Monks cultivated the first grapevines here over one thousand years ago. Since then, the wine tradition of this country has become very rich, most notably in the east, along borders with Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Considering its rather cold climate, Austria is, in most cases, a producer of white wines.
The most typically planted Austrian grape variety is the grüner veltliner, which flourishes in Kamptal, Kremstal and Wachau, in the variegated soil of vineyards that are sometimes extremely pitched. Original, complex, refreshing, the grüner veltliner unfolds with intense pepper fragrances, especially in the terroirs found in Weissenkirchen, Dürnstein, Stein and Spitz.
Müller-thurgau, riesling, sylvaner, gewurztraminer, pinot gris and chardonnay are also cultivated. Distinctly less common are the indigenous varieties of rotgipfer and zierfandler are used to make the very sought-after thick white wine, Gumpoldkirchner.
The country consists of eight wine regions, but all are not capable to produce trockenbeerenauslese such as Burgenland, located near the banks of Lake Neusiedler, on the Hungarian border. The grapes of this extraordinary liqueur-like wine are colonized by the "noble rot", the botrytis cinerea fungus: riesling, mûller-thurgau, welschriesling, gewurztraminer and grüner veltliner. It is a dessert wine which is terrifically concentrated, mellifluous, complex, with a long finish. In a word, bewitching.
The country also produces some red wines from pinot noir, Austrian zweigelt, blaufränkisch and blauer portugieser in the Weinviertel, Thermenregion and Burgenland regions.