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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Styria/Steiermark

The federal state of Styria with its capital Graz is located in the south-east of Austria and covers 16,400 km². It borders the federal states of Carinthia in the southwest, Salzburg (west), Upper Austria and Lower Austria in the north, Burgenland in the east and Slovenia in the south. The Celts practised cultivated viticulture as early as the fourth century BC. As in all of Central Europe, the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) gave new impetus to viticulture. In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church and its monasteries, especially Rein Abbey of the Cistercian monastic order, made a great contribution to Styrian viticulture. In 1406, 535 places with 6,000 vineyards were already documented. In the 16th century, the vineyards covered 35,000 hectares, which was about eight times as much as today. However, the Duchy of Styria was much larger than it is today and also included Lower Styria, which lies in Slovenia.

Steiermark - spezifische Weinbaugebiete

Viticulture in modern times

The Habsburg Archduke Johann (1782-1859), who is still highly revered in Styria today, owned a castle in what is now the Schilcher centre of Stainz. In 1822 he founded an experimental vineyard near Marburg, thus setting the course for quality-oriented viticulture. The Archduke had the grape varieties Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Silvaner, Riesling and Weißburgunder, which had been unknown locally until then, planted and tried out new forms of cultivation. He also promoted the training of winegrowers and hygiene in wine production. In 1872, the Styrian School of Fruit and Viticulture was founded in Marburg. The first director Hermann Goethe (1837-1911) was one of the most distinguished viticultural experts and ampelographers of his time. Today, Styrian winegrowers are trained at the viticulture school in Silberberg near Leibnitz.

After the First World War (1914-1918), a large part of the vineyards were lost to Slovenia as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The Second World War (1939-1945) brought great devastation, as Styria was a combat zone in many places. Viticulture suffered a decline and in the early 1960s the area under vines was only about 1,600 hectares. Thanks to targeted support from the Styrian provincial government in the form of wine-growing plans with the renewal and increase of vineyards and conversion to modern forms of cultivation, the number of vines was increased again to about two and a half times its original size.

Climate & Soils

The climate lies at the interface of the southern European Mediterranean climate in the west and south, and the Pannonian climate with hot, low-precipitation summers in the southeast. Annual precipitation amounts to 1,200 millimetres in the west, but only 800 millimetres in the east. Large temperature fluctuations between day and night in autumn give the wines a variety of aromas. In the south-eastern area around Bad Gleichenberg, Kapfenstein, Klöch, Riegersburg and Straden, soils of volcanic origin with towering Vuklan cones, sandy loams, clays and basalt weathering predominate. In the Sausal there is a siliceous rock brown earth over mica schist and gneiss. Around Fürstenfeld and north of it around Hartberg and Weiz there are slate weathering soils. In the hill country of Gamlitz, Glanz, Grassnitzberg, Plössnitz, Zieregg and Zoppelberg there is sandy-toned sedimentary rock known as opok, mixed with shell limestone.

Steiermark - topograpchische Landkarte

All vineyards are located in the south near the border with Slovenia. The vineyards are widely scattered and are mainly planted on steep southern slopes up to 650 metres above sea level (Vulkanland Steiermark, Ringkogel near Hartberg). Around 70% of the vineyards are partly terraced slopes with a gradient of more than 26% and are thus classified as "mountain vineyards" according to Austrian wine law. The emblem of Styrian viticulture is the Klapotetz, a wind-powered device against harmful birds. The numerous wine roads are worth mentioning. Since 2018, there has also been a "Grazer Stadtwein" (Graz city wine) from revitalised vineyards of the Kehlberg in Graz. 75% of the wines produced are white, mostly dry and fruity. A Styrian speciality is Schilcher from the Blauer Wildbacher variety.

DAC system

The generic wine-growing region of Styria is divided into three specific wine-growing regions: Südsteiermark, Vulkanland Steiermark and Weststeiermark. In 2018, the DAC system was introduced in the three specific wine-growing regions. The DAC area Schilcherland, which was introduced at short notice in 2017, was replaced by DAC Weststeiermark. The generic wine-growing region of Styria must appear on the label of all quality wines; for DAC wines, the DAC designation must also appear. The entire area of the province forms the wine-growing region Steirerland, which serves as an indication of origin for regional wines. All other quality wines must be marketed with the origin Steiermark, the Land wines under the wine-growing region designation Steirerland. The wine-growing regions with the development of vineyards:

