Discovering the wine region of Steiermark
Steiermark, or Styria, is the southernmost wine producing region in Austria, based around the city of Graz and stretching out towards the border with Slovenia. The hilly terrain and the region's cool take on the Mediterranean Climate mean that viticulture here is markedly different from the rest of Austria.
Steiermark's specialties include Sauvignon Blanc, wines made from the Traminer family and Schiclher, a rustic local rosé made from Blauer Wildbacher. Hardonnay">Chardonnay (often labeled "Morillon"), Weissburgunder and Welschriesling are other important varieties grown here.
While three quarters of the grapes grown in Steiermark are white wine varieties, some good red wines are made here as well. Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and Saint-Laurent all perform admirably in the region's Terroir.
Steiermark is one of Austria's smaller wine producing regions. It is responsible for around seven percent of the national wine output, and most of the wines made in the region are consumed here as well.
Just over 4,600 hectares (11,400 acres) of Vineyard land is spread out across the DAC regions of Weststeiermark, Südsteiermark and Vulkanland (previously Südoststeiermark). The terrain here is hilly, almost mountainous, and many of the vineyards are planted on steep slopes to take advantage of sunlight and the prevailing winds.
The majority of vineyards across the wider region are planted on the sedimentary soils of the so-called Styrian Basin, formed from alpine wash flowing towards the Pannonian basin below (towards Burgenland and the Neusiedler lake). The remainder are found either on hard, apline rock or coarse alluvial deposits lower in the Styrian basin itself.