Zweigelt (Blauer Zweigelt, Rotburger)

A picture shows grapes from the grape variety Zweigelt
© AWMB / Oberleitner

Origin: Austria, LFZ Klosterneuburg

Parentage: New breed from St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch, created by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt in 1922 at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture and Horticulture (LFZ) in Klosterneuburg.

Vineyard area: 6,476 ha, 14.1 %. In order to ensure widespread growth of this variety, Lenz Moser planted it extensively and utilised his Hochkultur (high culture) training system for it. At the end of the last century, when red wine variety plantings began to increase, the Blauer Zweigelt represented the biggest share of reds in the vineyards. Between 1999 and 2009, its vineyard surface coverage increased by 48.9%.

Important ampelographic features
Leaf: Circular to pentagonal, three to five lobes
Grape cluster: medium-sized; compact; cylindrical, with wings; round, blue-black coloured grapes

Ripening time: mid-season

Importance, conditions: As the most widespread red wine variety in Austria, Zweigelt grows in favourable sites in all of the country's wine regions. The wine spectrum ranges from young-drinking, non-wood-matured versions to strong, firm wines from the barrique. The variety is also often used as a partner for cuvée wines. Big wines especially from Carnuntum and around the Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl) are vinified.The variety demands little from the soil but, because it is a very fertile grape, requires intensive leaf work and yield regulation. If there is potassium deficiency, high yield stress and a series of other stress factors (such as water and nutrient stress, waterlogging, imbalanced leaf to fruit ratio, extreme temperatures) the grapes wither during the ripening phase. Reasons for this have not yet been sufficiently explored and clarified. Wine cannot be produced from withered grapes.

Wine: The variety brings slightly violet-reddish coloured wines with soft tannins. Mature, full-bodied and long-living wines deliver tones of morello cherry. High-quality wines are matured also in barriques.