Steiermark - Tabelle Rebflächen-Entwicklung

In contrast to the two federal provinces Burgenland and Lower Austria (where the individual DAC areas were realised one after the other in time), an overall concept applies to all three specific wine-growing areas. There is a three-level pyramid of origin with regional wine, local wine and Riedenwein. Styrian varietal diversity is taken into account in different ways (see graphic). In the case of regional wine, it is preserved; in the case of local wine and partly also in the case of Riedenwein, local leading varieties have been defined differently for each wine-growing region. The regional wines may be marketed from 1 March, the single vineyard wines and the local wines from 1 May of the year following the harvest. An exception is made for wines made from Welschriesling and Schilcher, which may be marketed as early as 1 December of the year of harvest. Likewise, an exception applies to Steirischer Junker, which is traditionally presented at the beginning of November. The DAC pyramid:

Steiermark - DAC Qualitätspyramide

Grape variety chart

In 2022, the vineyards covered a total of 5,086 hectares of vines. Compared to 2016 with 4,633 hectares, this was an increase of 453 hectares (9.8%). Of this, white wine varieties account for 3,967 hectares (78%) and red wine varieties 1,119 hectares (22%). A special form of mixed vineyard is the Styrian mixed vineyard. The white wine varieties are now dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, which overtook Welschriesling, followed by Weißer Burgunder, Muskateller, Chardonnay and Müller-Thurgau. Among the red wine varieties, the Styrian speciality Blauer Wildbacher dominates, followed by Zweigelt, Merlot, Blauer Burgunder and Cabernet Sauvignon. The biggest climbers were the varieties Blossom Muscat, Chardonnay, Muscaris, Muscat, Souvignier Gris and Pinot Blanc, the biggest decliners Blauer Portugieser, Müller-Thurgau and St. Laurent.

Grape variety
Main name

in Austria
permitted synonyms






Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Sylvaner white 929 18,3 683 14,7
Welschriesling - white 773 15,2 753 16,2
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Klevner white 619 13,6 576 12,4
Muscat Blanc Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc white 549 10,8 329 7,1
Blue Wildbacher - red 518 9,2 457 10,0
Chardonnay Morillon white 385 7,6 328 7,1
Zweigelt Blue Zweigelt, Rotburger red 269 5,3 351 7,6
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner white 177 3,5 245 5,3
Grey Burgundy Pinot Gris, Ruländer white 156 3,1 97 12,1
Scheurebe seedling 88 white 139 2,7 152 3,3
White Riesling Riesling, Rhine Riesling white 69 1,3 63 1,4
Traminer Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T. white 66 1,3 70 1,5
Muscaris - white 52 1,0 - -
Souvignier gris - white 42 0,8 - -
Merlot - red 21 0,4 21 0,4
Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir red 20 0,4 18,3 0,4
Flower muscatel - white 14 0,3 - -
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 13 0,3 14,3 0,3
Goldburger - white 13 0,2 30 0,6
Blauburger - red 11 0,2 18,2 0,4
St. Laurent - red 10 0,2 13,9 0,3
Blaufränkisch - red 9 0,2 13,6 0,3
Sylvaner Green Sylvaner white 7 0,1 8,3 0,2
Roesler - red 7 0,1 6,4 0,1
Muscat Ottonel - white 5 0,1 4,4 0,1
Grüner Veltliner Weißgipfler white 4 0,1 - -
Gold muscatel - white 4 0,1 - -
Syrah Shiraz red 3 0,1 2,0 -
Bouvier - white 2 - 1,4 -
Furmint - white 2 -
Rose muscatel - red 2 - - -
Blue Portugieser - red 1 - 2,0 -
Cabernet Franc - red 1 - 0,8 -
Rathay - red 1 - 0,7 -
Frühroter Veltliner Malvasia white 0,1 - - -
other varieties - white/red 127 2,5 375 8,1
















Associations and wineries

Verein Wein Steiermark represents over 750 members, other large winegrowers' associations are Steirische Terroir & Klassikweingüter and Erzherzog Johann Weine. The wineries are listed under the wine-growing regions.

Southern Styria: © ÖWM - Anna Stöcher
Vulkanland; © ÖWM - Gerhard Elze
Western Styria: ÖWM - Armin Faber
Table of grape variety development: Norbert F. J. Tischelmayer
Map and DAC pyramid: © ÖWM
Source (in part): Wein Steiermark

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