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


Description to Wachau

One of the eight specific wine-growing areas in the Austrian province or generic wine-growing region of Lower Austria. It is crossed by the Danube, on whose northern banks many of the mostly terraced vineyards are located. The vineyards, some of which are very steep, are among the steepest vineyards in Austria, 40% of which are fortified with dry stone walls. In 2021, dry-stone walls were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The narrow valley along the Danube is only 33, the wine-growing area 15 kilometres long. The gateway to the west is the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, to the east it is bordered by the over 1,000-year-old town of Krems. In the 5th century, the monk Severinus (410-482) lived in the midst of vineyards near Favianis (Mautern), which is evidence of wine growing. The English King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) was captured near Wien on his return from the Third Crusade and held at Dürnstein Castle.

Wachau - Blick auf Dürnstein

King Henry II (973-1024) donated the small settlement of Liupna, today's Loiben, to the Tegernsee Monastery in 1002. At the turn of the century, the Viennese mayor Karl Lueger (1844-1910) served a Loiben wine at a ball to Emperor Franz-Joseph I (1830-1916), who commented: "I would not have thought that there was such good wine in my countries". Lueger then suggested the name "Loibner Kaiserwein". The Benedictine Abbey of Melk owned vineyards not only in the Wachau, but also in the municipalities of Gumpoldskirchen, Pfaffstätten and Baden. In Rohrendorf near Krems, a vineyard of around 100 hectares is still owned by the monastery today; it was donated by Leuthold von Kuenring in 1113.

In the year of the second Turkish siege of Wien in 1883, wine from the Abbey cellar was used to extinguish a fire that had already engulfed the church tower and threatened the bells. In 1703, 24,000 buckets of wine were stored in the cellars, the equivalent of 1.3 million litres! Finally, in the 18th century, the income from the tithe wine made it possible to rebuild Melk Abbey into the magnificent Baroque building it is today. Due to climate changes and strict levies, wine culture declined. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that top wines were again produced through the introduction of new varieties such as Veltliner and Riesling.

The terrain is mostly shallow with high and therefore heat-retaining mineral content. The soils are mainly made up of loess, sand and rigsols. In some terraced areas, the humus layer is no thicker than 50 centimetres, with bare granite underneath. The Atlantic-Pannonian mixed climate is characterised by the moisture-giving Danube, which has a heat-increasing effect through reflection. An important factor for the special climate is the large temperature difference between day and night, which has a positive effect. The Wachau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the category "Cultural Landscape" in 2000.

Weißenkirchen - Wachau (Niederösterreich)

Viticulture on both banks of the Danube

The Wachau wine-growing communities extend mainly to the left and some to the right of the Danube. The communities on the left bank with their most important vineyards (Lagen) are:

Dürnstein (cadastral communities Dürnsteiner Waldhütten, Oberloiben, Unterloiben) with Heudürr, Höhereck, Hollerin, Kaiserberg (Subriede Lichtensteinerin), Kellerberg (Subrieden Wunderburg, Küss den Pfennig), Liebenberg, Pfaffenberg, Schlossberg, Schütt and Supperin.

Loiben (Dürnstein cadastral communities Oberloiben, Unterloiben) with Bockfüßl, Dinstlgarten, Frauenweingarten, Hochstrasser, Klostersatz, Kreutles, Loibenberg (Subrieden Langen Zung, Rauheneck, Rothenberg, Süßenberg), Mühlpoint, Oberhauser, Pichlhof, Rothenhof, Schütt, Setzen, Steinertal, Trum and Wandl.

Spitz a. d. Donau (KG Gut am Steg, Schwallenbach, Viessling) with Almenreith, Amtsgarten, Auleithen, Axpoint (Subriede Hochrain), Baumgartenthal, Brandstatt, Bruck, Burgberg (Subriede Tausendeimerberg), Donaugarten, Fluiding, Gasslreith, Point - Gut am Steg, Setzberg (Subrieden Fischkasten, Landstallen), Hartberg, Kalkofen, Mühlgraben, Offenberg, Pluris, Singerriedel, Spitzer Birn, Spitzer Point, Steinborz, Tannen, Vogelleithen and Zornberg.

Weißenkirchen (KG Joching, St. Michael, Wösendorf) with Achleiten, Altau, Angern, Buschenberg, Donauboden, Donaufeld, Frauengärten (Subriede Traben), Gaisberg, Harzenleiten, Hinter der Burg, Hinterkirchen, Hochrain (Subriede Ralais), Hinter Seiber, Kirchweg, Klaus, Kollmitz, Kollmütz, Pichlpoint (Subriede Pichl), Postaller, Ritzling, Steinriegl, Steinwand, Vorder Atzberg, Vorder Seiber, Weitenberg and Zwerithaler.

Flohhaxn, Himmelstiege, Honivogl and Katzensprung are old vineyards or vineyards that no longer exist and are now used as names for branded wines.

Wachau - Karte mit den Rebflächen beiderseits der Donau

The municipalities on the right bank of the Danube are:

Bergern im Dunkelsteinerwald (KG Geyersberg, Maria Langegg, Nesselstauden, Oberbergern, Scheiblwies, Schenkenbrunn, Unterbergern, Wolfenreith) with Donauleiten (Subriede Galiziberg) and Laach (Subriede Steinplatte).

Mautern a. d. Donau (cadastral municipalities Baumgarten, Hundsheim, Mauternbach) with Alte Point (sub-area Schlossberg), Burggarten, Ladoschn, Prebarn, Raubern, Silberbichl (sub-areas Bischofpoint, Kirschböck, Leukuschberg, Vom Stein, Zaum), Strudel, Süßenberg and Weingebirge.

