Wine holidays in Austria are a splendid combination of wine tasting, local cuisine and enjoying nature – in a historical environment accompanied by Austrian hospitality.
Wine tasting is of course the most important in any wine holiday. Nevertheless, to complete the wine experience you also need to get out of the wine cellar. Austria’s wine regions are perfect for enjoying nature and local culture. Moreover, the distances are small, the sights plentiful, and the activities diverse.
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Austria’s traditional foods such as the Wienerschnitzel and Apfelstrudel are widely known. However, despite Austria being most famous for its beers, are the country’s wines steadily gaining a good reputation. Forgotten are the wine scandals of the ’80s, as the Austrian wine industry has cleaned up its act. Austrian winegrowers are producing quality wines that are highly prized both by wine experts and wine lovers all around the world. Furthermore, the Austrian’s have fused their excellent tourist industry with winemaking and earned prestige around the world. In February 2016, the US tourist industry elected Austria for «Best Wine Travel Destination Europe» at the Travvy Awards 2016.
Many Austrian vineyards have ventured into tourism and offer anything from wine tasting to complete wine holiday packages. No matter if you are a wine connoisseur or just want to enjoy the good life, you will find a suitable wine holiday in Austria. Therefore, even if you are just travelling through Austria or are on a quick business trip, check out a local winery. We strongly recommend stopping by a local vineyard to get a taste of local produce. Moreover, many vineyards also have taverns, so-called heurigen, or buschenschank that serve local traditional foods.
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Even though grapes are grown in all states, you find the majority of vineyards in the eastern part of Austria. The main wine-producing states are Lower Austria, Vienna, Burgenland, and Styria. Moreover, all the different wine regions have their distinctive characteristics owing to soil, location, and climate. These factors combined with local culinary traditions and extraordinary natural beauty, offer the traveler a wide choice of wine holidays.
One of my favourite regions is the Wachau, located about 100 km west of Vienna in the Danube Valley. Wachau is prized for its picture-perfect landscape. It is known for picturesque villages, mediaeval castles and vineyards. The easiest way to visit is by car, but it can also be enjoyed from a cruise ship on the Danube. Alternatively, on a bike along the bicycle trail that runs all along the river. Likewise, I love traveling in the “Volcano land” region in south-eastern Styria. The regions green rolling hills, dotted with villages, farms and vineyards are a delight for any traveller. If you are looking for quality wines from small family-run vineyards combined with genuine Styrian culture, this is the place for you. Nonetheless, these are only a couple of examples and Austria’s different wine regions all have their special flair.
It is impossible to write an article about wine holidays without at least mentioning grapes. Austria uses 35 different grapes in their wine production. There are 3 official wine classifications: Qualitätswein, Prädikatswein, and Landwein. Not surprisingly, the grape Grüner Veltliner stands for about 1/3 of the total crop. Other white wine grapes grown in Austria are Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Muskateller, Traminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. The most popular red grapes are Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Furthermore, the soil contributes greatly to the variation of the taste and intensity of the grapes. This gives wine from different regions their distinctive characters. Another important factor is the climate. Austria has a cool climate which also is quite significant for the character of the wine.
The Austrian tourism industry and the vineyards have made wine holidays easy. They have composed so-called wine routes, or in German; Weinstrassen. We’ve collected a few links to websites of wine routes in Austria. Get more info and see the packages on offer, to plan your wine holidays in Austria.
Viennese wine & Heurige (Vienna)
Weinstrasse Weinviertel (Lower Austria)
Thermenregion Wienerwald (Lower Austria)
Wein Burgenland (Burgenland)
Steirischer Wein (Styria)
Oststeirischen Römerweinstrasse (Styria)
Südsteirische Weinstrasse (Styria)
If you plan to stay in Austria for more than a week, I would suggest you combine your wine holiday with other activities. Depending on your interests you could combine it with hiking in the Alps or visiting a historic small town.
Once a year in late September, a so-called “pressfest” takes place in the south-eastern Styrian village Klöch. Regional wine farmers showcase their products along with some culinary treats. Everything accompanied by live music and folklore performances. In Klöch they block off the main road and turn 150 meters of the road through the village into […]
Hiking in wine regions has become popular in Austria. Lots of people enjoy the rolling hills and soft landscape as a contrast to the fantastic opportunities for alpine hiking in the Alps. We therefore ventured out on a 5.8 km (3.6 mi) long hike in the southern Styria, through vineyards, forest groves and open farm […]
The Wachau takes up a 33 kilometre (20 mile) stretch of the Danube between Melk and Krems in Upper Austria. The unique blend of picturesque villages, river landscape, history, culture and regional delicatessen are main attractions. The mild climate, geology and good soil makes Wachau into one of the prime wine districts of Austria. The […]
I arrived in Bad Waltersdorf a sunny and warm day in late June. Even though it was really too hot for a hike with 32 °C (90 °F), the local tourist office suggested a route which partly took me through small forests. And I did not regret taking up the tip, as the so-called Roman […]
The small village of Heiligenbrunn in Burgenland is located in the transition between the rolling hills that characterize the south-eastern Austria and the vast plains that dominates western Hungary. Forests and vineyards dominate the landscape around Heiligenbrunn. Also the architectural traditions in this part of Austria differ greatly from the well known Tyrolean style houses […]
Despite its fiery name the Styrian Volcano Land (Steirisches Vulkanland) doesn’t consist of lava spewing volcanos or blackened scorched earth. Rather contrary, the region mostly consists of a lush green landscape of rolling hills. The hillcrests are usually covered by forest and the valleys are dominated by farmland, vineyards and dotted with villages. Slow down […]