|By comparing what we know today with what the ancients appear to have known we can guess at the kinds of wine they drank. - Alec Waugh|
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Austria's wine making credentials date back 3,000 years or more, with vineyard cultivation established well before the Romans. As far back as the 16th century, Austrian dessert wines were prized throughout Europe. Austria is a small mountainous wine country with just 4 growing regions located in the eastern portion of the country.
Austria enjoys a great diversity of soil types, from stone and gravel to heavy clay, from volcanic and conglomerate to loess (a fine-grained yellowish brown deposit of soil left by the wind) and lake sand as well as differing micro-climates. This provides excellent conditions for growing a wide range of both red and white grapes, translating their distinctive origins into the bottle. Austria has excellent results with all the major international varieties, but its real power shines through with a sizeable amount of leading grape varieties coming from indigenous vines. It is the land that invented late-harvest dessert wines and remains a leading source of exotic, magical drinks, particularly the Ausbruch from the shores of Lake Neusiedl. Austria's signature grape is gruner veltliner, a wine that can be rich in taste and satisfying with food
One of the stumbling blocks to understanding Austrian wine is its labeling. Since the beginning of the 1990's, Austria has implemented some of the strictest wine classifications laws in the world. Wines are categorized as follows:
Austria produces white wines of high quality, the best of which come from Burgenland. Quality standards, adopted in 1972, are similar to those of Germany. The woods north of Vienna have become a tourist attraction noted for the heurigen, or new wine taverns.
White Grape Varieties
Red Grape Varieties
Austria's wine industry has undergone a highly impressive turnaround over the last two decades. The strictest wine law in the world, together with an innovative generation of winemakers, has put Austrian wine in a strong position in the home market as well as the highest export figures in decades.
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