Rossatz-Arnsdorf (cadastral communities Mitterarnsdorf, Oberarnsdorf, Rossatz, Rührdorf, Unterarnsdorf) with Altenweg, Frauenweingärten, Brunnthal, Höckgarten, Hoferthal, Johannserberg, Mitterbirg, Mugler (Subriede Goldberg), Kellerweingärten, Kirnberg, Kreuzberg, Poigen, Pointen (Subrieden Obere Pointen, Untere Pointen), Porzen, Scheibenthal, Steiger, Siegelstal, Trauntal (Subriede Uiberthal) and Zanzl.

Grape variety list

In 2015, the vineyards covered a total of 1,345 hectares of vines. There was no change compared to 2009 with 1,350 hectares. The share of red wine varieties is 8.7%, the share of white wine varieties 91.3%. The dominant white wine varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling together occupy three quarters of the total area.

Grape variety - Austrian
Main name
officially permitted in Austria
Colour Hectare
Grüner Veltliner Weißgipfler white 766 56,9 704
White Riesling Riesling, Rhine Riesling white 355 17,4 221
Zweigelt Blue Zweigelt, Rotburger red 80 5,9 101
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner white 65 4,8 86
Neuburger - white 43 3,2 58
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Klevner white 33 2,4 42
Muscat Blanc Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc white 26 1,9 17
Chardonnay Morillon - not used in Lower Austria white 20 1,4 20,5
Frühroter Veltliner Malvasia white 13 0,9 17
Common set white - white 10 0,7 17
Blue Portugieser - red 9 0,6 13
Blauburger - red 7,5 0,6 9,5
St. Laurent - red 7,4 0,5 12
Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Sylvaner white 7,3 0,5 6,3
Muscat Ottonel - white 4,9 0,4 5
Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir red 4,4 0,3 6
Gem. set red - red 4,3 0,3 3,7
Traminer Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T. white 3,0 0,2 2,5
Grey Burgundy Pinot Gris, Ruländer white 1,9 0,1 1,9
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 1,7 0,1 1,9
Roesler - red 1,5 0,1 0,7
Roter Veltliner - white 1,0 0,1 1,7
Blaufränkisch - red 0,9 0,1 1,5
Merlot - red 0,8 0,1 0,8
Jubilee Vine - white 0,7 - 0,6
Goldburger - white 0,3 - 0,3
Sylvaner Green Sylvaner white 0,3 - 0,3
Syrah Shiraz red 0,2 - 0,3
Zierfandler Late red white 0,2 - 0,1
Rotgipfler - white 0,2 - -
Welschriesling - white 0,2 - -
Furmint - white 0,2 - -
Scheurebe seedling 88 white 0,2 - -
Bouvier - white 0,1 - 0,3
Rathay - red 0,1 - 0,1
other white varieties - white 0,7 - 0,1
other red varieties - red 0,3 - 0,1
WHITE SORT 1.228 91,3 1.200
RED SORT 117 8,7 150
TOTAL 1.345 100 1.350

DAC system

In August 2021, the origin-controlled quality level Wachau DAC was made compulsory from vintage 2020 (for vintage 2019 this was optional). All other quality wines must be marketed with the origin Lower Austria, the Land wines under the winegrowing region designation Weinland. In addition to the generally applicable DAC conditions, special rules apply. The quality wines produced under the brand name of WV Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus in the levels Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd remain as designations. There is a three-level pyramid of origin with the levels of regional wine, local wine and estate wine. In principle, hand harvesting is mandatory for all wines.

Wachau - DAC Qualitätspyramide

Regional wines: The grapes may originate from the entire wine-growing region of Wachau. The white grapes Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Frühroter Veltliner, Müller-Thurgau, Muskat-Ottonel and Roter Veltliner and the red grapes Pinot Noir, St. Laur ent and Zweigelt, as well as cuvées and Gemischter Satz are permitted.

Local wines: There are 22 protected local varieties (see above). The white wine varieties Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Traminer are permitted. These must be vinified as single-varietal wines and must have no or barely noticeable wood tones.

Vineyard wines: The grapes must come from 157 defined vineyards (Lagen). Only the two white wine varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling are permitted. The wines must not show any or hardly noticeable woody tones and must not be enriched. The levels Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd are possible.


Well-known producers are Alzinger, Bäuerl Wolfgang, Bruch Richard, Dinstlgut, Domäne Wachau, Donabaum In der Spitz, Donabaum Sighardt, Eder Andreas, Eigl Christian, Fischer Josef, Frischengruber, Gallhofer, Gritsch Josef, Gritsch Mauritiushof, Gritsch Roman, Hick Maria & Manfred, Hirtzberger Franz, Hofstätter, Högl Josef & Georg, Höllmüller, Holzapfel Karl, Hutter Fritz, Jamek Josef, Kartäuserhof, Knoll Emmerich, Lagler Karl, Machherndl, Muthenthaler Martin, Nikolaihof, PAX, Pichler Franz Xaver, Pichler-Krutzler, Pichler Rudi, Pomaßl, Prager, Rixinger, Schmelz Johann, Schmidl Theresa, Schneeweis, Schneeweiss Anton, Schwarz Johann, Sigl Heinz, Tegernseerhof, Urbanushof Paul Stierschneider, Veyder-Malberg. Under the brand name Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus, quality wines typical of the region are produced according to strict quality criteria.

Map and DAC pyramid: Copyright ÖWM
Weißenkirchen: Egon Mark

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