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Wachau

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 in Austria, 40% of which are fortified with dry stone walls. 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, and to the east it is bordered by the over 1,000-year-old town of Krems. The Wachau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the category "Cultural Landscape" in 2000, and in 2021 dry-stone walling was added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage sites as a traditional craft.

Wachau - Blick auf Dürnstein

History

In the 5th century, the monk Severinus (410-482) lived near Favianis (Mautern) in the midst of vineyards, which proves that wine was cultivated. The English King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) was captured near Vienna on his return from the Third Crusade and held at Dürnstein Castle. King Henry II (973-1024) donated the small settlement of Liupna (Loiben), to the Tegernsee Monastery in 1002. Around 1900, 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 1883, during the second Turkish siege of Vienna, wine from the Abbey cellar was used to extinguish a fire that had already spread to 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.

Weißenkirchen - Wachau (Niederösterreich)

Climate & Soils

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 cm, below which there is bare granite. 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 very positive effect on viticulture.

Wine-growing communities on both banks of the Danube

The Wachau wine-growing communities mainly extend to the left and some to the right of the Danube. Flohhaxn, Himmelstiege, Honivogl and Katzensprung are old vineyards that no longer exist and are now used as names for branded wines. The municipalities on the left bank with their vineyards are:

Dürnstein

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

Loiben

The municipality consists of the districts Oberloiben and Unterloiben with the vineyards 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

The municipality comprises the cadastral communities of Gut am Steg, Schwallenbach and Viessling with the hamlets of Almenreith, Amtsgarten, Auleithen, Axpoint (Subriede Hochrain), Baumgartenthal, Brandstatt, Bruck, Burgberg(Tausendeimerberg), Bruck, 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

The municipality comprises the cadastral communities of Joching, St. Michael and Wösendorf with the vineyards 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.

Wachau - topographische Karte

The communities on the right bank of the Danube are:

Bergern im Dunkelsteinerwald

The municipality comprises the cadastral communities of Geyersberg, Maria Langegg, Nesselstauden, Oberbergern, Scheiblwies, Schenkenbrunn, Unterbergern and Wolfenreith with Rieden Donauleiten (Subriede Galiziberg) and Laach (Subriede Steinplatte).

Mautern a. d. Donau

The municipality comprises the cadastral communities of Baumgarten, Hundsheim and Mauternbach with the vineyards Alte Point (Schlossberg sub-arrangement), Burggarten, Ladoschn, Prebarn, Raubern, Silberbichl (Bischofpoint, Kirschböck, Leukuschberg, Vom Stein, Zaum sub-arrangements), Strudel, Süßenberg and Weingebirge.

Rossatz-Arnsdorf

The municipality comprises the cadastral communities Mitterarnsdorf, Oberarnsdorf, Rossatz, Rührdorf and Unterarnsdorf with the vineyards 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 2022, the vineyards covered a total of 1,324 hectares of vines. Compared to 2015 with 1,345 hectares, this was a reduction of 21 hectares (1.6%). The share of white wine varieties is 94%, the share of red wine varieties, which do not play a role in terms of quantity, is only 6%. The clearly dominant white wine varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling together occupy over four fifths of the total area. They are followed by Zweigelt, Müller-Thurgau, Muscat and Pinot Blanc.

Grape variety
Austrian
Main name

in Austria
permitted synonyms

Colour

HA
2022

%
2022

HA
2015

%
2015

Grüner Veltliner Weißgipfler white 836 63 766 56,9
White Riesling Riesling, Rhine Riesling white 238 18 355 17,4
Zweigelt Blue Zweigelt, Rotburger red 59 4,5 80 5,9
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner white 32 2,4 65 4,8
Muscat Blanc Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc white 32 2,4 26 1,9
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Klevner white 21 1,6 33 2,4
Chardonnay Morillon - not used in Lower Austria white 21 1,6 20 1,4
Neuburger - white 16 1,2 43 3,2
Frühroter Veltliner Malvasia white 8,2 0,6 13 0,9
Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Sylvaner white 7,8 0,6 7,3 0,5
Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir red 6,3 0,5 4,4 0,3
Blue Portugieser - red 3,9 0,3 9 0,6
Muscat Ottonel - white 3,7 0,3 4,9 0,4
Blauburger - red 3,4 0,3 7,5 0,6
St. Laurent - red 3,1 0,2 7,4 0,5
Traminer Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T. white 2,5 0,2 3,0 0,2
Grey Burgundy Pinot Gris, Ruländer white 2,5 0,2 1,9 0,1
Roesler - red 1,4 0,1 1,5 0,1
Merlot - red 1,3 0,1 0,8 0,1
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 0,9 0,1 1,7 0,1
Roter Veltliner - white 0,9 0,1 1,0 0,1
Blaufränkisch - red 0,8 0,1 0,9 0,1
Flower muscatel - white 0,6 - - -
Goldburger - white 0,3 - 0,3 -
Welschriesling - white 0,3 - 0,2 -
Goldburger - white 0,3 - 0,3 -
Sylvaner Green Sylvaner white 0,4 - 0,3 -
Syrah Shiraz red 0,2 - 0,2 -
Rathay - red 0,2 - 0,1 -
Rose muscatel - red 0,2 - - -
Blue Wildbacher - red 0,1 - - -
Flower muscatel - white 0,1 - - -
Bouvier - white 0,1 - 0,1 -
Cabernet Franc - red 0,1 - - -
Furmint - white 0,1 - 0,2 -
Muscaris - white 0,1 - - -
Rotgipfler - white 0,1 - 0,2 -
Scheurebe seedling 88 white 0,1 - 0,2 -
Souvignier gris - white 0,1 - - -
Zierfandler Late red white 0,1 - 0,2 -
other varieties - white/red 19 1,4 10 0,7

WHITE SORT

white

1.240

94

1.228

91

RED SORT

red

84

6

117

9

TOTAL

1.324

1.345

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. Laurent and Zweigelt, as well as cuvées thereof 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 hardly noticeable wood tones.

single vineyard winesThe grapes must come from 157 defined vineyards (sites). 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.

Producers

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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