Read Now: Flatiron's Guide to Austrian Wine
Austria is a beautiful country, ancient, yet modern and accessible with wines to match. The people are welcoming and generous, jovial, and wine is an integral part of their lives. Vienna, its capital, is the only major city in the world with economically important vineyards within its limits.
The key to Austrian wine is quality and consistency, rather than quantity. No other country can boast such high standards across the price spectrum and throughout all of their regions.
The country’s total vineyard area is only slightly smaller than that of Piemonte in Italy. A vast majority of vineyards and wineries are family owned, even the few cooperatives that do exist, like Domaine Wachau, have incredibly high standards. There are tight controls on maximum yields, and exacting tasting panels for approval of quality wines. This means extra attention is paid to every vine and every wine.
But don’t confuse those exacting standards with bloated price tags.
The whole range of wines from collectable to chuggable, red to white, or rose to sparkling, offer value. At the high end of the spectrum, Grüner Veltliner has repeatedly beat Burgundian counterparts in blind tastings, but always fetch a fairer price.
And on the other side, even the most affordable bottles of Zweigelt and Gemischter Satz show character and snap. While white grapes put Austria on the map, red wines, especially from Blaufränkisch are now gaining attention from pizza pairing gluggables to cellar worthy gems. Unlike other top regions, no matter what your budget is, you will rarely need to dish out more than $100 for a terrific bottle of wine.
It’s an exciting time to discover the wines of Austria. The dynamic styles produced by the technically proficient graduates of the Klosterneuburg juxtapose the experimental natural winemakers breaking the mold in every region.
Whatever your tastes there is something for you in Austria and we hope you will enjoy reading about them as much we know you will enjoy drinking them.