The creation of the Zweigelt variety in the 1920's by Professor Fritz Zweigelt, a crossing between Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, only really gained recognition after the Second World War. Nowadays, Zweigelt is the most widespread red wine variety in Austria and can be found in suitable sites in all wine-producing regions.
Parentage: New breed created by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt in 1922 at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture and Horticulture (LFZ) in Klosterneuburg.
Vineyard area: In order to ensure widespread growth of this variety, Lenz Moser planted it extensively and utilised his Hochkultur (high culture) training system for it. At the end of the last century, when red wine variety plantings began to increase, the Blauer Zweigelt represented the biggest share of reds in the vineyards. Between 1999 and 2009, its vineyard surface coverage increased by 48.9%.
Important ampelographic features:
Leaf: Circular to pentagonal, three to five lobes
Grape cluster: medium-sized; compact; cylindrical, with wings; round, blue-black coloured grapes
Ripening time: mid-season
Significance, conditions: As the most widespread red wine variety in Austria, Zweigelt grows in favourable sites in all of the country's wine regions. The wine spectrum ranges from young-drinking, non-wood-matured versions to strong, firm wines from the barrique. The variety is also often used as a partner for cuvée wines. Big wines especially from Carnuntum and around the Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl) are vinified.The variety demands little from the soil but, because it is a very fertile grape, requires intensive leaf work and yield regulation. If there is potassium deficiency, high yield stress and a series of other stress factors (such as water and nutrient stress, waterlogging, imbalanced leaf to fruit ratio, extreme temperatures) the grapes wither during the ripening phase. Reasons for this have not yet been sufficiently explored and clarified. Wine cannot be produced from withered grapes.
Wine: The variety brings slightly violet-reddish coloured wines with soft tannins. Mature, full-bodied and long-living wines deliver tones of morello cherry. High-quality wines are matured also in barriques.