Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner)

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Müller-Thurgau
© AWMB / Oberleitner

Origin: Germany, Geisenheim Research Center

Parentage: New breed - from Riesling x Chasselas de Courtillier (=Madeleine Royale).

This variety was bred in 1882 in Geisenheim by the Swiss botanist, Hermann Müller, from the canton of Thurgau. For a long time, it was believed that Riesling and Sylvaner were the parent varieties, but eventually, genetic research provided clarity. Müller Thurgau is the oldest successful new breed spread throughout the world. The synonyms Rivaner and Riesling-Sylvaner point to the original, but incorrect, parentage information, and now the name Riesling-Sylvaner is prohibited as it is misleading.

Vineyard area: 1,788 ha, 3.8 %

This variety grows in all Austrian wine-growing regions. But between 1999 and 2009, its growth declined by 36.1%, as did its significance.

Important ampelographic features
Leaf: medium-sized, vesicular, circular, with five lobes, deeply lobed with twisted middle lobe
Grape cluster: medium to large; medium density; cylindrical with oval greenish-yellow berries. The fruit has a slight muscat flavour

Ripening time: early

Significance, conditions: The variety ripens very early and is therefore offered in the form of must, “Sturm” (partially fermented) and “En primeur” wine. In blends with other white varieties, Müller Thurgau is used for popular young wines, which should be drunk fresh. At the other end of the ripeness spectrum, Prädikat wines are produced – wines whose development potential are often underestimated. This variety needs deep soils with good water retention. It is very susceptible to peronospora, oidium, berry- and  stem rot, Roter Brenner (Pseudopezicula tracheiphila ) and phomopsis. Compared to other varieties, more plant protection is necessary.  

Wines: The variety brings early maturing, mild wines with a slight muscat taste. When the acidity is on the low side, the wines age quickly. Prädikat wines can reach a very high quality potential.