An overview of the different systems of sustainable viticulture in Austria.

For many years now, sustainability has been an important theme in matters of agriculture. And winegrowing is an extremely concentrated and highly focused form of agriculture, since it involves the careful application of substances dedicated to the protection and care of plants, along with fertilisers in widely varied forms – not to mention its use of many machines and the energy they consume, as well as requiring a great deal of water. Meeting the goals of sustainable viticulture demands that resources be conserved as much as possible, and that production must transpire with the lowest possible level of emissions. And viewing sustainable viticulture from the holistic perspective, its scope expands to include the production chain, the distribution chain and finally the consumer as well.

After the Second World War until the end of the 1970s a backlog demand for foodstuffs persisted. During this period, mechanisation underwent significant development, as did the use of new treatments designed to protect plants from disease and pests. These developments contributed to an increase in production, as well as to safeguarding the supply. Particularly in the area of fertilisers, a great accumulated need had had to be met. On the other hand, mistakes were made during this time in the excessive use of technology and chemicals, along with the accompanying ignorance concerning the effects they would have. Only gradually – in the course of a general consciousness-raising in matters of ecology – did a counter-trend develop, through the implementation of practical, environmentally compatible production methods, like:

Integrated viticulture
Organic viticulture
Biodynamic viticulture

Means of production keenly focused upon sustainability are gradually establishing themselves to a greater degree in our vineyards, even as these methods undergo continued and continual development. 15% of Austria’s total area under vines is already being cultivated organically*; with this, Austria plays a leading role on the world stage. A further 12.4% of the area under vines has been certified as sustainable, while the remaining 72.6% is predominantly being cultivated according to the precepts of integrated viticulture.**

Author: Ing. Karl Bauer, Krems

 

* Source: Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, as of July 2020
** Source: Austrian Winegrowers' Association, qualifying date: 30 May 2020

product picture of the glass

Sustainable wine glass

The glass "Sustainable Austria" already proved itself as an allrounder in restaurants as well as in hotels. The whole production process of the glass is entirely sustainable and climate-neutral. Orders can be made in the online shop of the Austrian Wine Institute.

 

Pictured is a vineyard
© AWMB / Weinkomitee Weinviertel, Robert Herbst

Integrated viticulture

This refers to a procedure, to which all economically, ecologically and toxicologically sustainable methods are applied, in order to keep the extent of damage to a minimum and beneath the economic damage threshold.
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Pictured is a vineyard.
© AWMB / Komitee Kamptal

Organic Viticulture

The most important characteristics of organic agriculture include the prohibitive use of easily soluble mineral fertilizers and herbicides; a conscious cultivation of the vineyard, to naturally promote the health and fertility of the soil, and a respect for its natural cycle.
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Pictured is a vineyard with dandelions.
© AWMB / Komitee Kamptal

Biodynamic Viticulture

The biodynamic economic wisdom of a wine estate is based on Rudolph Steiner's techniques.
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Logo "Sustainable Austria"
© Österreichischer Weinbauverband

Sustainable Austria - Certified Sustainable

For many years, sustainability has been an important topic in agriculture and is becoming an increasingly more important issue in viticulture.
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Orange & Natural Wines
© Orange & Natural Wines/Susanne Korab

Orange, natural, raw wines

Twenty years ago, the pinnacle of fashion for an Austrian winegrower was to release his or her premium red blend, aged in expensive new French oak. But times have changed – new oak is no longer regarded as being on the cutting edge.
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