of Grüner Veltliner, which is cultivated here to over 54 percent, Roter Veltliner (cultivated area 4.1 percent) and Riesling (5.5 percent) clearly dominates the range of varieties. But grape varieties such as Gelber Muskateller, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, St. Laurent, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt, which together account for almost 16 percent of the vineyard area, are also cultivated by the self-confident winegrowers of the total of 250 wineries in the Wagram.

Clear guidelines for the protection of origin

This awareness has also led to a new milestone ennobling the wines of the Wagram since 2021. Since this vintage, wines typical of the region may be labelled with the protected designation of origin "Wagram DAC". The specifications for this range from cultivation and vinification methods to the taste profile and are declared in a three-level quality pyramid:

  • Regional wine with the designation "Wagram DAC".
  • Local wine with the designation "Wagram DAC" as well as the corresponding place name (e.g. Feuersbrunn)
  • Riedenwein with the designation "Wagram DAC" as well as an indication of the location and site (e.g. Stettenhofer Bassgeige).

The regional wines may be produced from 13 defined grape varieties. The indication of a local wine designation on the label, on the other hand, is only permitted for seven important red and white single-varietal grape varieties of the region. At the top of the quality pyramid are the single vineyard wines, which also refer to the single vineyard (Riede) of their origin on the label. These, too, must be single-vineyard wines and focus on the three top grape varieties that achieve top quality here: The flagship Grüner Veltliner, which matures on the Wagram into hearty, spicy wines with substance; the racy Riesling, which comes up with intense fruit and a well-founded acid structure, as well as the autochthonous rarity Roter Veltliner, which produces elegant, superior white wines. These wines are particularly pleasing to connoisseurs, because they not only show the potential of the individual grape varieties at their best - they are usually also particularly good for storage.

The monastery at Klosterneuburg is home to Austria's oldest winery.


What all three quality levels have in common is that they must be vinified dry. In addition, the white wines must not show any ostensible woody tones. Site designations are provided for the communities of Absdorf, Fels, Gösing, Thürntal, Feuersbrunn, Wagram am Wagram, Großriedenthal, Ottenthal, Neudegg, Ameisthal, Baumgarten, Großweikersdorf, Großwiesendorf, Ruppersthal, Tiefenthal, Zaussenberg, Engelmannsbrunn, Kirchberg, Mitterstockstall, Oberstockstall, Unterstockstall, Königsbrunn, Hippersdorf, Eggendorf, Starnwörth, Stetteldorf and Klosterneuburg. 115 single vineyard sites stand for the single vineyard wines, including well-known names such as Mordthal, Brunnthal, Hammergraben and Schlossberg.

Apart from these dry, classified ambassadors of the region, the ice wines from Großriedenthal are considered a speciality, with which the vinophilic versatility and excellence of the Wagram becomes clear.

Where wine lives, pleasure is close at hand

The small wine villages of the Tullnerfeld are just as captivating as the historic wine town Klosterneuburg with its famous Augustinian Canons' Monastery, whereby the region can also be explored wonderfully on foot or by bicycle. For an enjoyable stop, there are cosy, traditional wine taverns and excellent restaurants serving the wines of the Wagram. There is also plenty on offer culturally: In addition to many museums and churches, two excursion destinations are particularly worth seeing: Juliusburg Castle, built in 1588 by the eponymous Count Julius II zu Hardegg on the highest point of the Wagram, and the Tulln Garden, Europe's first ecological garden show with 70 show gardens and a treetop path. Many wine festivals and also the big city air of Vienna, which tempts you to make a detour to the capital, round off the attractions of the area.

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