Merlot is the product of a Cabernet crossing, and like Cabernet Sauvignon, is becoming increasingly favoured in the red wine scene in Austria. Merlot officially became an approved Quality wine variety in 1986.

probably Bordeaux, France

Natural crossing of Caberbet Franc and an unknown variety

809.90 ha; 1.8%

Red wine grape variety

Vineyard area

Merlot has been authorised as an Austrian Qualitätswein variety since 1986 and is grown in all wine-growing regions in Austria. The premium wines produced from this variety come from France – such as the right-bank Bordeaux appellations St. Émilion and Pomerol.

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Merlot.

Important ampelographic features

© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Important ampelographic features


cone-shaped, seven lobes, slightly open petiole with U-shaped base

Grape cluster

elongated, loose to medium density, cone-shaped, with secondary clusters; berries are small, round, and bluish black in colour



very early
early to middle
middle to late
very late

Significance & conditions

Merlot wines are more mellow than their Cabernet Sauvignon peers and contain less tannin and acidity. This variety is often used in cuvée blends or for monovarietal wines. It needs good soils, is easily damaged by late frosts and is prone to coulure when the weather is cool during the flowering phase. Yields are inconsistent and the volume of fruit needs restricting.

Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)

Click on the wine origin in the list for a breakdown into more specific regions of origin.

Total area in Austria:

The Leithaberg and Neusiedlersee wine-growing regions overlap by almost 160 ha (Rieds Hausberg and Neuberg), according to the Austrian Wine Law. This means that the listed area under vine in Burgenland is 160 ha less than the actual total area across all wine-growing regions in Burgenland.

A picture shows a person holding a glass of red wine.

Characteristics of the wine

© Austrian Wine / Blickwerk Fotografie

Characteristics of the wine

Advanced ripeness and a long élevage are prerequisites for wines to display generous fruitiness, sweet, mellow extract and rounded, harmonious tannins. Wines made from fully ripened grapes have a very good ageing potential. Underripe grapes, on the other hand, may produce grassy, green wines.

Source varietal specifications: Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture, Oenology and Fruit Growing) in Klosterneuburg, “Austria’s Qualitätswein grape varieties and their clones“ („Österreichische Qualitätsweinrebsorten und deren Klone“), 2nd, reviewed edition, September 2015

Source area under vine: Calculation by Austrian Wine based on data from BML/IACS (as at 28 June 2023). Moving annual total (MAT) from June 2022 to June 2023.)



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