Schilcherland DAC

A picture shows the Schilcherland DAC region
© AWMB

The Wine

Most of the vineyard area is dedicated to the Blauer Wildbacher, an ancient red grape variety from which the rosy-hued Schilcher is vinified. For the name, Schilcher must thank its iridescent play of colour in many shades of pink, from light to deep. Mentioned for the first time in 1580 as ‘Schilller’ by the writer Johann Rasch, the Schilcher later found a powerful champion in Archduke Johann (1782–1859), who established the very first ‘Schilcher nursery’ and thus brought about an appreciable expansion in the area planted to Blauer Wildbacher. Originally regarded as a rustic peasant wine with harsh and aggressive acidity, in the hands of ambitious growers the Schilcher has transformed itself through continual improvements in quality to become an internationally sought-after terroir wine.

In addition, Blauer Wildbacher also provides the base wine for elegant and charming sparklers, yields red wines with firm structure of tannins and produces refined sweet wines. Today the protected designation of origin Schilcherland DAC serves to underscore the prominent significance of the Schilcher: dry, refreshing and fruity as Schilcherland DAC Klassik, then spicier and more powerful as Schilcherland DAC with vineyard (Ried) designation. Schilcherland encompasses the winegrowing area Weststeiermark and the cadastral municipality Obergreith.

The Region

Despite being the smallest winegrowing region in the Steiermark, this is ancient wine-land, where the vine was cultivated by the ancient Illyrians, the Celts, and later by the Romans. The vineyards stretch up the steep inclines in a long and narrow band, some vines growing at an elevation of 600 metres above sea level, from the foothills of the Koralpe Range and Mount Reinischkogel to the border with Slovenia in the south.

The region’s distinctive topography encourages enhanced warming during the day, which helps to protect the vineyards against prevailing winds. One must climb steep hillsides with picturesque little ‘Kellerstöckl’, huts housing the tools of the trade, and cross deep valleys on the road from Ligist in the north via Sankt Stefan ob Stainz toward Deutschlandsberg and Eibiswald in the south. Side-trips through the wine villages of Greisdorf, Gundersdorf, Wildbach and Wies offer surprising perspectives – as much in the panorama as in the wine. The geology and skeleton of the region is also quite unusual as well; the rocks consist primarily of old gneisses and mica schists. The climate is best described as Illyric, with warm & humid Mediterranean and southern European influences, and a relatively high amount of precipitation.

A picture shows Traditional Heurigen Food
© AWMB

Culinary Tip

The origins of the Schilcher suggest enjoying these wines with a traditional rustic meal like in the tavern. Its unmistakeable fruit aromas and racy character makes it an outstanding partner for Liptauer cheese spread, hams and the like. But fish dishes do nicely as well, while stewed vegetables or roasted fowl provide pleasurable pairings for Schilcher.

Schilcherland DAC
(from 2018 vintage)

Grape Variety: Blauer Wildbacher

Quality levels:

  • Schilcherland DAC Klassik
  • Schilcherland DAC with indication of single vineyard/cru site

Alcohol levels:

  • Schilcherland DAC Klassik: min. 11.0 % vol., max. 12.0 % vol.
  • Schilcherland DAC with indication of single vineyard/cru site: min. 12 % vol.

Residual sugar:

  • Schilcherland DAC Klassik: max. 3,0 g/l
  • Schilcherland DAC with indication of single vineyard/cru site: max. 4.0 g/l

Labeling: Designation of Origin (incl. "DAC") has to be declared on the front label.