Austrian grape varieties
There are currently more than 30 varieties in Austria. Each of them has its own story which we would like to tell you. Learn more about the characteristics of Grüner Veltliner, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent.
Grüner Veltliner 32.6% of all grape varieties in Austria
Peppery spice, fruity, usually dry. With a share of about a third of Austria’s total viticultural area, the Grüner Veltliner is the most important variety grown in Austria. The quality spectrum of the Grüner Veltliner is wide, extending from light, effervescent wines that are best drunk young – like “Heuriger” – to Spätlese wines, which are rich in extracts and alcohol and thus age particularly well.
Zweigelt 12.4 % of all grape varieties in Austria
Cherry fruit, attractive, velvety. This variety was named after the Austrian plant-breeder Prof. Fritz Zweigelt, who created this successful cross of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. As a new wine, the Zweigelt has a pronounced fruity bouquet that becomes rounder and finer with ageing. It ranges in quality from a light table wine, to be enjoyed in its youth, to powerful wines for ageing. The sturdy Zweigelt vine produces good results in all of the domestic red-wine areas and is thus considered Austria’s great red-wine prospect.
Blaufränkisch 6.4 % of all grape varieties in Austria
Dark berry notes, astringent spicy, medium tannin levels. The name Blaufränkisch (literally “blue Franconian”) probably dates to the time of Charlemagne, when all high-qualities varieties were classified as “Franconian” (fränkisch), while those of lesser values were called “Hunnic” (heunisch) and eliminated. In its youth, this Austrian speciality is an impetuous, deeply fruity red wine, which with ageing becomes more velvety and supple, gaining additional facets.
St. Laurent 1.5 % of all grape varieties in Austria
Fine, unmistakable aromas of amarelle cherries and dark berries distinguish this indigenous Austrian red-wine variety. Because of several unpleasant qualities, such as its susceptibility to blossom drop and Botrytis, this grape variety is rightfully considered to be difficult and has fallen into disfavour in recent years. Particularly in dry years, this grape produces very noble and supple wines in the wine-growing areas of northern Burgenland and in the Thermenregion. To a certain extent, it resembles a more powerful variant of the Pinot Noir and thus is undergoing a renaissance at the moment. With its delicate tannins, the St. Laurent can give red-wine blends added flair.