Archaeologists have been producing evidence of ancient Roman culture within the historic region of Carnuntum for many years. But what is as astonishing: the ‘mineral treasures’ inherent to these approximately 906 hectares of vineyards, especially as expressed in the regionally typical red wines from Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Chardonnay, Weissburgunder and Grüner Veltliner also yield DAC white wines of appreciable character.
The winegrowing region Carnuntum extends east of Vienna to Austria’s border with Slovakia. The vineyards spread across three hilly landscapes south of the Danube: the Leitha Range, the Arbesthal Hill Country and the Hainburger Mountains. Heavy soils of loam and loess with sandy-gravelly layers offer optimum conditions, especially for the red varieties. At the top of the list is the most popular native red variety Blauer Zweigelt, followed by Blaufränkisch, focussed on the Spitzerberg in the east of the region. International newcomers like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot also feel comfortable here. These varieties and others not listed among the approved DAC varieties are released to the market with the designation of origin »Niederösterreich« on the label.
The Pannonian climate with its hot summers and cold winters, the nearby Danube and temperature-regulating Lake Neusiedl allow the red wine grapes to mature fully. A young generation of winegrowers was able to take advantage of this natural potential, leading the region to high-level recognition within a short time: with attractive red wines that marry fruit and elegance. Modern in style, but always distinctive and committed to their origins. Carnuntum was ultimately granted DAC status in 2019. Thus, only those wines expressing typicality of origin may henceforth bear the name of the winegrowing region on the label. The red varieties Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch, as well as Chardonnay, Weissburgunder and Grüner Veltliner, are profiled on the levels Gebietswein, Ortswein and Riedenwein. The white wines here are characterised by structure and power.
Also outstanding: the strategic orientation of the region toward tourism, an essential factor in wine sales. While the beautifully restored Marchfeld castles, the inviting Carnuntum archaeological park, the National Park Donauauen, as well as its close proximity to the Slovak capital Bratislava, provide plenty of opportunities to introduce tourists and visitors to the local wines.
The winegrowing villages of Göttlesbrunn, Höflein and Prellenkirchen, well known for their idyllic taverns offering local food and wine, have always been highly popular destinations, particularly for day-trippers from nearby Vienna. But now, increasingly more people are making a special trip to visit the ever-growing roster of critically acclaimed restaurants, especially since the local wines, prominent on all lists, pair so well with the regional cuisine.