Sylvaner
(Grüner Sylvaner)

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

38 ha, 0.1%

A picture shows grapes of the grape variety Grüner Sylvaner
© AWMB / Oberleitner

Origin: Sylvaner is one of the oldest autochthonous grape varieties in Austria. From here, the variety made its way to Germany and, in fact had once been known there as the “Österreicher”.

Vineyard area: The variety was still quite significant in Austria in the mid-20th century. But its popularity declined because of its considerable disadvantages when compared to the Grüner Veltliner - such as little resistance to winter frosts and a high susceptibility to peronospora, oidium and Botrytis. Also, the variety's growth proved too weak for Lenz Moser's Hochkultur (high culture) training system, which had gained widespread use with the favoured Grüner Veltliner. Between 1999 and 2015, Sylvaner's limited vineyard growth decreased even further.

Important ampelographic features:
Leaf: Pentagonal with five lobes; slightly sinuate, wavy
Grape cluster: small; very compact berries; cylindrical; shouldered with small, round and spotted greenish-yellow grapes

Ripening time: mid-season

Significance, conditions: Little significance in Austria, though plays a more important role in Germany. Sylvaner is very challenging in the vineyard and is susceptible to chlorosis in soils with high limestone content.

Wine: Yields neutral to fruity wines. Aged versions usually show an expression of gooseberry.