The vineyards in Austria cover 51,000 hectares which, for the most part, lie in the east and southeast of the country. Amongst the wines produced here, white wines unquestionably make up the larger portion – cultivated in 70% of the vineyards are 22 white wine varieties permitted for high quality wine production. Nevertheless, red wine (13 varieties) has come to represent 30% of the vineyards in recent years.
Austria as a wine producing country is divided into four wine-growing areas: ‘Weinland Österreich’ comprises the federal states of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) and Burgenland with a total of 12 wine regions; ‘Steirerland’ with its three Styrian wine regions, and ‘Wien’ (Vienna), Austria's capital, which comprises 700 hectares of vineyards. The other states of Austria are collectively referred to as ‘Bergland Österreich’ (mountain country Austria), where small vineyards are thinly scattered.
The average harvest yields around 2.5 million hectolitres of wine, the largest part of which is consumed in Austria. Although Austrians consume 73% of their own production, exports have increased considerably over the past years.
Austria has approximately 20,000 small wine producing estates, many of whose financial existence is based on the selling of wine directly on the premises. However, more than half of the wine growing country features estates with over 5 hectares of vineyards, with most of these highly competitive export-wise. Wine estates regarded as large, according to an international standard (consisting of more than 200 hectares), are rare in Austria.
Austrian wines are certainly high in quality. Approximately two thirds of the wines are Qualitätswein, with some of these belonging to the best white, red and sweet wines in the world!