The Vulkanland Steiermark wine-growing region is characterised by many small viticultural enclaves. Here, vineyards stretch up the sides of extinct volcanoes, giving the landscape a truly unique character. The vineyards cultivated in this region are concentrated around Klöch, St. Anna am Aigen and Straden. One grape variety here holds particular appeal: the highly aromatic Traminer. Traditional Buschenschank taverns are the sales channel of choice for this region’s wines.
Area under vine
Leading viticultural towns
Hartberg, Fürstenfeld, Kapfenstein, St. Anna am Aigen, Klöch, Straden, Bad Gleichenberg
Region & Wine
For centuries, this region was often highly contested border territory, as evidenced by the heavily fortified castles and strongholds built atop towering mounds of basalt rock. Today, however, borders are open. Riegersburg and Kapfenstein castles, as well as other former noble residences, now provide the backdrop for cultural events, many revolving around food and wine. The wine-growing region grows an outstanding selection of grapes. White varieties include Welschriesling, Morillon (Chardonnay), Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, Gelber Muskateller, Traminer in all its forms, Sauvignon Blanc and even Riesling. These varieties all form the basis for Vulkanland Steiermark DAC and Vulkanland Steiermark DAC Reserve. Sauvignon Blanc is the flagship variety when it comes to Ortswein (“villages” wine), although Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are also key varieties here. Both benefit from outstanding conditions in Vulkanland as they prefer milder locations. One distinctive variety in Vulkanland is Traminer, which, as a Klöch Ortswein, is also allowed to be medium dry. Its distinctive aroma of roses is underpinned by a delicate acidity on the palate.
The region’s wine portfolio is completed by a selection of interesting red wines, primarily produced from Zweigelt and marketed under the “Steiermark” designation of origin. What all the wines from this region have in common is a refined, mineral-driven spiciness, which is a result of the specific geological conditions. Another typical characteristic of this region’s wines is their restrained substance, which is the result of the hot, dry Pannonian climate meeting here with the humid Illyrian Mediterranean conditions. Pronounced temperature differences between daytime and night-time support the development of aromatics and the harmonious ripening of the grapes in particular. The warm soils of the vineyards show a strong variability between calcareous and non-calcareous substrata, sandy and clayey parent materials, gravelly and volcanic deposits, and between weathered slate and gneiss. On the top hillsides outside Klöch, the most common soils are sandy, clayey and mainly non-calcareous. In Klöch itself, the soils are almost exclusively non-calcareous red loam and brown loam, having developed from basalt and tuff. Four “wine roads” lead through the picturesque hilly landscape and a vinotheque in St. Anna am Aigen, exclusively stocking Styrian wine, gives a clear overview of what the region produces.
The most important viticultural towns and villages are Bad Radkersburg, Feldbach, Gleisdorf, Hartberg, Kapfenstein, Klöch, Riegersburg, St. Peter, Straden, Tieschen and Weiz. In the north, on the Ringkogel near Hartberg, vineyards can be found at elevations of up to 650 metres – some of the highest in Austria!
Vulkanland Steiermark is also one of Austria’s most untouched tourism destinations in terms of the natural environment. Wonderful themed hiking trails lead through an enchanting landscape, while the numerous thermal resorts are peaceful havens for relaxation. Friendly Buschenschank taverns all over the region also invite guests to sample local culinary delights alongside regional wines – not to mention the opportunity to taste some famous Styrian pumpkin seed oil.
Vulkanland Steiermark DAC
Vulkanland Steiermark DAC: Oststeiermark, Riegersburg, Kapfenstein, St. Anna, Tieschen, Klöch, Straden, St. Peter, Gleichenberg
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 15 January in the year following the harvest, for Welschriesling as of 1 December in the harvest year
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with indication of municipality: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 April in the year following the harvest
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with vineyard designation: Submission for the Federal Inspection Number from 1 April in the year following the harvest
- Additional designation “Reserve”: earliest sales date 18 months later than prescribed in the respective level
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC: max. 4 g/l; Riesling and Traminer must correspond to the designation “dry”
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with indication of municipality: max. 4 g/l; Riesling and Traminer must correspond to the designation “dry”; Klöcher Traminer also “half dry” or from Prädikatswein level with no limited residual sugar content
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with vineyard designation: max. 4 g/l; Riesling and Traminer must correspond to the designation “dry”
- Not specified
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC: Indication of origin (incl. “DAC”) must be shown on the primary label (the label with all mandatory information) and the front label. Indication of the harvest year is mandatory.
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with indication of municipality: Designation of origin (incl. “DAC”) and the name of the municipality must be shown on the primary label (the label with all mandatory information) and the front label.
- Vulkanland SteiermarkDAC with vineyard designation: Indication of origin (incl. “DAC”) and the name of the vineyard must be shown on the primary label (the label with all mandatory information).
- Qualitätswein with the designation of origin “Steiermark” may not include a more detailed geographical designation than “Steiermark”.
Primary varieties for Ortswein
- Oststeiermark: Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder
- Gleichenberg: Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon
- Riegersburg: Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder
- Kapfenstein: Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder
- Sankt Anna: Sauvignon Blanc, Morillon
- Tieschen: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot cuvées
- Klöch: Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer
- Straden: Sauvignon Blanc, Grauburgunder
- Sankt Peter: Sauvignon Blanc, Weissburgunder
In upper Vulkanland Steiermark, on the south-eastern slopes of the Joglland near Hartberg, the vineyards lie on the hard crystalline rocks of the Austroalpine nappes. The majority of these are gneiss and mica schist, with amphibolite and granite in the minority. Further to the south east, loose rocks from the Styrian Basin prevail, varying significantly between a sandy and gravelly consistency. Both the terrain and geology of lower Vulkanland Steiermark are shaped by the area’s extinct volcanoes. These are a very conspicuous feature of the local landscape and unique to this wine-growing region. However, only 10% of the area under vine in Vulkanland Steiermark actually lies on this rock. Two phases of volcanic activity, one older and one more recent, left behind red trachyandesite, hard black basalt, blistered basalt slag and tuff (formed from the solidified ash of volcanic eruptions), as well as fine-grained deposits in volcanic crater lakes. The majority of the vineyards lie on various sedimentary deposits from the Paratethys sea and the lakes and rivers of the Styrian Basin, as well as on Quaternary gravel terraces, most of which carry a top layer of loam.
Vulkanland has established itself as a region of gourmet indulgence, with its outstanding culinary specialties, which, in addition to wine, feature a wide variety of regional delights (including hams). But the Vulkanland DAC wines don’t cut such a fine figure just on their home turf. The Sauvignon Blancs are excellent companions for lighter to medium-texture fish, plus vegetable, asparagus and pasta dishes. Regionally typical Grauburgunder harmonises very nicely with powerful seafood dishes – in fuller-bodied versions also wonderfully with red-culture soft cheeses. Fruity-sweet Traminer also shines in combination with this type of cheese. Anyone who wants to travel further afield in the culinary world will find an excellent companion in the Traminer: its residual sweetness and opulence buffer the characteristic spiciness of many Asian dishes and provide special moments of pleasure.
Links & Downloads
Legislative Decree Vulkanland Steiermark DAC (German)