Between Vienna in the east and the Wachau in the west, dense Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines dominate the scene. These wines bear the influence of warm Pannonian air blowing across the Wagram region into the Danube’s tributary valleys (the Straßertal, Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental, etc.) before it passes through the narrow Wachau valley, where the Danube has spent thousands of years carving deeply into the primary rock of the Bohemian Massif.

The characteristic aromas of wines produced near the Danube are shaped in part by the substantial temperature differences between daytime and night-time, especially during the sunny month of September when the evenings are blanketed with cool air making its way down from the north. The alluring appeal of these wines lies in the freshness of their aromas, combined with a high level of physiological ripeness of the grapes. This high level of ripeness is a result of the long growing season, which sees harvests continuing well into November. 

A picture shows vineyards alongside the danube
© Austrian Wine / Semrad

The natural climate leads to Riesling wines with peach and green apple aromas and steely minerality, as well as nutty Neuburger wines with good ageing potential, Muskateller wines with an intense grapey bouquet, fresh and delicately floral Pinot Blanc wines, and Roter Veltliner wines with piquant notes of honey. Moving eastwards from Krems, the layer of loess deepens and brings with it wines with a somewhat creamier texture alongside their freshness, which is especially evident in Grüner Veltliner. The wine-growing regions around the Danube are increasingly yielding elegant and fruity red wines as well. Distinct differences in terroir are being continuously explored and elaborated by winegrowers in this region, as they develop their portfolios with an increasing emphasis on typicity of individual vineyards.

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