Austria's most significant white wine variety is Grüner Veltliner, which most probably derives from a crossing with Traminer. The second parent remains unconfirmed, but it is thought to be a Century old variety discovered in St. Georgen in Burgenland.
probably Niederösterreich, Austria
Natural offspring of Traminer x St. Georgen
14,548.48 ha; 32.5%
The second parent variety was found in St. Georgen in Austria’s Burgenland. This grape variety was named after the place in which it was discovered because, genetic research was unable to attribute it to any known variety. Grüner Veltliner is not genetically related to Roter Veltliner or Frühroter Veltliner.
Grüner Veltliner is the most important autochthonous grape variety in Austria. It became most widespread during the 1950s when Lenz Moser’s high vine training system was introduced. Today, this variety is most heavily planted in Niederösterreich and northern Burgenland. Grüner Veltliner holds a special rank in several wine-growing regions as it is used to produce DAC wines that display the typical characteristics of their origins. While this variety’s area under vine decreased between 1999 and 2020, it still remains the most planted variety within Austria.
Important ampelographic features
medium-sized, pentagonal to circular, five to seven lobes, deeply lobed and a moderately hairy underside. The characteristic white woolly hair on the shoot tip gives the variety its second name, Weißgipfler (white tip).
medium to very large, medium density, cone-shaped, shouldered, with large round-to-oval berries, greenish-yellow to foxy-yellow in colour on the sun-exposed side.
Significance & Conditions
Grüner Veltliner is by far the most important white wine grape variety in Austria. It achieved international recognition and popularity at the end of the 20th century. It is a prolific variety and therefore requires yield regulation. It grows especially well in loess soils offering a deep root depth, does not like dryness, is sensitive during flowering and is susceptible to Peronospora, Pseudopezicula tracheiphila and chlorosis.
Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)
Characteristics of the wine
Grüner Veltliner delivers all quality levels – from light, more acidic wines, through to Prädikatswein with a high degree of ripeness. Quality is highly dependent upon the vineyard and the yield. Winegrowers strive for spicy, peppery wines, or wines with notes of stone fruit.
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)