Austria has been growing vines and producing wines for over 4,000 years, the 1985 scandal that destroyed Austrian wine exports was possibly the best thing to happen as it made the whole industry change course from producing low quality cheap wines to concentrate on top quality wines from native grape varieties.
Changes in the law made the future of Austrian wines a lot more secure.
There are several grape varieties almost unique to Austria such as the white wine Grüner Veltliner and the reds St Laurent ( a grape) and Zweigelt. Vienna is one of the only Capital cities to have a vineyard in the city boundary.
Wine regions of Austria
This region has 8 distinct areas of wine production. Probably the best known is Wachau which produces excellent dry white wines from Grüner Veltliner grapes. Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted Grape variety in Austria accounting for about 33% of the total.
This area boasts the only vineyard within the capital city walls anywhere in Europe! There are 621 ha of vineyards within the city limits, pushed to the outskirts of the city. Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc are grown on limestone soils, whereas red grapes do much better on the rich soils to the south of the city.
This are has 4 distinct regions, growing a range of wines from botrytised dessert wines to rich red wines.
There are 3 regions in Styria producing Austrian white wines mainly but with Zweigelt and St Laurent planted there are good Austrian red wines produced.