Clean air, bees buzzing around colourful flowers, or a little lizard hiding behind a stone – all this, and much more, can be found in Austria’s vineyards in central Europe. Because respect for the environment, to keep it healthy for generations to come, is no passing trend among Austrian winegrowers, it has always been part of their daily work.
World leader & pioneer
Environmental protection, water purity, healthy and GMO-free food, biodiversity, and production efficiency are all high priorities. So it is no surprise that Austria is a world leader in organic farming: around 27% of the agricultural area and 16% of all vineyards are already managed according to organic farming guidelines.* And almost one fifth of the organic area is farmed biodynamically.**
“Sustainable Austria” is the name of the official certification scheme for sustainable viticulture in Austria. Based on strict ecological, social and economic criteria, the scheme guarantees a sustainable production chain, from the vineyard to the bottle. Its value is clear: of the 300 international certifications for sustainable winegrowing assessed by Scandinavian experts in 2019, “Sustainable Austria” emerged as one of only fourteen to meet their high expectations. Today, 12.4% of vineyards are cultivated according to the standards of the “Sustainable Austria” certification.***
Organic and certified sustainable wine estates are growing in number. What is more, most grapes are still harvested by hand. Some winegrowing regions – Steiermark (Styria) and Wachau, for example – have even written mandatory hand-harvesting into their regulations for regionally typical wine (DAC).
Tradition & future in every glass
For over two millennia, wine has been a part of Austrian culture. Roman cellars, medieval villages, baroque monasteries, and castles are all part of the typical landscape of its winegrowing regions. Today’s young winemakers are building on deeply rooted traditional knowledge and are combining it with the experience they have gained in winemaking schools and wine estates around the world, leading the way with confidence.
This means the combination of centuries-old tradition and the spirit of the younger generation can be found in every glass of Austrian wine. No matter if it is Grüner Veltliner or Riesling from Niederösterreich, Gemischter Satz from Vienna, Blaufränkisch or Zweigelt from Burgenland or Sauvignon Blanc from Steiermark – take a sip, close your eyes, breathe in the air, listen out for the bees, and maybe you will see a little lizard in an Austrian vineyard!
* Source: Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism; February 2021.
** Source: Respekt-BIODYN and Demeter, January 2021
*** Source: Austrian Winegrowers’ Association, 30 May 2020