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Regions

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

West-Steiermark

Description to West-Steiermark

One of the three specific wine-growing areas in the Austrian province or generic wine-growing region of Styria. The elongated area borders Slovenia in the south. In fact, Western Styria is in the south-west of Styria; large parts of Upper Styria lie further west than Western Styria. The name derives from the time of the Habsburg monarchy, when Eastern and Western Styria together formed Central Styria of the Duchy of Styria, while Lower Styria, now Slovenian, was the mixed-language German-Slovenian area with the capital Maribor. A viticulture can be traced back to the fourth century BC, as the Illyrians, Celts and later the Romans already cultivated vines here. In 1235, viticulture on the Ligistberg was first mentioned in a document.

Weststeiermark - Deutschlandsberg Rebflächen

Climate & Soil

The location at the foothills of the Koralpe and the Reinischkogel protects against wind and causes strong warming during the day. The vineyards on gneiss and slate weathered soils extend in a narrow, long band between 420 and 600 metres above sea level southwards to the Slovenian border. Steep slopes and almost gorge-like valleys characterise the picture of the wine communities. The climate is Illyrian with southern European-Mediterranean influences and relatively high precipitation.

Weststeiermark - Topographische Karte

Wine-growing communities

Well-known wine-growing communities are Bad Gams, Deutschlandsberg (Riede Burgegg), Eibiswald, Groß St. Florian, Ligist, Marhof, Schwanberg, the Schilcher centre Stainz (Riede Engelweingarten), Stallhofen, St. Stefan ob Stanz, Gundersdorf, Greisdorf and Wies (Riede Lamberg). The "Schilcher Wine Route" begins in Ligist, passes through the most important villages and ends in Eibiswald. Characteristic are the "Kellerstöckln", which consist only of a pressing room with a wine cellar below.

Schilcher wine

Western Styria is the classic area of Schilcher wine, produced for centuries from the autochthonous Blauer Wildbacher variety, which is grown almost exclusively in Styria and occupies around two thirds of the vineyard area here. There is also an "Association for the Protection of the Classic Schilcher from Western Styria" with the trademark White Horse. The area covers the entire wine-growing region of Western Styria and, as a novelty outside of it, the cadastral municipality of Obergreith (municipality of Oberhaag in the district of Leibnitz) in the wine-growing region of Southern Styria.

Grape variety list

In 2022, the vineyards covered a total of 641 hectares of vines. Compared to 2016 with 546 hectares, this was an increase of 93 hectares (17%). Of these, white wine varieties account for 218 hectares (34%) and red wine varieties for 423 hectares (66%). Among the red wine varieties, the Styrian speciality Blauer Wildbacher dominates with almost two thirds of the total area, followed by Zweigelt and Blauer Burgunder. Among the white wine varieties, Pinot Blanc dominates, followed by Sauvignon Blanc and Welschriesling. There were no major changes in the ranking.

Grape variety
Austrian
Main name

in Austria
permitted synonyms

Colour

HA
2022

%
2022

HA
2016

%
2016

Blue Wildbacher - red 401 62,6 365 67
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Klevner white 54 8,4 45 8,2
Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Sylvaner white 53 8,3 33 6,1
Welschriesling - white 29 4,5 19 3,5
Muscat Blanc Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc white 28 4,4 14 2,5
Chardonnay - white 17 2,6 16 2,8
Zweigelt Blue Zweigelt, Rotburger red 9 1,4 12 2,1
Muscaris - white 7 1,1
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner white 6 0,9 5,1 0,9
Grey Burgundy Pinot Gris, Ruländer white 6 0,9 2,1 0,4
Souvignier Gris - white 5 0,8 - -
Scheurebe seedling 88 white 4 0,6 3,2 0,6
White Riesling Riesling, Rhine Riesling white 3 0,5 1,4 0,3
Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Pinot Noir, Blue Pinot Noir red 2,5 0,4 - -
Traminer Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T. white 2 0,2 0,5 0,1
Flower muscatel - white 1,2 0,2 - -
Sylvaner Green Sylvaner white 1 0,2 1,0 0,2
Goldburger - white 1 0,1 0,8 0,2
Rose muscatel - red 0,6 0,1 - -
St. Laurent - red 0,5 - 0,3 0,1
Merlot - red 0,5 - 0,3 0,1
Syrah Shiraz red 0,4 0,1 - -
Blauburger - red 0,3 - - -
Muscat Ottonel - white 0,2 - - -
Roesler - red 0,2 - - -
Blaufränkisch - red 0,1 - 0,2 -
Grüner Veltliner - white 0,1 - - -
other varieties - white/red 12 1,8 309 5,5

WHITE SORT

white

218

34

157

29

RED SORT

red

423

66

389

71

TOTAL

641

546

DAC system

The Western Styria DAC area comprises the political districts of Graz, Graz-Umgebung, Deutschlandsberg and Voitsberg. The cross-local wine-growing communities are Deutschlandsberg, Eibiswald, Ligist and Stainz. The leading varieties are the red wine Blauer Wildbacher (vinified as Schilcher) and the white wine Sauvignon Blanc.

In 2018, the origin-oriented DAC system was introduced in Styria. All other quality wines must be marketed with the origin Steiermark, the Land wines under the winegrowing region designation Steirerland. In contrast to the Austrian provinces of Burgenland and Lower Austria (where the individual areas were implemented 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 the levels of area wine, local wine and Riedenwein. The DAC pyramid:

Weststeiermark - DAC Qualitätspyramide

Styrian varietal diversity is taken into account in different ways (see the varieties in the graphic above). 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. Exceptions are the wines from the varieties Welschriesling and Schilcher Klassik (only in Western Styria), which may be marketed as regional wines as of 1 December of the year of harvest and as local wines as of 1 February of the year following the harvest. Likewise, an exception applies to the branded wine Steirischer Junker created by Verein Wein Steiermark, which is traditionally presented at the beginning of November.

Steirischer Junker - Foto von Weinflaschen und Logo

Producers

Well-known wineries are Domäne Müller, Erzherzog Johann Weine, Friedrich Christian, Jöbstl Johannes, Langmann, Lazarus, Oswald Eduard, Reiterer Christian, Resch-Longus, Strohmeier and Weinhof Florian.

Deutschlandsberg: © ÖWM - Armin Faber
Map and DAC pyramid: © ÖWM
Styrian Junker: Toni Muhr

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