A Fascinating Gesamtkunstwerk
The Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape, is a true gem and probably Austria’s most significant wine region. Three factors make it so: the unique river landscape, the typical terraced vineyards and the delicately fruity Rieslings and Grüne Veltliners produced here.
The Wachau is not only a UNESCO World Heritage landscape with scenery that brings a smile to your face, it is also the most famous wine region of Lower Austria with 1,350 ha in cultivation.
This narrow section of the Danube Valley gracefully lines the river between Krems and Melk. Travelers like stopping here and enjoying the unique combination of nature, culture and world-famous wine.
Grapes thrive in the characteristic weathered soils found in the terraced vineyards built for us centuries ago.
The cool winds from the Waldviertel highlands combine with the moderating influence the Danube has on temperature to lend the Wachau wines their grand flavor and elegance while the Pannonian winds from the east give the Wachau wines their power and fullness. The local Rieslings are of course known the world over but Grüne Veltliners, Neuburgers and Gelbe Muskatellers are also greatly esteemed by wine mavens.
Abbeys from Salzburg and Bavaria saw to the cultivation of terraced vineyards in the Wachau wine region starting in the 9th century. The walls of the terraces are made of natural rock and were built to prevent the thin fertile soils from sliding down into the valley. It is hard work to care for and maintain the rock walls but also a wonderful duty for each winemaker. The best vineyards are in the middle of the terraced slopes. Not only can cold air flow off from this area, the sun also shines the most intensely here and the grapes are amply aired.
Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus (www.vinea-wachau.at ) is an association of winemakers dedicated to protecting the Wachau wine region. Along with the usual Austrian quality categories, Vinea Wachau winemakers apply the protected labels “Steinfeder”, “Federspiel” and “Smaragd”.
Charmingly fruity with a maximum of 11.5% alcohol by volume,
The name itself refers to the typical "Steinfedergras” (Stipa pinnata), a grass which grows near the vines; it is light as a feather and fragrant – just like the wine named after it.
Federspiel wines are more nuanced and stronger in character with 11.5% and 12.5% alcohol by volume.
The premier class is Smaragd. This top category begins with a natural alcohol content of 12.5% by volume and is the best and most precious wine the Wachau has to offer.
With “myWachau”, Vinea Wachau presents an app that allows you to discover in a new way just what makes the Wachau wine region so special. It has never been easier for people to visit a winery, find an open heuriger or get their bearings in the vineyards.