One of the three specific wine-growing areas in the Austrian province or generic wine-growing region of Styria. The history of viticulture dates back to the fourth century BC. In the Monarchy, towards the end of the 19th century, there were still 35,000 hectares of vineyards in what was then called Lower Styria - about 15 times the amount today. At that time, however, areas that today lie in Slovenia were included. The Habsburg Archduke Johann (1782-1859) set the course for Styrian quality viticulture by founding an experimental vineyard near Marburg. At that time, Pinot Blanc from the Jerusalem vineyard, which is now in Slovenia, was one of the most sought-after white wines in Europe.
The area is divided into an area on the Slovenian border and the Sausal region to the west of Leibnitz. The Sausal slopes at an altitude of up to 650 metres above sea level have a gradient of up to 42° (90%) and can partly only be cultivated with a cable winch. They are among the steepest vineyards in Austria. Well-known wine-growing communities are Berghausen, Ehrenhausen, Gamlitz, Heimschuh, Kitzeck (wine-growing museum), Leibnitz, Leutschach, Silberberg (wine-growing school), Spielfeld, St. Andrä im Sausal and Sulztal. These are connected by the South Styrian Wine Road, Sausal Wine Road and Rebenland Wine Road (also Klapotetz Wine Road).
The climate is characterised by Pannonian and southern European influences. Precipitation is twice as high as in Burgenland and Lower Austria. The warm and humid weather favours the spread of botrytis for the production of noble sweet wines. The predominant soil types are slate, sand, marl and lime. A sandy-toned sedimentary rock, often mixed with shell limestone, is called opok here.
Grape variety list
In 2016, the vineyards covered a total of 2,563 hectares of vines. Compared to 2009 with 2,340 hectares, this was an increase of 9.5%. The share of the clearly dominant white wine varieties amounts to 87.2%, the share of red wine varieties to 12.8% (Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay were recorded together with 487 ha in 2009):
In 2018, the origin-oriented DAC system was introduced in Styria. All other quality wines must be marketed with the origin Styria, the country wines under the winegrowing region designation Steirerland. In contrast to Burgenland and Lower Austria (where the individual areas were realised one after the other), an overall concept was developed for all three specific wine-growing regions. 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 ried 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 Südsteiermark DAC area includes the political district of Leibnitz without the municipal areas on the left bank of the Mur River. The cross-local winegrowing communities are Kitzeck-Sausal, Eichberg, Leutschach, Gamlitz and Ehrenhausen. The leading varieties are Sauvignon Blanc (all wine-growing communities), Riesling (Kitzeck-Sausal), Gelber Muskateller (Leutschach, Gamlitz) and Morillon (Ehrenhausen).