Burgenland

8 growing regions

The federal state of Burgenland in Austria has a total vineyard area of 14.564 hectares. There are some 230 wine-growing communities, with a total of 9.654 wine-growers. In addition, the Burgenland also represents a wine-growing region that is further divided geographically into four wine-growing regions. Together with the federal state of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), it makes up the largest wine-growing region in Austria, known as Weinland Österreich. Viticulture has been important here for at least two-and-a-half thousand years, this is underlined by the old motto „Extra Pannoniam non es vita; si est vita, non est ita” (one cannot live outside of Pannonia, and where one can live, one cannot live as well as here). The village of Zagersdorf, together with Stillfried in the Weinviertel region in Lower Austria, is one of the oldest wine-growing communes in Austria, documented by the fact grape seeds of the vitis vinifera variety were discovered here in a Celtic grave mound dating to the Hallstatt period, around 700 BC. The Romans advanced as far as the Danube River in the 1st century BC, and established the province of Pannonia. A new era in wine culture was heralded by emperor Marcus Aurelius ProbusProbus Marcus Aurelius (232–282), who lifted the prohibition on planting new vines. At the time, each Roman legionnaire was entitled three measures (each approximately one litre) of wine, per person per day. In 433 AD, Attila the Hun conquered the province of Pannonia. The European migration movement led to negative effects in the region, and it was only Charlemagne (742-814) who instituted a revival, among the measures he introiduced was the introduction of „Franconian varieties”. Also, wine growers were permitted to serve young wine in so-called Buschenschenken or Heurigen, small wine bars, and this did much to revive the interest in wine. A key role was played by the Cisterican order of monks, which did much to dry out and deforest the swampy, densely forested region. They already had 99 vineyards under cultivation in Heiligenkreuz (Lower Austria) in 1214. From this base they expanded to establish new vineyards around Lake Neusiedl, around the Marienberg abbey (near Oberpullendorf) and around St. Gotthard. Pinot Gris vines were imported from Burgundy, and Riesling was also planted. The vineyard area had reached its greatest extent by the 16th century, and wine production was the major source of income. The Hungarian queen Mary (1505-1558) granted the wine growers in the Burgenland region extensive privileges. She granted the wine-producing communes of Rust, Jois and Neusiedl am See the right to mark their wine barrels with the initials „R”, „G” (for Geusz) and „N”. The famous Ruster Ausbruch sweet botrytis wine was created at this time, and was held in equal esteem with Tokay wines. In the 16th and 17th century, Burgenland was particularly affected by the Turkish incursions. The legend of the ”Purbach Turk” (see under Neusiedlersee-Hügelland) dates back to the time of the first Turkish siege of Vienna in 1529. In spite of the vagaries of war, epidemics, inclement weather and other natural problems, the period from the 16th to the 18th century was the absolute golden age of viticulture in Burgenland, with mainly white wines being planted at the time. Large amounts of wine were delivered to the imperial court in Vienna, and the wines from Rust, which were particularly popular, were given the honorary title „Vinum imperatorum – imperator vinorum” (the wine of emperors, the emperor of wines). At the time, there were four classes of wine in Burgenland: Vinum Nobile (noble wine, sweet botrytis wine from dried berries of the Furmint variety), Vinum Bonum (good wine, quality wine made from Furmint, Augster and Muscatel), Vinum Mediocre (medium quality) and Vinum Cibale (table wine or food wine). Over time, vineyards saw many owners come and go, as the Habsburg rulers kept on issuing the holding rights anew. In 1622, count Nikolaus Esterházy (1583-1645) was given the areas of Forchtenstein and Eisenstadt in lien by Emperor Ferdinand II. (1578–1637). This aristocratic family supported both viticulture and the wine trade, and grew to be the biggest landowner in the entire Austro-Hungarian empire. However, the golden age came to an end in the early 19th century. As a result of both the Napoleonic and Silesian wars, and of failed crops, large areas of vineyard had to be uprooted, and replanted with food crops. Then, in the second half of the 19th century, phylloxera came to the Burgenland region. Paul Vetter from the commune of Gols was one of the key figures in combating this pest. The four wine-growing districts of the Burgenland region are: * Neusiedlersee 8.326 ha * Neusiedlersee-Hügelland 3.912 ha * Mittelburgenland 1.877 ha * Südburgenland 449 ha The region is characterised by a Pannonian continental climate, strongly influenced by the regulating effect of Lake Neusiedl, which is very shallow but has a surface area of 230, this provides relatively long vegetation periods of up to 250 days. The excellent climatic conditions make it possible for outstanding predicate wines to be produced here. There are several well-known wine-growing associations and co-operatives, including Blaufränkischland, Pannobile, Pannonischer Reigen, Renommierte Weingüter Burgenland (RWB), Weinidylle Südburgenland and Winzerkeller Neckenmarkt. Burgenland is regarded as the leading red wine region in Austria, although the most windely planted grape variety is Grüner Veltliner, accounting for one fifth of the total vineyard area, this is followed by the red variety Blaufränkisch. Statistics of grape varieties planted (as per 2000): Variety Synonyms, variants Colour Hectares % share Veltliner Grüner Veltliner, Weißgipfler White 2.736 18,8 Blaufränkisch Blauer Limberger, Limberger Red 2.493 17,1 Welschriesling - White 1.974 13,6 Zweigelt Blauer Zweigelt, Rotburger Red 1.875 12,9 Chardonnay Pinot Blanc Feinburgunder Weißburgunder, Klevner White 1.044 7,2 Müller-Thurgau Rivaner, Riesling x Sylvaner White 797 5,5 Neuburger - White 440 3,0 Gemischter Satz Vineyard blend White 392 2,7 Bouvier - White 337 2,3 Muskat-Ottonel Feinschmeckerter White 323 2,2 Scheurebe Sämling 88 White 291 2,0 Goldburger - White 206 1,4 Cabernet Sauvignon - Red 190 1,3 Traminer Roter Traminer, Gewürztraminer White 188 1,3 St. Laurent - Red 185 1,3 Pinot Noir Blauburgunder, Blauer Spätburgunder Red 181 1,2 Blauburger - Red 179 1,2 Pinot Gris Grauburgunder, Ruländer White 175 1,2 Riesling Rheinriesling, Weißer Riesling White 163 1,1 Frühroter Veltliner Frühroter, Malvasier White 67 0,5 Gemischter Satz Vineyard blend Red 57 0,4 Sauvignon Blanc Muskat-Sylvaner White 55 0,4 Merlot - Red 46 0,3 Blauer Portugieser Portugieser Red 44 0,3 Jubiläumsrebe - White 25 0,2 Cabernet Franc - Red 18 0,1 Muskateller Gelber Muskateller, Roter Muskateller White 12 0,1 Silvaner Sylvaner, Grüner Sylvaner White 4,5 - Blauer Wildbacher Schilcher Red 3,2 - Roter Veltliner - White 3,2 - Rotgipfler Rotreifler White 1,8 - Furmint Gelber Furmint White 0,8 - Zierfandler Spätrot, Gumpoldskirchner White 0,7 - White varieties 9.274 63,7 Red varieties 5.290 36,3 TOTAL 14.564 100

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