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.
Austria, LFZ Klosterneuburg
New breed from St. Laurent x Blaufränkisch
Red wine grape variety
New breed created by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt in 1922 at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture and Horticulture (LFZ) in Klosterneuburg. You find more information about the person Fritz Zweigelt here. More on the background regarding the discussion surrounding the naming of the variety Zweigelt/Rotburger see here.
Zweigelt owes its widespread distribution to Lenz Moser, who recommended the variety and planted it extensively using his high vine training system. At the end of the 19th century, when the planting of red wine varieties began to increase, Blauer Zweigelt was the most common red wine grape to be grown in Austrian vineyards. Today, it is still the most important red wine variety in all of the country’s wine-growing areas. Between 1999 and 2020, the area under this variety increased dramatically, but has since become constant.
Significance & conditions
All the Austrian wine-growing regions offer favourable locations for growing Zweigelt, the country’s most widespread red wine variety. The spectrum of wines ranges from young to more mature, produced by élevage in barriques or with no use of wood at all. The variety is also often used as a constituent in cuvée blends. In Carnuntum and the area around Lake Neusiedl, Zweigelt frequently yields premium wines. The variety is not very demanding in terms of soil, but it does require extensive pruning and yield management because of its high fertility. A lack of potash, too high a yield and a number of other stress factors (water and nutrient stress, waterlogging, unfavourable leaf-to-fruit ratio, extreme temperatures, etc.) will cause the grapes to wilt during ripening. The complex interaction of causes cannot be adequately explained due to a lack of research. Wilted grapes cannot be used for wine production.
Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)
Characteristics of the wine
This variety yields purplish-reddish coloured wines with strong tannins. Fully ripe grapes produce full-bodied wines with aromas of morello cherry and good longevity. Élevage in barriques also produces high-quality 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: Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism according to IACS (as at 31 May 2022)