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.
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.
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)
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)