Although Austria is not one of the world’s best known wine production areas, in fact the country does produce some impressive varieties. Most of the wine produced in Austria are dry whites which are frequently made using the Gruner Veltliner grape. However, there are some other sweet wines produced in the country too, including the dessert wines which are made in the Neusiedler See region. Approximately 30% of Austrian wines are reds, and are made from the Blaufrankisch grape as well as pinot noir grapes and other varieties which are bred locally.
The Austrian wine industry is not so well known as the wines of neighbouring Germany, however they have been producing wine in Austria for four thousands years. Nevertheless, in 1985 the antifreeze scandal deterred many people from buying Austrian wines (it was reported in the media that some of the country’s wine brokers had adulterated their produces with diethylene glycol). The Austrian wine market was effectively destroyed by the scandal and resulting in the country tackling the low standards which were in place at that time for the bulk production of wine. Austria has now repositioned itself as a producer of high quality wine, and is home to some excellent producers including Weingut FX Pichler and Weingut Hutter.
The most common white grape used in Austrian wines is Gruner Veltliner, which makes predominantly white wines, however the ancient variety known as Welschriesling is used to produce the noble rot dessert wine of the Neusiedlersee region. Although traditional Riesling grapes are used much less frequently in the production of Austrian wines than in neighbouring Germany, the small amount grown here is used in the production of some of the country’s top selling dry whites.