Welschriesling probably origins from northern Italy, where it is known as the Riesling Italico. The closest relative is Elbling. The variety is also cultivated in Hungary (Olasz Rizling), Slovenia (Laski Riesling) and Croatia (Graševina).
probably Northern Italy (Riesling italico)
2,882.40 ha; 6.4%
The versatile Welschriesling can produce almost all quality levels. Grapes from the Poysdorf area in the Weinviertel are commonly used in base wines for neutral, more acidic styles of Sekt, while this variety also produces easy-drinking Buschenschank tavern wines in Steiermark and nobly sweet Trockenbeerenauslese wines in Burgenland, particularly around the Seewinkel area. The variety’s total area under vine decreased significantly between 1999 and 2020.
These grapes are very good for producing Sekt, and can also deliver some outstanding Prädikatswein. The range of quality is very wide. To thrive, Welschriesling requires early-warming vineyards and soils with an ample supply of magnesium. The vines are very sensitive to dryness – too little moisture can cause inadequate shoot development.
Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)
Characteristics of the wine
Yields wines with a higher acidity. Dry Welschriesling wines are often very fresh with aromas of green apples and citrus. However, winegrowers have recently begun producing complex wines with good ageing potential by maturing them on the lees for a longer period of time. Prädikatswein made with this grape variety are considered to be some of the world’s greatest sweet wines. Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese both have exotic aromas in their bouquet and delicate notes of honey on the palate, underpinned by a characteristic level of acidity.
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)