The picture shows a vineyard in the Eisenberg Region
© Austrian Wine / Lehmann


Most of the vineyards are located on unconsolidated, mostly silty but also sandy or gravel, young lake and river deposits of the Styrian Basin, that extend toward the east into the Pannonian Basin. They are not only extremely variable in grain size, but also in the carbonate content of the limestone and dolomite components.

In the northern and central parts of the wine region, on the southern slopes of the Güns Mountains and in the areas of Hannersdorf, Königsberg, Eisenberg and Csater Berg the vines are rooted upon diverse consolidated rocks of Mesozoic and Palaeozoic age. These include calcareous phyllite, greenschist and serpentinite of the geological unit of the Alps referred to as the Penninic Superunit. Similar rocks, such as those found at Rechnitz and Eisenberg, also form Austria's highest peak, Mount Großglockner. Freshwater opals are another remarkable feature that can be found in the vineyards at Csater Berg. The vines at Hannersberg and at Königsberg are rooted in soils derived from consolidated rocks such as dolomite, limestone and shale, which are older than the Penninic Superunit, and belong to the Austroalpine Superunit of the Alps.

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The picture shows the Leithaberg Landscape
© Austrian Wine / Forstner


The oldest rocks are the acidic schist and gneiss of the Austroalpine Superunit that form the central part of the Leitha Mountains and support the highest lying vineyards between Breitenbrunn and Donnerskirchen as well as individual vineyards at Eisenstadt and Oslip. However, the most striking rock of the area is the Leitha Limestone. It developed in the quiet shallow water of a warm sea that surrounded the Leitha mountain range approximately 16 - 11 million years ago where small reefs were able to grow. The Leitha Limestone is a consolidated, light-coloured algal limestone and is rich in remains of sea creatures such as mussels, gastropods and sharks. In contrast, slightly older, quartz-rich, sandy gravels occur on the Rust Ridge. Separated by a tectonic displacement from the Leitha Limestone, two very different parent rocks of the vineyard soils are found here directly next to each other: on one hand, acidic and on the other hand calcareous.

In the topographically lower levels the vineyards are located on unconsolidated, mostly calcareous silts, sands and gravels of the Pannonian Basin and on loam, lacustrine clay and alluvial gravel deposits. The deposits of the area of Pöttelsdorf form part of the Vienna Basin and are mostly fine-grained and locally covered by loam.

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The picture shows a vineyard in Mittelburgenland
© Austrian Wine / Philipp Forstner


On the southern slopes of the Ödenburg Mountains, the vines are sited on the consolidated rocks of the Austroalpine Superunit, on acidic schists, paragneiss and coarse gneiss. Towards the basin follows a nappe formed of coarse, crystalline gravels, which in turn is overlain by unconsolidated, partially weakly consolidated quartz-rich sands. These sediments already belong to the marine development of the inner alpine basins at the eastern margin of the Alps, which began about 16 million years ago. At the same time Leitha Limestone developed in the areas of Neckenmarket and Ritzing. Within the basin, the sediments became ever more fine-grained towards the south-east, to silty-clayey grades and up to almost pure clay deposits that are known only from the Central Burgenland wine region. These fine sediments show a highly variable carbonate content, they can also be carbonate-free, and bear local enrichments of iron in the form of clay ironstone and limonite nodules. Gravel layers occur within these sediments, but also occur as a cover in the form of strips of Pleistocene terrace remnants.

In the easternmost part of the wine growing area layers of loess and loam dust are predominant, which in turn partly overlay either terrace gravels or fine-grained sediments of Lake Pannon.

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The picture shows vineyards in the Neusiedlersee region
© Austrian Wine / Anna Stöcher


The winegrowing region of Neusiedlersee is characterized by the nearly flat gravel plains of Seewinkel and the Parndorfer Plateau. The  Parndorfer  Plateau  is  formed  from  several  levels  of  Pleistocene in age valley floors of the Danube that deepen and young to the  southeast.  The  gravels  are  silty-sandy,  quartz-rich,  bear  little  carbonate (limestone, dolomite) and are always overlain by loam. The basement of the gravel consists of fine-grained, partly calcareous-dolomitic, silty-clayey, sometimes sandy sediments from Lake Pannon. These vineyards are sited on northwest to southeast facing slopes from the plateau to the lake. The Seewinkel gravels are also  quartz-rich,  but  have  a  significant  proportion  of  carbonates  (limestone, dolomite), are only slightly weathered and are only locally overlain by fine-grained, mostly calcareous sediments.

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The picture shows a vineyard in the Rosalia Region
© seymann


The southwestern part of the area is composed of crystalline rock, along with younger Neogene sediments of the Vienna Basin that arise to the northeast. The progression begins with coarse blockwork in sandy-loamy binder, covered by argilacious-silty, secondary gravelly sands. The vineyards south and west of Mattersburg near Draßburg are planted in these sands. The deep-soil sites of Walbersdorf, from Marzer Kogel and almost to Schattendorf are also characterised by these deposits from the priomordial ocean that flowed around the edge of the Rosaliengebirge some 16–12 million years ago. Toward the north and northeast, this connects with a strip of slightly younger but once more predominantly sandy deposits, underlying geologically younger sandy sediments deposited by the ancient Pannonian Sea, in the vineyards of Pöttelsdorf, Sigleß, Bad Sauerbrunn and those north of Antau. Gravel-dominated vineyard soils are rare but can be found near Neudörfl and Baumgarten.

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