The Müller-Thurgau is a crossing of Riesling x Madeleine Royale created by Swiss botanist Hermann Müller from the canton of Thurgau.

Origin

Germany, Geisenheim Research Center

Parentage

New breed from Riesling x Chasselas de Courtillier

Vineyard area

1,272.66 ha; 2.8%

Parentage

This grape variety was bred in 1882 in Geisenheim by the Swiss botanist Hermann Müller, from the canton of Thurgau. For a long time, it was believed that Riesling and Sylvaner were the parent varieties, until genetic research finally proved otherwise. Müller-Thurgau is the oldest and most successful new cultivar to have spread throughout the world. The synonyms Rivaner and Riesling-Sylvaner point to the variety’s original (yet incorrect) attribution of parentage. Use of the name Riesling-Sylvaner is now prohibited, due to it being misleading.

Vineyard area

This variety grows in all of Austria’s wine-growing regions. Between 1999 and 2020, however the area under vine declined considerably, as did the variety’s significance.

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Müller-Thurgau
© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Important ampelographic features

Leaf

medium-sized, vesicular, circular, five lobes, deeply lobed with twisted middle lobe

Grape cluster

medium to large, medium density, cylindrical, with oval, greenish-yellow berries. The flesh has a faint muscat flavour.

Ripening

Ripening

very early
early
early to middle
middle
middle to late
late
very late

Significance & conditions

This variety ripens very early and is therefore often sold as grape must, Sturm (partially fermented grape must) and en primeur wine (wine still maturing in the barrel). Müller-Thurgau is often blended with other white wine varieties to produce young cuvées that are intended to be drunk straight away. At the other end of the maturation spectrum, this variety also produces Prädikatswein whose potential for developing is often underestimated. Müller-Thurgau needs soils that offer deep root depth and a good supply of water. It is very susceptible to Peronospora, oidium, berry and stem rot, Pseudopezicula tracheiphila and Phomopsis. Compared to other varieties, Müller-Thurgau needs increased protection.

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:

A picture shows a hand holding a glass of white wine.
© Austrian Wine / Blickwerk Fotografie

Characteristics of the wine

The variety creates early-maturing, mild wines with a faint muscat flavour. If acidity is too low, the wines age quickly. Prädikatswein can achieve a very high quality potential.

Link

New Crossings

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)

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