Stop during the Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour at the Weinschmiede 18, with host Bettina Strauß, Gamlitz | © Steiermark Tourismus | Tom Lamm Stop during the Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour at the Weinschmiede 18, with host Bettina Strauß, Gamlitz | © Steiermark Tourismus | Tom Lamm
Life is far too short to drink bad wine

Styria and its wines

All good things come in threes – especially when it comes to wine-growing regions. Surrounded by the gentle hills of southern and eastern Styria, you can find three “DAC” (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) wine-growing regions: the Styrian Spa Country, Southern Styria and Western Styria. All of them produce unique quality wines shaped by the respective soil, the individual vineyard and the local winemakers.

Styria’s wine-growing region encompasses around 5,000 hectares of land. Every year, the vineyards of Styria yield grapes for 220,000 to 280,000 hectolitres of wine – a quantity that amounts to around 110 million glasses of wine. Fortunately, that’s quite enough to satisfy all guests visiting the green heart of Austria.

The wine-growing regions of Styria are characterised by steep rock slopes. Incidentally, in viniculture, a vineyard with a slope of more than 26 per cent is considered a “mountain vineyard”. The steeper the vineyard, the better it is for the vines. That’s because the sunshine falls more evenly on steep slopes, and the ground warms up more – perfect preconditions for delicious wines.

Of course, the steep slopes make the use of machinery impossible. This makes the dedicated, year-round craftsmanship of the local vintners all the more important. In spring, they plant and tie up the vines, in summer and autumn they mow between rows and remove the leaves. During the winter months, they prune the vines so that they will yield fruit in the upcoming season.

Experience the wines of Styria

In Austria in general and especially in the province of Styria, oenology and vine breeding have a long tradition. In total, nine Styrian grape varieties – both white and red – are permitted for the Austrian DAC classification. All of them come with their own story:

  • Sauvignon Blanc: The “World Sauvignon Congress” held in Graz in 2008 brought Sauvignons from all over the world to Styria. Numerous comparative tastings proved Styria’s expertise with this grape variety.
  • Morillon / Chardonnay: the world’s most widespread wine variety. Together with Sauvignon blanc, it is Styria’s most important variety.
  • Welschriesling: the second most frequent grape variety in Styria. The taste of this tangy and lightly spicy wine is reminiscent of green apples and goes particularly well with traditional snack platters served at the region’s wine taverns.
  • Weißburgunder / Pinot Blanc: As a young, slender wine it has a neutral taste. In a more mature state, it tastes almost nutty.
  • Yellow Muscat: A great aperitif wine that goes particularly well with light summer dishes. Its optimal drinking temperature is 8 to 10 degrees Celsius.
  • Grauburgunder / Pinot Gris: This wine appears lightly fruity to caramelly on the nose. Due to its usually high maturation level, its alcohol content is higher than that of other wines. It goes particularly well with venison and pies.
  • Traminer: a very old grape variety. It ranges from dry and delicate varieties to alcohol-rich varieties with a balanced residual sweetness.
  • Schilcher: Styria’s main red grape variety has an aroma of red berries and fits well with a traditional wine tavern snack platter or a “Backhendl” (fried chicken).
  • Riesling: It is mainly grown in Southern Styria and is reminiscent of delicate roses, with longer maturity of peaches or apricots.

By the way: With a total surface of 800, 698 and 535 hectares respectively, Sauvignon Blanc, Welschriesling and Weißburgunder are the top 3 grape varieties grown in Styria.

Other grape varieties in Styria:

  • Blauer Zweigelt: Reminiscent of berries and cherries, this wine has a fruity and velvety taste.
  • Sämling 88: This wine owes its name to the endeavours of his inventor Mr. Scheu. It took him 88 tries to find a perfect white wine that is round and full when mature and has a strong fruity flavour.
  • Müller-Thurgau: This wine has a fresh and fruity taste. Its early ripeness makes it good to drink as early as November.

Obviously, it’s best to experience the taste and excellent quality of the Styrian wines for yourself during a visit to the green heart of Austria. Find out more about how the Styrian winemakers handle their grapes with great care from planting to harvesting and processing, and join a wine tasting or cellar tour at their vineyards. Also don’t miss the local wine taverns that serve delicious local treats to go along with your glass of Styrian wine.

The four regions of the wine-growing area

Hiking and cycling in the Styrian wine country

In the Styrian wine country, it’s easy to combine culinary delights with outdoor sports. After all, the region boasts numerous cycle paths and hiking trails that are only waiting to be discovered by you. Along the way, numerous vineyards and top-class wine taverns invite you to stop by for a break. Many marked hiking trails of various difficulty levels take you right past vineyards, pumpkin fields and forests.

You can also enjoy Styria’s nature on two wheels, for instance during the Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour. During eight days, this tour takes you through the entire wine-growing region of Styria. If you’re more into hiking, the “From Glacier to Wine” hiking trail offers many tours right through the vineyards.

In addition to the lovely vineyards with their architecture that blends right into the marvellous nature, the Styrian wine country also boasts numerous accommodation providers. For instance, modern or traditional vineyard rooms are a perfect base to explore the region by bike on the Styrian Wine Country Cycling Tour.

It’s also an unforgettable experience to join a guided hike together with a vintner. During a walk through the vineyards, the local winemakers will share their knowledge on the region’s best wines with you. What’s more, regular wine-themed events give you the chance to get to know the Styrian way of life from up close.

© Steiermark Tourismus | Tom Lamm

Vineyard rooms in Styria

What is a “Winzerzimmer”? The traditional vineyard rooms of Styria are cosy, spacious rooms for rent, most of them with views of a vineyard. Enjoy typical Styrian hospitality and find out about the region and its wines!

More about the vineyard rooms

Enjoy the experience:

The wine routes of Styria

Discover the delights of Styria