The Thermenregion was formed with the wine law of 1985, when the districts of Gumpoldskirchen and Bad Vöslau were amalgamated. Its 2,181 hectares of vines reach from the edge of the Wienerwald forests around the outskirts of Vienna and southward along a chain of hills (highest point is Mount Anninger, at 675m) to beyond the town of Baden. In the northern part around the village of Gumpoldskirchen, white wine thrives in form of the indigenous varieties Zierfandler (or Spätrot) and Rotgipfler, whereas red wines produced from Sankt Laurent and Pinot Noir are predominant in the more southerly vineyards.
Vines have been cultivated in this climatically favoured region south of Vienna for over 2,000 years. Roman legionnaires stationed in Carnuntum and Vindobona (today’s Vienna) introduced viticulture to the Pannonian region and cultivated vines brought from their own countries. The Thermenregion takes its name from the thermal, sulphuric water springs from ‘Thermae Pannonicae’, the present-day town of Baden. The Cistercian monks revitalised viticulture during the Middle Ages, and the design of the vineyard sites, as well as the character of the villages, visibly resemble the Citeaux Abbey of the Cistercians in Burgundy.
The Cistercian monks were expert viticulturalists, and immediately recognised the region’s extraordinary terroir. The vines benefit from the effects of the Pannonian climate, with its hot summers, dry autumns and an average of 1,800 annual hours of sunshine. During the autumn, there is a continuous circulation of air through the grapevines, rapidly drying the berries after dew or rain.
Loamy soil derived from finely grained deposits predominates, although areas with increasingly coarse fractions are common. These are primarily consolidated or unconsolidated gravel and sand with a high carbonate content and fossil remains of mussels, snails and other marine creatures. Eroded deposits rich in rubble from hillsides encourage drainage and retain warmth. The Steinfeld vineyard with its barren gravel soils provides the perfect prerequisites for fine red wines.
The region is home to white grape varieties rarely found elsewhere, and the Zierfandler (Spätrot) and Rotgipfler can be vinified individually or as the legendary blend known as Spätrot-Rotgipfler. Other traditionally cultivated varieties include the Blauer Portugieser (or Vöslauer) and the Neuburger, while more modern wines are produced from using the Pinot varieties, Sankt Laurent and Zweigelt, as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red wine producing villages include Bad Vöslau, Sooss, Tattendorf and Teesdorf, whereas the traditional white wine growing areas cluster around Perchtoldsdorf, Gumpoldskirchen, Pfaffstätten, Baden, Guntramsdorf and Traiskirchen.