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.
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 2009, Sylvaner's limited vineyard growth decreased even further, by 40%.
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.