The white variety is amongst the oldest cultivated vines in Europe, and is known as the Sylvaner in Austria and Switzerland, and Silvaner in Germany. The crossing is Traminer x Österreichisch Weiß, and is often called the 'Österreicher', or Austrian.

Origin

Austria

Parentage

Natural crossing of Traminer x Österreichisch Weiß

Vineyard area

23.93 ha; 0.1%

Origin

Sylvaner is one of the oldest autochthonous grape varieties in Austria. From here, the variety made its way to Germany, where it was once known as “Österreicher”.

Vineyard area

Sylvaner was still a significant variety in Austria in the mid-20th century. However, it has considerable disadvantages compared to the Grüner Veltliner, such as low resistance to winter frosts and a high susceptibility to Peronospora, oidium and botrytis. The variety’s growth also proved too weak for Lenz Moser’s high vine training system, which gained widespread use with the more-favoured Grüner Veltliner. Between 1999 and 2020, the already small area under this variety decreased further in size.

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Grüner Sylvaner
© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Important ampelographic features

Leaf

pentagonal, with five lobes, lightly sinuated, undulate leaf margin

Grape cluster

small, very densely berried, cylindrical, shouldered; berries are small, round, spotted and greenish-yellow in colour

Ripening

Ripening

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

Significance & conditions

The variety has very little significance in Austria, though it plays a more important role in Germany. Sylvaner requires very specific conditions in the vineyard and is especially susceptible to chlorosis if the soil is too high in lime.

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

Produces neutral to fruity wines. Mature wines typically display gooseberry aromas.

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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